Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day

​Today is Earth Day. So here are some lovely ways you can celebrate, either today  or any other (because really, everyday should be Earth Day anyway!) 

  • Nature art. There are lots of fun nature art activities that you can do as a family. One that is particularly great for Earth Day is to collect some large pebbles, arrange them in a solid circle, then paint them with a map of the world (I decided to add a peace sign too!)

Earth day, world peace, creative, art, artivism, family fun, educational activities, home education, green living, global citizen, our world, environment

  • Make an Earth Pom Pom. Check out this super cute creative activity over on Monkey and Mouse!
  • Sign up to Global Guardian Project to get their monthly digital multi-media resource (learning capsule) full of stunning pictures, useful information, inspirational ideas and activities, and wonderful facts about the amazing world that we live in, and how we can care for it. This month the focus is on Israel. Use my affiliate code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY to get 10% discount off subscriptions. (Usual price $14.99 per month). This discount code can also be used for their new special edition National Parks capsule too.

Global Guardian Project, learning capsule, discount code, LIVINGLIFEOURWAY, subscription, green living, global citizen, education, educational resources

  • Go on a nature walk. Use all your senses to explore the natural environment around you. Stop for a few moments, be still and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What can you smell? Touch the bark of a tree, go barefoot on the grass. Take it all in and connect with our earth.

Earth Day, Living Life Our Way, nature, global citizen, green living, our world, natural environment, family fun

    • Make a paper mache globe. This project takes several days but is lots of messy creative fun! Head on over to The Crafty Classroom to for a detailed tutorial.
    • Give the earth a helping hand. Do something that helps protect our environment. Small changes can have a BIG impact. Maybe a 5 minute litter pick in your local park? Find ways to reduce energy consumption in your home? Pledge to say ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws with your drink? Or perhaps buy yourself a reusable cup rather than using disposable coffee shops ones? You could even try to give up single-use plastics completely! The possibilities are endless and remember, every small change helps. Other ideas can be found on my previous Make A Splash blog post.  

    Earth Day, Living Life Our Way, litter picking, park clean up, activism, global citizen, green living, our world, natural environment, family fun

    What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!

    Wicked Uncle Review – Fun Gift Ideas For Kids (STEM Toys)

    Wicked Uncle is a cool website that specialises in awesome gifts for kids. More than that, it is set up to make it easy for anyone to be able to choose a brilliant suitable present – even if they don’t know the child very well. It is also great if you are simply stuck for good ideas and need some inspiration. 

    I was given the opportunity to review their website; they gave me a voucher code and my brief was to choose products with a focus on science and engineering. (Ideal as Squiggle loves STEM toys!) This is the first time I have shopped on their website and I found it super easy to use. I also tried to consider how simple it would be if I was buying for someone I don’t know at all, and I can totally imagine it would be straightforward and take the stress out of it! 

    The website allows you to select gender, specific age and categories (such as outdoors, sensory, engineering, creative and various others). Or you can browse all options within any of these sections. I admit I am not a fan of organising toys by gender but I do understand that some customers might want to ‘play it safe’ and find this function useful. Plus there is a good selection in both the boys and girls sections; the range is not divided up in a way that is too stereotypical thankfully. And of course you can just choose ‘all’ for this instead if you prefer to be gender neutral, like us! 

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    Given I was looking for engineering toys specifically, I selected that category and looked up the appropriate age range (in this case, 8 – 11 years old). I could then search the products by price or popularity. I have to say, there is an excellent selection of items; including some really unique ideas!

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    I spent ages browsing the website and was really impressed. There were lots of items that I wouldn’t have thought of myself and have never spotted them anywhere else before. I also came across lots of great gift ideas for other people while I was browsing, lots of inspiration for future occasions! I eventually decided on the Salt Water Engine Car (£15.95) and Tin Can Cable Car (£14.95) plus I couldn’t resist throwing in the funky Mood Cube (£5.50) too.

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    Ordering is easy, and there are options such as gift wrap and choosing a card (at a small extra cost) should you require it. Once ordered, delivery is quite quick; my parcel arrived within a few days. It also comes with a cute (and funny!) thank you card for the gift, which is a nice little touch.

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    I chose these particular two items because from the descriptions I could tell that they would be fun, educational toys that Squiggle would really enjoy. I also like the eco- friendly nature of them too; I value toys and activities that emphasise the importance of being environmentally conscious.

    I knew Squiggle would find it interesting that the car runs from salt water and this can also lead onto further discussion about clean energy (which is something we have already talked about alot before, but it is still a good reminder!) There were more pieces than I expected, but that’s great as it means the activity actually lasts more than five minutes! It is lovely that we can properly get into it together. 

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    I like the tin can cable car activity because it reinforces the concept of reusing and upcycling. I also knew that Squiggle would let her creative side take over and use this as a zip wire for her smaller toys – as this is something she was already trying to design by herself in the garden anyway! Her previous attempts at improvising were fantastic, but this kit is ideal!

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    In summary, I am very impressed with the website and will definitely be using it to buy gifts again in the future! It is absolutely brilliant for coming up with unique gift ideas. It also comes highly recommended by others too – it is an award winning service infact; rated 99 out of 100, based on many reviews. Well done, Wicked Uncle!

    Wicked Uncle, childrens gifts, toys and games, gift website, educational resources, gift ideas, review, engineering, science, STEM

    *Disclosure: I was given a voucher code so I could shop on Wicked Uncle website for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    Learning Success System: Review and Giveaway

    The Learning Success System uses various approaches to overcoming learning difficulties, using new findings in neuroscience, as well as tried and tested techniques developed by experts in the field. New exercises are delivered daily via email, and there is also a support forum too.

    The first principle of the Learning Success System is small steps. In Japanese culture, it’s called Kaizen. It comes from the idea that crash learning doesn’t work, at least not long-term; continuous improvement over time is more effective. Therefore the tasks are only brief but to work well, the programme should be carried out regularly, although the exact amount in terms of length of time and frequency are flexible. Tasks can be approached in the way that works best for your child/ family.

    There is a huge wealth of information over on The Learning Success Blog but as a very brief summary, the programme works on the following strategies for better learning: 

    Build up micro-skills

    Trigger neuroplasticity

    Build confidence

    Brain integration

    Build grit

    The exercises focus on developing different skills such as working memory, auditory discrimination, cross- lateral coordination and other skills that help across many areas of learning. The exercises are quick and simple, but also fun and engaging. They are all very much active learning techniques, not passive teaching. (This is a good thing!)

    The Learning Success blog, The Learning Success System, SEND, learning skills, educational resources, home education, homeschool, online education programme, learning difficulties, discount

    The Learning Success System is available at the discounted reader price of $197 for a 12 month subscription, with a 90 day guarantee. You can purchase it here. (This is an affiliate link. This means I get a fee for each person that signs up, this does not cost the buyer anything extra. Thank you for supporting me in this way!) 



    The Learning Success blog, The Learning Success System, SEND, learning skills, educational resources, home education, homeschool, online education programme, learning difficulties, discount

    One lucky reader can win a 12 month subscription to The Learning Success System. Enter via rafflecopter below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Competition closes 1st May 2017. Open worldwide. Other T&Cs apply.

    *Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. I was given a free subscription for the purpose of this review and giveaway. 

    Easter Bunny’s Garden Adventures by Squiggle

    Ever wondered what goes on whilst you are still asleep in bed? This, apparently…

    Easter Bunny really should jump to it getting those easter eggs delivered…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    But there is always time for a quick game of tennis with a friend…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    And badminton too…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Oh look! Bunny height basketball…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Shhh! He won’t spot me up here…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Now for a spot of tag rugby. Doh! So close…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Volleyball anyone?

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    And always time for a quick sack race too…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Now, must dash! Someone is coming and I got things to do…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!! 

    Credits: 

    Concept, photography, set design and director ~ Squiggle

    Assistant ~ Andy (daddy)

    Captions ~ Katie (mummy)

    World Poetry Day

    In celebration of World Poetry Day today, Viking Direct kindly sent us a box of goodies to help inspire us to write some beautiful poems. 

    World Poetry Day, poems, activities at home, events, Home Education, poetry, writing

    Squiggle has previously written several poems and we have discussed different types of poetry before too. For example, we talked about what a cinquain poem is and wrote one together. We have also made a shape poem, and Squiggle once wrote a descriptive rainbow colours poem using a poetry template from Twinkl to help her. But Squiggle’s personal favourite type are acrostic poems; she wrote one about nature as part of our 30 Days Wild challenge last June, and has written plenty more since!

    World Poetry Day, Acrostic poem, nature poem, activities at home, events, Home Education, poetry, writing

    To celebrate World Poetry Day this year, firstly we revisited different types of poems that we had already learnt about previously. Then we moved our discussion onto poetry form and structure, so focused on rhyming couplets in particular. We picked a favourite topic to write about (Squiggle chose Sylvanian Families!) then started jotting down ideas and rhyming words that fitted the subject, before turning them into simple rhyming couplets. 

    World Poetry Day, poems, activities at home, events, Home Education, poetry, writing

    Here is one of her rhyming couplets:

    Sylvanians are such fun,

    I love to play with them out in the sun!

    Next she made up an acrostic poem about seals, which are one of her very favourite animals, to celebrate both World Poetry Day today and International Day of the Seal tomorrow.

    World Poetry Day, poems, acrostic poetry, seals, International Day of the Seal, activities at home, events, Home Education, poetry, writing

    It says:

    S ea and sand

    E (a) ny seal is my favourite, I don’t have a favourite out of my cuddly toy seals but if I had to pick; Pierre, Seal Seal and Dots

    A seal of mine jumps for cuddles

    Love them

    S ays uf, also mum! 

    (I didn’t think it was the time to remind her that any starts with a, bless her!) 

    Squiggle is very creative and comes up with wonderful ideas. Once she has inspiration, she tends to write fast in order to get her ideas down quickly before she forgets them! As Viking Direct explain in their article about The Importance of Writing, writing is an art form, and it helps us to make connections and process our ideas. I feel it is far more important to allow Squiggle the freedom to let her creative ideas flow, rather than interrupt her thoughts to remind her about presentation, or correct mistakes. So her writing tends to be huge and messy but it’s the content that matters!

    However, once she had finished writing the poems, we got out the calligraphy set we were sent to have a try at some fancy writing!

    World Poetry Day, poems, acrostic poetry, seals, International Day of the Seal, calligraphy, events, Home Education, poetry, writing, activities at home

    She found it quite a challenge to use the calligraphy pen but she had fun having a go at writing with it and enjoyed decorating it too!

    World Poetry Day, poems, acrostic poetry, seals, International Day of the Seal, poetry, calligraphy, writing, Home Education, activities at home, events

    Happy World Poetry Day everyone!

    Do you have a favourite poem or your own poetry to share? Leave them in comments. 

    World Poetry Day, poems, activities at home, events, Home Education, poetry, writing

    Join in with the poetry celebrations on social media using the hashtag #VikingWorldPoetryDay

    The Great Daffodil Appeal – Marie Curie 

    It’s that time of year when people all over the country are getting involved in The Great Daffodil Appeal for Marie Curie. Marie Curie is a wonderful charity that supports people with terminal illness, and their families. The funds raised from the appeal help to pay for nurses to provide care to families during this most difficult time.

    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    If you want to take part but haven’t already registered, it’s not too late! Here are some of my favourite fundraising ideas to get you started. And if these don’t inspire you, make up your own instead!

    Get creative:

    • Make and sell handmade cards, crochet daffodils or origami daffodils.
    • Hold a creative workshop and charge an entry fee to raise money.

    Get baking:

    • Make some delicious cakes to sell.
    • Have a bake-off challenge.

    Find some yummy celebrity recipes here.

    Get active:

    • Hold a charity sports match.
    • Have a sports day (charge for people part in the races).
    • Do a sponsored run or swim.
    • Set yourself a walking, cycling, running or swimming goal to achieve by x date.


    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    Find out more information and sign up for fundraising here: 

    The Great Daffodil Appeal Fundraising Page.

    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 35 (List of Art Activities by Squiggle)

    ​Today for #100daysofhomeed Squiggle has made a list of recent art activities…

    Drawing ✏😄

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

    Spin art 🎨

    Scratch art 🐶🌈

    Clay 

    phone app / dwawing  on the phone 📱✏

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, art, creative, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education

    Taking photos 📷

    Painting 🎨

    Colarge 💗💚 (collage)

    Nature art 🍃 🌹

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

    Marbleing 

    Bubble art 🎨

    Modle making 😉 💖💚💗 (model making)

    Paper modles (paper models)

    100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 25 (Our Round-Up So Far)

    So we are now 1/4 of the way through the #100daysofhomeed challenge! I thought this might be a good time to do a brief round-up of some of the activities we have done since the challenge started. No doubt there is a tonne of stuff I have forgotten but here are a few of the things we have been doing…

    Literacy

    • Punctuation and grammar – Squiggle was reading the side of a cereal packet whilst having a snack. She asked about the use of apostrophies, which she has now been using correctly since. It also led onto further discussions about punctuation and grammar, and covered alot of ground! I love how such amazing valuable learning opportunities can arise naturally from even the simplest of everyday tasks.
    • Writing – Squiggle wrote some tips on green living/ protecting the environment.
    • Scrabble – We played this for the first time recently, great for spelling!
    • Squiggle has written lots of letters to her friends and characters, and wrote cards for Valentines Day.
    • She also frequently writes shopping lists etc…
    • Squiggle regularly writes her own stories.

    Maths

  • Squiggle has written a list of some of our maths resources and we have played most of these games/ activities since the challenge started.
  • Valentines Day – Squiggle did lots of themed maths activities from the Twinkl website.
  • Squiggle has been playing shops;  involving real money, working out cost/ change etc…

  • Science Experiments/ STEM

    • Squiggle has been doing some of our Dyson STEM challenge cards, including ‘invisible writing’ with lemon juice and using coke to make coppers shiny.
    • We have also experimented with growing crystals.
    • Squiggle figured out how to make herself a basic microphone using household objects using her knowledge and understanding of sound, vibrations, amplification etc…

    STEM, science, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, freedom to learn, Home EducationScience experiments/ STEM challenges

    Geography

    • Squiggle has been learning more about different countries and continents.

    Geography, maps, continents, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, freedom to learn, Home EducationGeographyGeography, maps, continents, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, freedom to learn, Home Education

    Technology

    • Squiggle has been creating some digital art on my phone using PicsArt app.
    • She has written alot of emails to myself and her dad.
    • She has typed lists etc…
    • We use the internet together for research.

    Digital art, Pics Art, technology, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, freedom to learn, Home EducationDigital art

    Creative activities 

    Sports

    •  Squiggle has played lots of sports in the garden and we have also been to the athletics track too.

    Music

    • Squiggle has been to her regular music class.
    • She has been putting on performances at home, including singing with her new mic!

    Days out etc…

    Places to visit, Whipsnade, zoo, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, Days Out, freedom to learn, Home EducationWhipsnade Zoo

    • Nature Walks – We have enjoyed countryside walks observing the earliest signs of Spring.
    • We have been to parks and playgrounds.
    • Garden Centres – We loved seeing the wildlife and the wood carving sculptures outside this garden centre.
    Vanstone Park, garden centre, wooden sculptures, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, Days Out, freedom to learn, Home Education
    Garden Centre

    Life Skills

    • Squiggle has earned money by doing tasks. She has a Go Henry account and has been using that to learn about having an account/ dealing with money.
    • We have also discussed the basics of running a business. She then practised some elements of this by ‘hiring’ me to do things (such as drawing her a picture for example) which I then invoiced her for, and she paid me – and vice versa. 
    • We talked about other aspects of running a business too, such as making ethical and eco-friendly choices, and we even discussed giving back to the community / helping others by giving x % profit to charity. 

    There are loads more things I’m sure but that’s all I can think of right now!

    Chalkola Chalk Markers: Review, Discount and Giveaway

    Chalkola kindly offered us some of their brilliant chalk markers to review. We were sent their newly launched pack of 21 markers,  which includes 15 colour chalk pens and 6 metallic markers in the set, and also a pack of their chunky 15mm platinum series markers too. 

    chalk markers, chalk pens, Chalkboard pens, Chalkboard markers, dry erase markers, chalk artists, kids, parents, teachers, creative, art, education, review, giveaway, discount

    These funky chalk pens can be used on any non-porous surface; such as glass, mirrors, whiteboards, chalkboards or plastic. You simply wipe them off again when you are done. They are non-toxic and child-friendly so are therefore great for a range of purposes. Lots of fun! 

    chalk markers, chalk pens, Chalkboard pens, Chalkboard markers, dry erase markers, chalk artists, kids, parents, teachers, creative, art, education, review, giveaway, discount

    Squiggle and I decided to get creative doodling on our patio doors! When you use the pens for the first time it takes a bit of shaking and pressing down to get the flow started. However, once they get going, they then work very well.

    chalk markers, chalk pens, Chalkboard pens, Chalkboard markers, dry erase markers, chalk artists, kids, parents, teachers, creative, art, education, review, giveaway, discount, Living Life Our Way

    The colours come out nice and bright, and there is good variety within the set. We really enjoyed using these chalk markers, and even our cat got involved in the fun! Squiggle loves any opportunity to get creative and is a big fan of these. (Oh and using the patio door is great for doing lovely big gross motor movements too by the way!) 

    Living Life Our Way, chalk markers, chalk pens, Chalkboard pens, Chalkboard markers, dry erase markers, chalk artists, kids, parents, teachers, creative, art, education, review, giveaway, discount

    The Chalkola chalk markers then rub off with a damp cloth, although I am sure my landlord will be very pleased to know that I did test this out before letting Squiggle loose on our patio doors just to be sure! I made a little video clip to show how easily it wipes off… 

    One lucky reader can win a set of these 21 markers by Chalkola. To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, enter the competition via rafflecopter below. T&Cs apply. Competition ends on 20th March 2017.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    chalk markers, chalk pens, Chalkboard pens, Chalkboard markers, dry erase markers, chalk artists, kids, parents, teachers, creative, art, education, review, giveaway, discount

    And if you don’t win, or simply cannot wait that long, don’t worry! My readers get 15% off any Chalkola products using the voucher code 15OFFSTR at checkout. Enjoy!!!

    *Chalkola sent me free markers for the purpose of this review, thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    *Post contains Amazon affiliate links.

    100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 20 (Squiggle’s List of Maths Resources/ Activities) 

    Today for #100daysofhomeed  Squiggle has written a list of 10 maths activities/ resources we use at home. Of course this is not an exhaustive list but it does give some good examples…

    • Pop to the shops 🏦

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, maths, activities at home, educational resources, Orchard Toys, Pop To The Shops

    • 3d shapes 🔺
    • Valontines day math 💗💚💐🌹💌 (Note: She is referring to themed subject resources from Twinkl website) 
    • Fraction fourmula game (sp: formula) 

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, maths, activities at home, educational resources, Fraction Formula Game

    • Shape snap 🌟🌟🌟🌟⬜🔶🔴🔺
    • Make  3d shapes ⬜⬛⬜
    • Sports bar graph 🎾⚽🏀🏉(or) Eny tipe of talliey chart or graph⚽🎾🐈🐶🐰🐯🐆🐧😹😻😽 (sp: any type of tally chart)
    • Four fraction snap (Note: Function not fraction!) 

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, maths, activities at home, educational resources, four fraction snap

    • Shut the box 📦📦📦📦📦
    • Scails (sp: scales. ie to teach weights, comparison, measurements etc…)


    Here are links to purchase some of the activities Squiggle has mentioned:(Please note these are Amazon affiliate links. This means I get a small amount of money if you make a purchase via my site. This does not cost you anything. Thank you for the support!)

    Pop To The Shops (Orchard Toys) £8 approx. Aimed at ages 5- 9. Teaches about handling money, coins etc…

    Geometric Solids (Learning Resources) £13 approx. 3D shapes. Aimed at ages 8+

    Fraction Formula (Learning Resources) £26 approx. Aimed at ages 8+

    Shape Snap (Orchard Toys) £6 approx. Aimed at ages 3-6 but we still enjoy it!

    Four Function Snap £5 approx. Teaches addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Including practising mental arithmetic. Aimed at ages 7+ 

    Shut the Box £4.50 approx. See my previous review here for more details.

    We often use Twinkl for our printed resources. This is where we sourced several of the activities mentioned, including our themed maths printed-off worksheets/ activities (such as the Valentines Day ones Squiggle listed), nets to make our own 3D shapes and various tally charts/ graphs etc…