Back to the 1990s

Technology is a wonderful thing. I have always been a bit of a computer geek in the past. Spending most lunchtimes in the IT suite at school, taking pride in teaching my parents how to operate our computer at home, my evenings chatting to friends on ICQ and MSN messenger and once I began teaching, being somewhat of a pioneer in introducing new technologies to my school. I was one of the few who fell in love with Windows Vista when it first came out (although windows 3.1 will always be my first love) and at one point I even got my friends to show me how to take a computer apart and meddle with the components.

Once they were released, a smart phone was a ‘must’ for me. When the pandemic first hit, I suggested to a group of friends I regularly meet with, that we use video conferencing. Even now, I find my Alexa smart system exciting. However, it feels like the more people are on board with technology the less it interests me. Maybe it’s because when I look around me at the world and everyone always has their phone in their hand it makes me feel a bit sad. Maybe it’s because I have seen people I care about get destroyed by social media. Or maybe it is just because people have stopped interacting properly because online is now an option. The truth is, it has been an option for a while but facetime and zoom chats are indisputably not the same as meeting face to face. My children are very tactile and are either uninterested with talking to a screen, they run around and pull silly faces due to its novelty value, they minimise the conversation and get distracted by someone else available on the interface or simply think they can switch the screen off mid conversation as they view people as similar to characters to their favourite TV show.

So we made a decision: we would remove the smart technology. This was partly to try and deal with the inappropriate ways our children react to everything on a screen but primarily for our own mental health – tying in rather nicely with ‘Mental health day’. Our mobile phones were switched off at midnight on Friday. Instead of being woken by a phone vibrating we were greeted by two sons wanting breakfast. Later in the day we played in the garden, walked to Grandma’s house to collect apple crumble, got creative with playdough, played trains and put new batteries in our toy till so we could play shops. A few times my husband felt a minor frustration about not being able to order a car part or check a fact but by the first evening it was clear that no phone was improving the quality of our family life. If it isn’t visible them the children don’t ask you to use it and consequently you don’t have to say ‘no’ to them unescessarily.

Our challenge was to limit technology for an entire weekend. We decided that some technology was necessary, we didn’t fancy salting food to keep it fresh without our fridge or rubbing stick together to make the fire needed to cook. So we decided to restrict ourselves to items available in the 1990s only. Obviously there needed to be some loop holes. We do have a 1991 Polo but we cannot fit our family of five in it legally as youngest son and middle son still require a car seat. Instead we opted to use our larger car but turn off extra features such as autowipers and tune in the DAB radio to fm stations only. We allowed ourselves TV but channels 1-5 only. This in itself caused some debate as I was able to get channel 5 on the TV my house that decade whereas it wasn’t available where husband lived. In the morning the boys often watch TV before breakfast, we were delighted to find that 3 out of 5 channels have children’s programmes on them in the mornings. They opted to watch the classic cartoon ‘Tom and Jerry’ on Citv. We also decided that where an item had been invented e.g. the hoover, we were allowed to use our modern equivalent. 

I was aware that I have an unhealthy addiction to my phone. In fact many people my age probably use their phone more often than they need to. However, when you witness people generations above you get their phone out in the middle of a conversation to look up the concept you are talking about, you realise there is a problem. My son’s school has signs up that read ‘Greet your child with a smile, not a mobile phone.’ I’m in full agreement on that one. I thought about the following list of tasks that I do on my mobile phone: 

  • Transferring money to pay for their childcare. 
  • Playing a game. 
  • Googling fun places to take the children in the holidays. 
  • Ordering Christmas/birthday presents for them. 
  • Texting my friends 
  • Finding out more information about the film I watched last night 
  • Checking the time of appointments 
  • Reading and responding to work emails 
  • Uploading the reading my child has done for their teacher. 
  • Mapping the route to the hospital. 
  • Checking the news headlines for the day 
  • Checking the time (how long until dinner is ready) 
  • Watching a comedy clip 
  • Finding out what time husband will be home for dinner. 

I could continue with the list forever because there is very little you cannot do on a phone nowadays. In the days before mobiles, it was easy to identify which of these were more important or that you would have happily done in front of your children and which you would wait to do in your own time. The problem is that to a child, each of these tasks are viewed the same. 

  • Mummy is on her phone and not looking at me. 
  • Daddy is on his phone and not looking at me. 
  • Mummy is on her phone and not looking at me. 
  • Daddy is on his phone and not looking at me. 
  • Mummy is on her phone and not looking at me.  
  • Daddy is on his phone and not looking at me. 

At the weekend I take my boys swimming. There is a half an hour wait between sessions. In time gone by we have looked through and talked about pictures (memories) – on my phone, had a go at completing homework tasks – on an app on my phone or most commonly they elect to play on their ‘pup pad’ – a hand held device. All these may be fun and they may pass the time but ultimately they involve staring at a screen. I looked around at others in the waiting area. They also had their phones and other devices out. Out of ten tables, there were people talking to each other face to face on only one! So this weekend we took a few packs of cards out with us. I played snap with middle son and I taught eldest the care game patience (which he loved). It felt good. 

Overall I have had a great weekend and I’ve been able to relax far more than usual. We’ve got more done than we ever thought possible (including sorting out items from the loft and reorganising the playroom) amongst calm children. We’ve been for a family swimming session, play area outing, turned homework into a game, had more relaxing family meal times and played a lot of lego. I just can’t believe that is a coincidence. In addition, middle and eldest child have been introduced to some of my old 8+ board games from my childhood – we played ‘Game of life’ and they loved earning money!  I could concentrate on the moment and the family I have around me, instead taking on the thoughts and worries of my friends (whatsapp and text), acquaintances (instagram), colleagues (email), community (facebook groups), strangers (twitter), the nation (BBC news), and the world (google).  

The best part about all this: at the end of the evening when you are chatting to your husband and the focus is solely on the talking instead of checking tomorrow’s calendar. We both agreed that not only were we successful in our challenge but that it had been a very positive experience for the whole family. Where it wouldn’t be practical to do this permanently, as I’m likely to miss something and get into trouble, it is definitely something we intend to repeat. We are happy for our boys to use apps and screens (after all technology is the future) but we also want them to appreciate how enjoyable life can be without them.

It’s never the same twice.

We went back to one of our favourite spots at Soberton. Having learnt from previous occasions, I made several changes: an off road pushchair, an alternative path with no stairs, an extra bag of baby items and swimming gear for the boys. Of course, we still ended up in several pickles but what made it fun was that these were ‘new and exciting’ difficult situations.

After successful parking and accurate navigation we were off to a good start. It didn’t last long. As we walked up a pavement-less, narrow road, a lorry (the size of a small house) drove towards us. When you have the world’s widest buggy, it quickly dawns on you that is no where to stand to the side and prepare to about turn. Luckily, the HGV driver was feeling lovely and reversed a short distance to a passing area. We ran towards it in excitement.

The nettles had teamed up in advance to make it as tricky as possible for a group of people wearing shorts to pass. We survived sting free and did a spot of cheerio racing in the stream (using those that weren’t immediately eaten). However, approximately 3 minutes later, the rain began. We sheltered under the tree over a bridge and contemplated whether it was actually summer and we’d looked at the forecast for the wrong day.

Amusing ourselves as the rain passed.

The rain was short lived. We enjoyed splashing about, running around, launching a tennis ball in all directions and an early picnic. Youngest son was keen to explore himself and fondly waited until middle son was sitting or clinging to Mummy before making a dash towards the river bank. I’m pleased to report that my reaction time is still fast enough to keep the small person out of the water, although apparently not fast enough to prevent eldest son hurling his brother’s changing bag into the river beside me. Top tip: I suggest that if your offspring ever want to play catch with you, they choose a more appropriately shaped object and don’t throw it whilst you have your hands full of toddler!

It seemed like a good time for the littlest to nap so we got dressed and went for a wander. He was quickly asleep and oblivious to the fact that we stopped to throw twigs in another section of river. The bigger boys played there incident free for some time until I told them we were moving on; at which point eldest fell in. He’d already picked up a footprint shaped mud patch on the back of his T shirt so the additional muddy shorts didn’t bother him. The sopping wet shoes and socks did! He ended up wearing his brother’s sandals (only 4 sizes too small) as a compromise. It turns out that if your toes stick out over the edge they are more likely to get covered in mud.

Before he got wet feet.
The feet by the time we got back

This was all before reaching a large stile and realising the youngest was still asleep. We got the pushchair over but in the absence of a third adult we first needed to remove the baby and leave him in the capable hands of a pair of 7 year olds while we lifted it. Needless to say, he didn’t stay asleep!

A modern take on a classic game.

One of the challenges I’ve faced with my boys recently is: there is always one who feels very strongly against an activity the other two have agreed on.

For many, this wouldn’t be a problem at all – just let them all do their chosen activity. Those of you with multiple under 5s will know that this isn’t always a wise choice. One might request painting (with ALL the colours) downstairs, while the eldest and youngest opt to play with toys upstairs. Watching these two interact is often incredibly proud for me as their parent, but then there are days when it is far from enjoyable. On these occasions, the toy in question is either the type that baby can destroy like a wrecking ball in a building site, whilst simultaneously being hit by a steamroller; or the type that contains several hundred tiny, hazard like pieces, that you can just about save from the grip of a little hand, only to discover another missing and remain paranoid about where it went until it mysteriously reappears a fortnight later amongst the ‘Megablocks’ or ‘Paw Patrol’.

It would also be fair to assume that, with the current lockdown, they’d be keen to get outside. At any given moment in daylight, I would say this statement is true for 2/3 of them. The refuser varies, but the outcome is the same: it’s very complicated getting out for a short walk or scoot. I’ve had all manner of interesting ‘small child’ reasoning in the past week.

“I can’t go out there’s no socks in my drawer.” (Solution: “Have the pair in my hand.”)

“The clouds are the wrong colour.” (I think he was trying to make the point that it might rain.)

“But he got to press the button!” (It would appear that the most exciting part of going out on your scooter is opening the garage door. If you can’t do that, then all the enjoyment of an outing is gone. Absolutely no point going.)

If they wouldn’t go to exercise, the exercise had to come to them. I decided to combine the classic instruction game ‘Simon Says’ with the action game ‘Port Starboard’, I added a modern twist and included some current affairs for good measure. Plus, the new hybrid game succeeded in its mission: to both entertain and exhaust the children. To play, all you need is four pieces of paper. I wrote a word on each (school, shop, hotel and home), then blu tacked each of them to the four walls of your play space. Introducing ‘Boris says’: you run as fast as you can to the location you’re told to go to, but don’t get caught out by running there if Boris doesn’t tell you to. Great fun. For the first time, we are enjoying the rules. By the time we’re done, my four year old may even have learnt to read a handful of new words as a bonus. I believe that’s P.E. Reading and Politics done in the space of 10 minutes. As someone who is finding juggling homeschooling with stopping the 1 year old destroying the house challenging, I’ll take that as a success.

Home was their favourite place to run to, as it meant jumping on the playroom sofa. Very convenient that they enjoy going home so much – at a moments notice too!

Note: Locations can be added/changed as new restrictions come into play. My boys were very enthusiastic to be the ‘caller’. Their early suggestions included: ‘Boris says do a handstand’ and ‘Boris says go to the toilet.’ So glad my children are not running the country right now, or we’d have some very crowded portaloos.

Hidden in plain sight.

Often when we plan a family cycle somewhere new, the time seems to dissolve, leaving the husband unable to fit roof bars to the car and load up the bikes and accessories before we are due to be somewhere else. Today we were in a race to get out before the rain arrived and having been up most of the night with a baby who woke up at least six times. As a result, our plans to revisit the Meon Valley were shelved in favour of a local cycle.

Knowing we’d be cycling in the Cowplain area, a quick ‘google’ took us to this useful website pdf: http://www.horndeanpc-hants.gov.uk/_UserFiles/Files/Cycle_Havant_Brochure-191105.pdf

We clocked a solid blue line we’d yet to investigate and a plan began to form.

Having previously explored the Queens Enclosure and Havant Thicket on multiple occasions, the new found bike path led us to Hurst Wood – a place I’d been totally unaware even existed until today.

The area was very pretty and tranquil despite its close proximity to the A3(M). There was a map board to navigate through the pathways, the odd tree roots to hop over and an exciting subway under the road to echo our voices. We found a little bridge across a stream – perfect for pooh sticks. Perhaps the most exciting find was a tree balance branch acting as an access to a rope swing.

Middle son amusing himself on the swing above the stream.

Overall an enjoyable little cycle during which two things occurred to me:

1) Eldest son’s dungaree trousers seem to get shorter on the leg every time he wears them. They fitted last week now they are barely past his knee. My first tip: Never go cycling in dungarees.

Eldest son crosses the stream by balancing along convenient tree trunks.

2) How was I unaware of this pleasant little track when I’ve lived in the area for 10 years? My second tip: Adventure locally, you might surprise yourself.

It wouldn’t be a family outing without one of my boys doing something a bit silly. Middle son obliged. He decided to dramatically tip himself sideways off his bike halfway up a hill to ensure that we had realised he found the incline exhausting. Now to find a way to remove the blackberry stains from his clothing…

Wetsuits are for wimps

My audacious offspring and I fancied exploring a new part of the Meon Valley trail so picked one of Hampshire’s beautiful little villages that appeared to be located nearby. I made several attempts to find a friend to join the boys. We found someone, who apparently likes to partake in traditional, but wacky outdoor activities as much as my children do.

Upon arrival I realised that my phone battery had only 4% charge left. The phone can be very unpredictable at times, it has been known to last an entire evening on 1% but is just as likely to randomly turn itself off when opening an app to meet up with the husband. Navigation would need to be completed the old fashioned way. Conveniently, we discovered a map at the village church. As a result, we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, until our friends arrived – equipped with a professional looking Ordinance Survey map.

How to navigate when google maps is draining your phone battery.

One dead end and two downpours later, we found a route onto the disused railway line and began our adventure. Middle son reached new levels of speed on his bicycle with a new face to compete against; while eldest son tried to cover up the fact he couldn’t keep up, by attempting to cycle up a ridiculous steep bank – a challenge I’m sure even superman would struggle with. This was the first of many pit stops before the discovery of some stairs leading down to the river and its crystal clear waters.

Making a splash.

The boys gradually shed clothing as assorted items were splashed or walked on by pesky siblings. I attempted to tidy them under the pushchair to salvage them from from future unfortunate events. What I achieved, was a a forehead full of stinging nettle as I bent down to retrieve them.

Youngest son contemplating how best to fall in head first without mummy noticing.

Having enjoyed our lunch sat in a muddy puddle (where the water was churned up against the bank then splashed onto the walkway), a lady passing by enquired why we weren’t sat at the picnic area. As it turns out, this was only a stones throw away. It was our next destination. Middle son managed to slip on the way. His only remaining item of clothing was now both wet and muddy! Tip of the day: always carry a towel.

Our summer holiday challenge

On too many occasions husband and I have said to each other, “How is it they have a playroom full of toys, yet the only things that take their interest are Daddy’s watch, a roll of toilet paper and the kitchen cutlery?”

I’ve narrowed it down to the following possibilities:

1) Things are more interesting if they are in front of you.

2) Things are more interesting if you haven’t seen them for a while.

3) Things are more interesting if you see someone else using them.

4) Things are more interesting if they don’t require any effort to start a game with them.

5) Things are more interesting if you know you aren’t allowed them.

A friend of mine set up all her duplo for her children and watched them play for hours. I decided this was an excellent idea and combined it with the idea of toy rotation. Every evening, after the boys are in bed I set up a different arrangement of toys for them. When they wake up in the morning they have a game ready to go, giving mummy some quality ‘lie in’ time. Well in theory that is. In reality, she is usually removing youngest son from the many peculiar predicaments he finds himself in.

Octonauts adventure

This method gives them the chance to play with toys that they haven’t used for a little while. It also gives them new ideas for ways to use objects e.g. wooden blocks as garages (instead of car tracks or stacking towers). The best bit though is designated time to watch them play – something I find fascinating.

Connect the car garages

I’ve now set myself a challenge to try a different set up every weekday this summer (excluding the week we’re on holiday). It’s a great way of addressing points 1 to 4 (of the list above) at the same time. If anybody has any tips for how to get round point 5 then I’d love to hear them.

Sticklebricks
Number blocks (in my youth we called these multilink cubes)
Track city

Converting a standard outing to an adventure

My children love to explore. As I’ve mentioned before, they’re just not keen on walking any distance in order begin an exploration. Yesterday, we were only going to the nearby woodland, but ended up having to begin a scavenger hunt outside the front door to motivate them enough for the ‘long’ 400 yard trek.

Walking on its own is “just boring.” All walks must be converted to an adventure. Perhaps the simplest type of conversion is by adding an object hunt. I’m often feeling lazy and choose a nature one from online (but equally you can make your own seasonal one themed to the area you are visiting).

When going for a coastal walk, I find myself appreciating the scenery far more when I’m half looking out for random boats, benches, seagulls and ferries sailing towards the horizon. Eldest son is quite inquisitive so we often end up discussing some items from the list at length – such as the black lighthouse (that isn’t actually a lighthouse but an old mill). There have been other conversations such as the one about sea barriers and flooding; it only occurs to you later that your child is likely to announce something along the lines of, “I know what a dyke is.” It’s then you cross your fingers and hope that this happens when looking at a picture of sea defences and not as a random announcement.

Another favourite of ours is a number hunt. For this, you need nothing but a sheet of paper with numbers on, although a pre prepared hundred square is even more convenient. This is suitable for any walk around town or simply when you are trying to get from A to B in a suburban area. In the words of the CBeebies show, ‘Numberblocks’, numbers really are everywhere: telegraph poles, road signs, houses and bus stops are all excellent places to start searching.

If you have a bit more time, or walk the same route often, you can generate clues for the children on the way. This is quickly becoming a hobby of mine and now I can’t help but spot different shapes or coloured mini landmarks to become part of a treasure trail.

How to avoid sibling debates while baking

I often think how great it is that my boys are close in age, as they share many interests. However this often means many disputes too. Today they elected to bake a cake but completely disagreed about which cake to make.

My solution was as follows:

1) Let child 1 choose the picture/recipe they fancy. Let child 2 choose the colour and edit recipe to include closest matching food colouring.

2) Take it in turns to press the ‘reset’ button on the weighing scales.

3) They get a wooden spoon each. If you only own one wooden spoon in your kitchen, I suggest entering a quiz or competition (and losing).

4) Divide the top of the cake using Kit Kat fingers so they can decorate their own section.

Child 1 chose blueberries (because it matched the picture). Child 2 chose banana and sweets. I went for strawberry and chocolate chips. That left us with one quarter left. Baby is too little for cake so we let Grandma decide on the last topping. She was most unoriginal with her idea, copying my strawberries but leaving off the chocolate element.

Easy. Uneventful. Success.

3

The search for the underground house.

With the husband working shifts, I’ve found that adventures during lock down are like buses. You haven’t been on one for a while, then they all come together. Being able to use the car to visit to new places has really made a difference. We are exploring different locations again and it’s exciting. Driving somewhere pretty to avoid people is much more fun than simply ignoring the locals!

On this occasion we went to Catherington Downs – as a child this doubled up as my ‘extended’ back garden. It would appear to be a happy place for my children too. There was joy on their faces as they ran around in circles. Also, many possible directions to explore in: bumpy tracks, steep slopes, narrow twisty paths and overgrown walkways. I let the boys choose our route. After releasing an initial bout of energy, eldest son made reference to ‘going home’ so we opted for a tactic that my parents had deployed when I was young. I had a rainbow striped teddy bear when I was very small. Prior to my gorilla obsession, it was probably the stuffed animal that I’d loved the most. Therefore any talk of ‘Rainbow Ted’ was automatically of interest to me. Like my son, I also refused to walk anywhere ‘for fun’. The point of going for a walk was to get somewhere and on so many occasions we’d just end up back where we started. My parents introduced a neverending search for ‘Teddys Mummy’s house’. What had previously been a boring walk was now a vitally important quest! Being close by to where I grew up prompted this memory and like so many previously adopted parenting strategies, I stole this one too.

Eldest son has had two bunny rabbit plush toys since he was tiny (one blue and one white), imaginatively named ‘Blue Bunny’ and ‘White Bunny’. So our adventure became a search for Bunnies Mummy’s house. Luckily for us, rabbits are native to the English countryside, unlike Grizzly, Polar, American Black or even rainbow bears. This meant we were able to convert our adventure into a nature trail too, hunting for plants Bunny’s Mummy may have eaten, examining partially dug out areas of the hill and investigating the position of perfectly spherical rabbit droppings. I felt like I was trying to track something on the ‘Lost’ island – if you remember that television series. The excitement was back! Who’d have thought that a detailed examination of grass, dirt and excrement could be so much fun?

Our search led us to a wooded area where we encountered a strange looking tree that appeared to point across a lane and up another field. After establishing that it had a public footpath through the middle we set off in that direction, assuming that Bunny’s Mummy had left a clue for us. Every time we reached a gate we also had the added thrill of ‘getting into the airlock’ using only Mummy’s feet to open it. This made an excellent disguise from the standard response of avoiding touching due to the threat of Covid-19. Upon reaching the meadow, we quickly established that this was triggering the husband’s hayfever. (Interestingly, when we were out driving the day afterwards, middle son would ask “Daddy, are you going to sneeze?” every time we drove past a yellow field.) At the top, there was much to be discovered and a beautiful view but we still hadn’t found what we were searching for.

It was all a bit too much halfway through the return journey and between us, the husband and I ended up carrying all three small people back up the incline on the other side. Then Daddy made a momentous discovery! Below a lonely bush the ground had been disturbed. But this was was not like previous sightings. Here, the divot led to a burrow, which let to a potential warren and the home of Blue Bunny’s Mummy. We’d found it! A good job too given that this unexpected discovery led to the boys suddenly being empowered to motor up the final bank, renewing their energy levels just enough to forget they’d insisted on being carried only 5 minutes before. In fact, holding Mummy’s hand for that last section of the walk was all middle son needed to get him back to the car.

My toddler’s 100 day breakfast challenge (Part 2/5)

Day 21: Stickers. This was a challenge eldest son completed with Daddy. I don’t really know what it involved nor do I have any pictures – largely because I have pittakionophobia. However, it seemed only fair that he was able to experience playing with these.

Day 22: Washing up. He explored forces with the sponge – twisting and squeezing. He played with the bubbles in the water. He had lots of fun splashing about. But most importantly, he did Mummy’s job for her 😉

Day 23: Sensible meals. Using the tummy ache games, I asked eldest son to select food that he thought would go well together. We did some early learning about healthy eating too. When I repeat this with youngest son I’m planning on getting the play food out too.

Day 24: Aluminium foil. We investigated. We used the foil as a mirror, tore it, folded it and rolled it into little balls. We looked at which piece was the largest and which one was the shiniest.

Day 25: Letters of his name. I can’t take any credit for this idea. A friend of mine – who was following my challenges – sent me the link and I couldn’t resist. Preparation took much longer for this one but eldest son spent significantly longer using it too. Hopefully the pictures are fairly self explanatory.

Day 26: Shreddie sculptures. This was basically Jenga but without the bricks. It was inspired by the Cheerios challenge that had gone viral on Facebook that year.

Day 27: Matching letter shapes and sounds. We played snap with the letter cards then we saw if there were any of our magnetic letters that also matched.

Day 28: Tower building/Turn taking. It was eldest son versus Daddy for this challenge. We had the excitement of who could build the highest tower but it was all about learning to wait for the other person before you could have your go. Lots of repetition required for this one.

Day 29: Subtraction rhymes. As eldest son was unable to join in with the singing we built a visual picture of some of the number rhymes for him and he was involved by physically removing bottles from the wall. We also playing using a tree and apples. “On the farmer’s apple tree, five red apples I can see, some for you and some for me, take one apple from the tree…”

Day 30: Dancing sultanas. I gave eldest son a glass of lemonade and asked him to add some sultanas. I just loved watching his face when he saw them move about on their own. He was so amazed. Little things

Day 31: Sock sorting. Another sneaky way of getting my toddler to do my housework here! I gave him all the dry socks from the line and asked him to find the matching ones to sort into pairs.

Day 32: Playdough worms and snakes 🐍. This involved lots of rolling. I helped him make the tails and put on little eyes, he made them slither about.

Day 33: Animal rescue. Eldest son expressed genuine concern when he realised that lion and hippopotamus were stuck in the jelly quicksand. Luckily he saved them both using only two spoons and a tea tool.
P.S. Jelly quicksand is tasty.

Day 34: Treasure hunt. In contrast to our previous sensory activities, eldest son loved letting the rice run between his fingers (much better than using the spoon). Not quite sure if he understood the concept of finding money but the coins he uncovered were fun to put in a bowl, fun to clink together and fun to line up.

Day 35: Saucepan music. Eldest son loved today’s challenge (the neighbours probably didn’t). He found lots of ways to make music 🎶 I forgot to photograph the colander flute. The baby (middle son) joined in today. He mostly preferred to eat the drumsticks. Clearly he felt they were chicken drumsticks 🍗!

Day 36: Fastenings. Eldest son made firm friends the the caterpillar 🐛. His favourite fastening to open was the zip and his favourite one to match up with a real world object was the shoelace.

Day 37: Acting out a story. Eldest son liked matching the animals and people to the pictures in the book. He was a little more fussy than Noah as to who he allowed on the ark though. One of the poor giraffes had to lie down to fit and an elephant fell of the back. My boy also used his signing to show the weather on the page when the rain came pouring down.
Middle son didn’t think there should be two of each animal so tried to eat one of the bears.

Day 38: This challenge involved taking it in turns with Nanny and Daddy to pick an object out of a covered box. Eldest son then had to sort them into their groups. Animals, trains, cars and shapes. He really enjoyed it.

Day 39. Eldest son’s challenge was to find out what Daddy and Nanny had hidden in the duplo box and how to get it out. 😌He was very quick at the challenge this morning but he liked looking through the windows to see what he could see inside.

Day 40: Memory. I broke all the rules for this challenge. Eldest son had an early breakfast, before I was home, so we completed the challenge a little later 🙁
The challenge involved hiding objects behind a screen then adding a new one at a time. Eldest son had to identify which the new object was – basically Kim’s game in reverse.