Have them be your secretary

This one’s great for practising their spelling and reading as well as helping them learn about day to day tasks like form filling and filing. I’ll often ask my eldest to act as my scribe for the day and she loves it especially writing lists, shopping ones, to do lists, they all get farmed out to my pint sized personal assistant !!!  Today for example I was busy entering myself for Race for Life and my daughter was interested in what I was doing so I recruited her instantly for some form filling. She loved filling out my details and scoffing loudly when she typed in 1976 for year of birth. “You were born in 1976 mummy” . “That’s just so long ago !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well I’m glad she finds it funny !!!!!!

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Give them some chopsticks to play with

This is an unusual ‘ slowie’ but very effective! Give your kids a pair of chopsticks or ‘kiddy-friendly’ chopsticks (to be fairer, the ones attached at the top ) and then some raisins, cheerios, grapes or miniature food stuff of the like and watch them concentrate and learn to master their new tool. Great fun, keeps them quiet for ages and surely practises their fine motor skills !!! Give that boy a pencil!!! Pre school here he comes!!!! Happy slow chopsticking !!!!!

Another LHL !

Yet another ‘long hard look’ and this time it was a herd of cows with calves (with bull!!!) that we unwittingly got up close and personal with this afternoon. There was no way past on our cycle route other than through (cows roam free en route from Granchester to Newnham here in Cambs) so we decided we’d stop a while whilst trundling by!!! The children loved being so close and could almost touch the gorgeous animals with their chocolate coloured fur. At one point a delightful little calf came to have a good look at its pint sized equivalents which was fun. We also coupled our ‘long hard look’ with a ‘long hard listen’ and tuned into the incredible munching noise coming from the cows mouths as they chewed through the fresh green grass. It was quite a sound to behold. I’m so glad we stopped a while !! Subsequent questions were a little more challenging, discussion centring mainly around cow’s teeth, whether cow’s fur is soft, how you know whether a cow is a bull or not (!!!!!) and what a cow does with its tail when it has a poo !!! The joy!! That’s the only problem with these ‘long hard looks’, it’s the questions afterwards !!!!!

Write thank you letters

Writing thank you letters is a wonderful ‘slow’ activity and something parents need to encourage. Kids need to learn how important it is to say thank you and how lucky they are to receive so many gifts and treats on so many occasions throughout the year. I find sitting down and talking about the presents people have bought and looking through them really helps my children understand about who’s given what and who they need to thank.  The kids will love looking through everything and will really love getting to design and write their cards.( Licking the envelopes always featuring highly in the excitement stakes! )We managed to tick off a ‘job lot’ this avo and what was really nice was that my daughter truly grasped how lucky she was to have been given so many nice things AND she knew who had given her what. More to do in the morning !!! We really are so lucky.  Night night x

DEAR time

We’ve had some fantastic ‘DEAR time’ today. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, you’re not alone!! I hadn’t until I read a fantastic slow parenting book from the States (Slow Family Living by Bernadette Noll) which alluded to it in one of its chapters. DEAR stands for ‘drop everything and read’. A fabulous mnemonic which you’ve got to admit, translates into a pretty fantastic ‘slowie’!! And that’s what happened today, the kids quite literally ‘dropped everything’ as Nana emerged from the loft with a pile of my old ladybird books. The kids were fascinated to take a look and rifle through the stories that Nana and Grandpa used to read with me. Treasure Island, the Secret Garden, Robinson Crusoe. The dilemma simply being which one to read first!! We’re going to have to figure in some more DEAR time soon if we’re going to get through all this lot!!!

Share the reading, share the fun !

I know this might sound ridiculously obvious but it’s wonderful to read a book (or three!!!!) with our little ones and taking it in turns to read different lines has become a sure-fire favourite in this house. We’re loving the ‘you read one page’ ‘I read one page’ way of sharing at the moment but we’re also partial to a bit of sentence by sentence fun too. It’s much nicer than just sitting there and correcting their spelling and the best bit is getting to the end of a book and them almost immediately wanting to start again from the beginning, just so they can try out the opposite part! It’s added a whole new dimension to our reading, Biff and Chip books have never been so exciting! We’re also loving little plays too. My daughter loves divvying out the parts to everyone and sometimes even starts acting out the parts as we speak. We had to to call upon Nana and Grandpa to come in with us the other day when there were so many parts. It was a real family affair!!!!! Happy reading everyonexxxxx

Host a teddy for the night

This is a fab ‘slowie’ and something that school are doing with the Year 1’s. Basically the whole class take it in turns to host Bradley Bear for the night. He comes with his very own book/ photo diary and the children are instructed to entertain Bradley to their best abilities and then write a diary about their time with him! It’s great fun. This evening Bradley travelled home from school on mummy’s bike, met the other toys in the house, played marble drop, had a ride on Buzz Lightyear’s remote controlled car, had a painting session AND managed to play on the ukuleles before tea! After tea he was off upstairs making up his bed for the night and brushing his teeth (or not as the case may be !!!) ! This fabulous idea really tapped into the kids’ imaginations and would be so easy to copy with a friend’s bear or with one of mummy’s or daddy’s !! Try it !