Sunday, 30 April 2017

LEARNING ABOUT LIONS

My little one love lions at the mo. They chase each other and ROAR!!! It seems to be a stage most toddlers and pre-schoolers go though. No idea why? If you are interested in some lion activities then I will share some fun facts and crafts for you to enjoy with your little ones.

These pictures were taken at the Zoo a couple of weeks ago. All the lions curled up and sleeping. This is very normal and apparently they sleep for 21 hours a day! (And I thought I could be lazy!)


Lions eat every 3-4 days! I guess it is hard to build up an appetite if you never move!
They eat BIG meals rather than the little and often we tend to eat. Imagine how you feel after an "eat as much as you like" buffet!!  Now I understand why they sleep for 21 hours!



Lions live in social groups and keep the bond with their family strong by leaning and rubbing against each other. See how they all cuddle as they sleep. They also use softer calls to show they mean no threat and being friendly to the other lions in their group.



FUN CRAFTS ON THE WEB

Fork lion head pictures.

Hand Print lion



Lion facts 

Have some fun watching a bit of David Attenborough's Nature films about Lions and look at some books at the local library. Fiction and non fiction.


WHIPSNADE BUTTERFLY HOUSE

We took a trip to Whipsnade Zoo the other day. Myself the boys and their Aunts and cousin. I was not the warmest of days and a bit drizzly but still an amazing day out. I haven't been there for probably 8 years and it has changed so much. 
My eldest has always been drawn to butterfly's. We used to loose him if one flew by. Total distraction and off he went after it. Naturally he asked to go visit the Butterfly house and boy was it hot in there.

Worth the muggy atmosphere though because the variety of Butterflies that you can see and the close up experience was not to be missed. You have to be really careful where you step as some of them like to sit on the floor. If you are really lucky then they might land on you too!



Reminding little ones not to touch can be tricky with them so tantalizingly close but it is important for the Butterfly safety.


They had so many colours and varieties there that I am sure I only saw a fraction  of them. Some are great at hiding and have amazing camouflaged wings once they are closed up. The look like a piece of bark or a leaf.


on. Well..... till I got too hot!

I could have sat in there with a book and a cuppa all afterno

(This is my opinion of the Butterfly house and I have not been asked or paid to review it)

TOYS ARE TOYS AND COLOURS ARE COLOURS- GENDER STEREOTYPING CHALLENGED

More and more I am seeing rows of pink in toy shops. Especially the big ones like ToysRus.  Other rows with exciting toys that have boys all over the packaging. Similar exciting toys have been added with girls on the packaging but these toys have been changed in to pink and purple versions....... because girls can't have the blue or red version. I mean they wouldn't want one that colour would they?

Well you know what........ When i was growing up, we didn't care what colour a toy was. Everything was bold and bright. Primary colours. Dolls buggies were mini versions of the real thing. Mini orange and brown striped Maclarans like mum and dad had! My dolls pram was navy corduroy  and my sisters was burgundy.  This is what I found in ToyRus today.......






Dolls with pink packaging, buggies in pink and lilac, not a single item of clothing for a boy doll. No jeans, babygrows or tops that are not pink. Baths and high chairs... no they are pink too. My advice to buy gender neutral for your children's dolls..... go to Build a Bear!! The clothes they sell are cool and all the children in my setting use the build a bear clothing on my dolls.

(This photo was taken form this blog http://notimemommy.com/category/build-a-bear/)

Lego have really lost respect in my view the past few years. They used to be the role for gender neutral toys and to be fair I see no need for them to have sold out and introduce their "Lego friends" brand. This is pastel colours and the sets pretty much show girls shopping and drinking tea in cafes. Sometimes they are running a boutique or a puppy parlor! Is this all our girls can aspire too?




They already have a brand that appeals to both genders with strong roles for each. Their "city" range shows both genders as firefighters, law enforcement, vets and so on. As does their "Easy to build" range.



 Their Elves range is a great introduction to fantasy without the extreme pink packaging and the use of male and female Elves means it is appealing to all.



Again they have a lot of great ranges that appeal to both genders with male and female characters that use pink in a way that is not directed at females. That do not push a gender and look could not be described as male or female toys. Even their Duplo brand which is aimed at their younger consumers can appeal to each... so why ruin it Lego? Why not stand up and say you are not going to get dragged down this marketing route........ Look at the cool toys you can produce!









Hot Wheels seem to have the packaging covered. Bold colours or natural packaging. Sadly the images they pu on the back show only boys playing with their toy. I love Hot wheels. making ramps and loops. I look after so many children who feel the same as i did as a child. The car box and garage is one of the most played with toys in my setting by both genders. So why market this at boys? You are missing a whole section of the population and all it would take is to show both boys and girls using the toy on the packaging!



Shopkins. Now this is very much aimed at girls. That was probably the market that was being targeted but let me tell you something. My 11 year old lad likes shopkins. But it bothers him that everything is so pink and pastel. Even the larger accessories to add to your collection are pink. I go shopping... in supermarkets, that's what Shopkins is based on....... but I don't see all this pink. So how about making the next series a little more gender neutral. I recon my son will be buying more of your products then and so will more boys!




Mega Blox are one of the worst....... Instead of one product for all.... we must add pink and then brand it to girls. Why?






Vtech though.... they have to be the worst offenders in this. Pushing gender stereo type from birth. WHY do they feel the need to brand the same toy in two colours? Blue and pink. Conditioning starting from birth.... This is where it starts. Our children's open minds start to be programmed to pink and blue. Girls and boys toys.





As I reached the "PINK ZONE" in ToysRus I actually saw a dad and his two boys walking towards me. The dad stopped at the sight of pink and turned around. Saying to his boys "This is all the girls toys,There's nothing for you up there"....... and off they went.......  A whole section of toys and experiences denied these boys because the shop became very pink!

The facts are clear. Children need a wide range of toys and experiences to develop in a well rounded way. They are bright beings and quite capable of deciding for themselves what they enjoy and what toys interest them. Marketing and packaging is now influencing our children and guiding them to what the manufacturers consider socially acceptable. This creates generations of children and inevitably adults who have be pre conditioned to like pink because they are girls. like cars and guns because they are boys. Why and how have we let this happen. It has been creeping up on us for years but the divide is so great now that it has become more obvious...... but can we change it back? Has it gone too far to reverse?

In my childcare setting children have full access to all toys no matter what. Colour is considered when I buy them and I try and keep things primary or neutral coloured. Sadly once the children leave me and start school I start to hear gender stereotyping showing it's very unwelcome face.
  "That's a boys toy"  or "That's a girl colour".  I was actually asked why one of the toddlers in my care, a little girl, had a Thomas the tank engine lunch box. Girls don't have lunch boxes like that.

I am teaching them a new phrase.... 

"There are no boy's toys and girl's colours. Toys are toys and colours are colours!"

I could rant for hours.  I have soooooo many photos from toys trip to the toy shop. I fear I may loose your interest if I carry on though. You get the idea! I will do another post showing the good brands I found today though! Some Brands just seem to get it!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

SKY TRAIL WALKWAY

It has been really nice to do some activities with the older children and teenagers these past holidays. I spend so much time with the little ones that I sometimes find it hard to think about what older children enjoy. Now I have a 15 year old and an 11 year old I am exploring some of the older activities! 
This sky trail was at a farm that we visited. Mead Open Farm, nLeighton Buzzard is such a cool place to take the kids. Sand pits for the little ones and Sky trails for the older kids!

My youngest is getting much more confident as he grows. His balance has never been his strong point and his is very tall for his age. Its a bit like his body has always been too big for him to fully coordinate. This has improved with some Nero developmental therapy and more physical play. He has not been happy about me getting him on the football pitch but it has helped. It was amazing to see him choosing to be up so high and managing the challenges himself. He stayed up there for ages!




Everyone is harnessed so there is no risk of falling but it is still very high and I am not sure I would be so brave!


There are times he even let go of one rope so that he could reach forward for the next. They were positioned just a little too far apart so that children had to challenge themselves to reach the next rope.



Look at that happy face and self confidence radiating from him! Every time he does something like this he is proving to himself that he can do more than he first thinks.



My friends 16 year old daughter showing us how it's done!


KIDDING AROUND AND OTHER GOAT ANTICS!

My friend had a Goat when i was growing up. We climbed a tree one day and this lovely Goat decided to sit at the bottom of the tree and not let me out. I just knew that the minute I jumped down I would get butted up the bum! She liked to butt me up the bum! That has stayed with me for many many years. But despite that early experience I would still love to own a Goat! They are such lovely creatures. 
We have been  visiting a lot of farms recently. It just seems the thing to do around Spring. All the babies are being born and there seems to be so  much going on!

Easter holidays gave me the opportunity to take my older mindies out for the day. We paid out entry to the farm and bought our bags of animal feed each (only 80p extra).  Then off we went to find the animals. The adult Goats here are so friendly and really gentle when taking the food from us. The children were all pretty brave and giggled a lot at being licked! The kids in the pens were jumping over each other and making us laugh. One was asleep with his head in a food trough. Others were standing on hay bales!



Even my lad who is now 15 enjoyed our farm trip and feeding the animals. He has even asked to go back again!


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