Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Turn off the TV and go and do Something Less Boring Instead........

Now, that line is from a TV programme from my childhood - to be fair, it was obviously in an era when children were out playing a lot more and inside a lot less. It was a strange show, but did come up with some ideas to fill the school holidays.

As a general rule, watching TV is dull. I know millions of children would disagree with me, and probably most of their parents as well. But it is.

As a nanny, and a parent, I am reasonably obsessed with healthy eating, fresh air and no television (or very minimal).
I remember many people saying to me that 'when you have your own children you will let them watch tv just like the rest of us'. Well, yes I do. My boy watches TV roughly once a fortnight - we choose a film and watch it together on a Saturday afternoon.

But, what all my charges and children have had, is plenty of scope for outside play. Yes, we live in England, yes it is wet, but yes, you can get waterproof & warm clothes, and then go off and explore.

The past couple of years the National Trust have been running a '50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4' campaign. It is great. Full of inspiration to get children outside, climbing, rolling, mud pie making. Most of the activities can be done anywhere (with no expense), most of them involve you getting mucky, and all of them are fun. Some National Trust properties hold events where you can go along and do some of the activites - though you may need to pay an admission charge for this.

So, Spring is in the air, wrap up warmly and go out and explore - and here are just a few ideas from the National Trust 50 things booklet.........
Climb a tree.
Roll down a really big hill.
Run around in the rain.
Make a mud slide.
Climb a huge hill.
Find some frogspawn.
Set up a snail race.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Chickpea curry!

Over years of working with children, I have developed a passion for feeding them all (and my own son) with a good mix of healthy food.
This meal is almost as quick as cooking a bowl of pasta, and uses ingredients that you may well have in the cupboard or fridge.

So, quite simply you need a tin of chickpeas, a carrot (or other veg), an onion, 1/4tspn of turmeric, mild chilli, coriander & turmeric & a squirt of tomato puree.

Then, heat some oil or butter in a pan and add the chopped onion & carrot. When they are softened stir in the tomato puree and add the spices. Cook for a minute or so.
Pour in half a cup of water and tip in the can of chickpeas.

Simmer for around 5 minutes.

Ta da.

Serve with naan bread, rice - or just on it's own.

This is a much requested meal by my boy and lots of other children too.
Healthy & quick. Perfect.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

World Book Day

Hoorah, one of my favourite school events is upon us.
This week is world book day. A great event that 100s of schools over the UK join in with and celebrate. Schools come up with different ideas – normally the children go in fancy dress – dressed as a character from their favourite book. I heard of one school with a fab idea, all the children go to school in their pjs and take their favourite bedtime story with them!
So, in honour of World Book Day, I am going to provide you with a list of great books for preschoolers. Some are individual books, some are part of a series, but they will all be worth a read.
Here goes (as a general guide, the top of the list is for the youngest of children, and they will get progressively more grown up down the list!).
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See – Eric Carle
Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen
Whatever Next – Jill Murphy
You Choose – Pippa Goodhart
The Tiger who came to Tea – Judith Kerr
Five Minutes Peace – Jill Murphy (along with the others in the same ‘Elephant’ series)
Kipper – Mick Inkpen – a delightful series about Kipper (the dog), Tiger and a whole host of loveable friends.
Hairy Maclary (all the series) – Lynley Dodd
Aliens Love Underpants (as do dinosaurs) – Claire Freedman
Alfie and Annie Rose stories – lots of them, all great – Shirley Hughes
Max – Bob Graham
The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
Winnie the Witch (each and every one of the picture books) – Valerie Thomas
Oliver Who Would not Sleep (and the others in the series) Mara Bergman
Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes – Anna Kemp
Tyrannosaurus Drip – Julia Donaldson
What the Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson
The Lighthouse Keeper series – Ronda & David Armitage
Mister Magnolia – Quentin Blake
So, not a complete list, I could go on for hours. You may notice a lack of Julia Donaldson books – 3 have made it on to my list, many of them I find tedious, but you may love them. There are many authors with many different series worth a try. Mick Inkpen books are always worth a read, as are Nick Butterworths. Some Dr Seuss books are fantastic, others not so great.
And, my 2 awards go to……….. (da da daaaaa)
Best series ever…. Winnie the Witch
Best Individual Book – Max (son of legendary superheroes)
Now, off you go and get reading.