June: Activities at Home

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

November: Part One

These are some of the things we have been doing so far this month…

character drawings 01.11.14
Drawing various characters she has created in a variety of outfits 01.11.14
fishing 01-11-14
Fishing for coins in the bath- a game she designed herself 01.11.14
water scales 01-11-14
Squiggle started off using her balance scales to compare volumes of water. This then led to a discussion about measurements of solids and liquids, and the units they are measured in. She then decided to experiment with comparing the ducks and water combined. She observed that when the water was the same volume each side and therefore balanced, that the two ducks did not weigh the same. This was not what she predicted because they look the same and are the same size, but she the concluded one of them must have water inside adding to the weight. She then tried to push the duck down into the water and was amused that it popped back up again so we discussed why this happens. She also noticed the water level rises as she did so, which also led to a discussion on water displacement. 01.11.14
white water rafting 01.11.14
We went to watch white water rafting at Lee Valley. 01.11.14
2014-11-02 13.44.48
Caldecotte lake 02.11.14
2014-11-02 13.47.30
Watching watersports on the lake 02.11.14
2014-11-02 13.52.01
02.11.14
2014-11-02 13.54.16
Photos at the lake 02.11.14
2014-11-02 13.45.40
One of my favourite photographs of Caldecotte lake 02.11.14
cuddly toy cat game 3-11-14
Cuddly toy cat game 03.11.14
paradise park play area 4-11-14
Paradise park 04.11.14 physical exercise and a spot of map reading too
paradise park animals 4-11-14
A few of the animals at Paradise park 04.11.14
paradise park monkey 4-11-14
We were lucky enough to spot a two day old newborn baby gibbon clinging to mum 04.11.14
sylvanian school game 5-11-14
Squiggle used her Sylvanian families to act out a day at school. This led to some very interesting questions, such as why do the children need to wear a school uniform, who decides what it should be etc… We then had a very balanced discussion about the differences between school and home education. She was able to articulate very well why she personally feels home ed is much better suited to her needs. 05.11.14
southend 6-11-14
Southend beach 06.11.14
2014-11-06 13.26.36
We found this great resource at the beach playground, it is simple explanation of the weather cycle. Squiggle enjoyed learning how clouds form and how it rains. This led to further discussion about weather, the sun and also how stars form too 06.11.14
southend boats 6-11-14
Boats at Southend 06.11.14
southend more photography 6-11-14
Some of my favourite photos from our trip to Southend 06.11.14
southend photography 6-11-14
Scenic photos of Southend 06.11.14
fireworks fleetville 7.11.14
Local fireworks display 07.11.14
fireworks crabtree 8.11.14
Watching fireworks with a friend 08.11.14
fashion garden 9.11.14
Playing in the garden 09.11.14
2014-11-09 09.55.11
Picnic in the garden 09.11.14
2014-11-09 16.09.04
Fun at Bopping Babes disco 09.11.14
sylvanian imagination 10.11.14
Small world imaginary play 10.11.14
sylvanian ayletts christmas display 11.11.14
Acting out Ayletts Christmas display from last year 11.11.14
wpid-1415793566765.jpg
We then visited Ayletts garden centre to see this year’s display 11.11.14
wpid-1415792247599.jpg
Notcutts garden centre 11.11.14
wpid-1415806031091.jpg
Squiggle made her own Christmas sticker book 12.11.14
2014-11-12 13.34.30
Sylvanian family decorating for Christmas (wearing clothes she made for them for winter) 12.11.14
duplo treehouse 13.11.14
Duplo construction (tree house playground) 13.11.14
clarence park 13.11.14
Clarence park 13.11.14
2014-11-14 11.43.58
Squiggle designed a multi pack of cat treats 14.11.14
cats 14.11.14
Squiggle then asked the next day to go to the pet shop to buy the cats a treat 15.11.14
2014-11-13 15.47.01
Chilling together
wpid-1416155078382.jpg
Van Hage garden centre 16.11.14
wpid-1416154368864.jpg
We popped to Stanborough lake briefly on the way home 16.11.14

 

In addition to these activities, we also practised estimating (time mainly) and discussed the difference between a guess and an estimate. We have also played a game several times that she invented whereby we try to recall what we were doing x number of days ago. This proved to be a fun memory game and we enjoyed talking about past events, as well as doing the maths to work out how many weeks, months and sometimes years ago the day was. I also discovered she didn’t know what a typewriter was when she found a miniature toy one (then again, why would she know!) So we discussed technology and how it has progressed, which she found very interesting.

 

A Typical Week in Home Education?

In reality there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week for us, we are interest-led and we tend to go with the flow as we feel this suits our needs as a family. The freedom to do this is one of the many reasons we love home educating. I will share more of our personal educational philosophy sometime but that is really a separate subject so I will leave it for now. However, this post aims to give a flavour of the type of thing we might find ourselves doing and a rough gist of what our week might look like. So here is a brief summary of our week:

Saturday

In the morning Squiggle played outside in the garden with her dad. She also picked some blackberries then helped to clean and feed our rabbits. After this we decided to head to the seaside at Southend for the rest of the day.

southend 21.09 (3)
Playing on the beach
southend 21.09 (5)
Collecting seaweed
southend 21.09 (7)
Paddling in the sea

Sunday

We spent some the day at home then decided to pop to Milton Keynes shopping centre for a little while (where she particularly enjoyed the caravan show and studying the inside of a working clock)

model plane 21.09.13
This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

London zoo 23.09 (2)
We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
London zoo 23.09 (12)
Iguana in the reptile house
London zoo 23.09 (25)
The gorilla striking a pose!
London zoo 23.09 (53)
Petting farm
London zoo 23.09 (54)
Squiggle spent a long time playing in the water fountains with an acorn. She had fun designing a science experiment to see which fountains could hold the acorn up in the water. She did lots of investigating how easily the acorn moved in the little stream as well.

Tuesday

We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.

recognising coins 24.09 (2)
She decided she wanted to play with some coins that had been left on the table so this led to learning to recognise and sort different coins. We also had a discussion on the value of things.
Paradise park 24.09 (3)
Watching how the otters behave
Paradise park 24.09 (4)
We enjoyed watching the white tiger take a bath

Wednesday

We had planned to go to a local park to meet up with some friends in the morning then we also went to Leighton Buzzard park in the afternoon.

fleetville park 25.09 (5)
Fleetville park
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (21)
Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (8)
Developing her climbing skills and confidence
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (11)
These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
leighton buzzard park 25.09 (20)
Balancing skills

Thursday

We stayed at home today so I produced a hidden parcel that had arrived recently, which she was very excited about. It was a zip wire for her hex bugs! This of course inspired her to play with these for sometime, including lots of exploration and discussion about how they work. Activities she later chose included playing Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds on the laptop.

hexbugs 26.09
Hexbugs
maths seeds 24.09 (2)
Maths seeds

Friday

Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.

art group 13.09 (10)
Exploring clay at art group
art group 27.09.13
Doing scratch art

A Trip to Weymouth, Dorset: Haven and Sealife Centre

We stayed at Weymouth Bay Haven holiday park, which Squiggle particularly enjoyed. Nearby there was a sandy beach at Bowleaze Cove, which also had a quiet little funfair. For more information about Bowleaze Cave see website www.bowleazecove.co.uk and for further details on the Haven site we stayed at view the Haven website here.

dorset beach 04.07 (5)
Making a beach collection
Dorset beach 03.07 (2)
Footprints in the sand
Dorset beach 03.07 (12)
Enjoying the funfair rides
dorset beach 04.07 (32)
Helter skelter slide with her grandad
dorset beach 04.07 (39)
She was most excited about going on the funfair wheel (or in her words a mini London Eye)
Dorset Haven 02.07 (14)
Exploring on a nature walk.
Dorset Haven 02.07 (25)
Playing outside at Weymouth Bay Haven Holiday site.
Dorset Haven 02.07 (31)
She enjoyed going swimming and meeting characters on-site at Haven (although not at the same time!)
Dorset Haven 05.07.13 (9)
Trying out the dancing game

However, the highlight of the trip for us had to be the Sealife Adventure Park in Weymouth. Although it was very expensive it was a fantastic day out and we would definitely love to return! It is also worth noting that Sealife Adventure Park is part of the Merlin group so annual pass holders get in free. For more details see their website here.

Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (51)
Giant crab
Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (15)
Sting ray close up
Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (17)
Walk through tunnel, beautiful giant turtle
Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (46)
Fascinating ‘sea worms’ and shrimps
Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (49)
Jelly fish
Dorset sealife centre 05.07 (32)
Learning about crocodiles
Dorset sealife centre 05.07 (37)
Fun educational facts
Dorset sealife centre 03.07 (110)
It also has an excellent splash park and paddling pool, one of her favourite bits of course!

Princess Diana Memorial Playground, London

Princess Diana Memorial Playground is in Kensington Gardens next to the palace. It has an excellent range of equipment suitable for children under 12, all adults must be accompanied by a child. There is a queuing system for when the playground reaches maximum capacity but on the plus side this really makes a difference to the playground not feeling too over-crowded, especially during peak season when other places can often be uncomfortably packed. Further details of this playground can be found on the website https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington-gardens/things-to-see-and-do/sports-and-leisure/diana-memorial-playground

kensington gardens 06.06 (30)
There are giant musical instruments set in pretty natural surroundings.
kensington gardens 06.06 (19)
Lovely natural wooden playground with lots of equipment.
kensington gardens 06.06 (25)
Sensory garden
Kensington garden July 13 (8)
Wet sand
kensington gardens 06.06 (26)
There is an impressive pirate ship in the centre of the playground.
kensington gardens 06.06 (22)
There is a stream to paddle in with a stone crocodile.
kensington gardens 06.06 (17)
The playground is set in beautiful surroundings and it has a wonderful calm vibe.
kensington gardens 06.06 (9)
Great shade for a warm day.

Summer Fun: Parks and Paddling

Editors Note: Update 09/05/16 See here for latest information on splash park and paddling pool opening times for summer season 2016 and links to official websites

 

 

 

We have enjoyed visiting a range of places over summer and we especially loved finding fun places to cool down on the wonderful hot days we had! Here are some of the places we have been over July and August…

 

This is Stockwood Park Discovery Centre in Luton. It has an interesting museum and lovely playground, free entry. (The bus is not always there and was not open during our visit unfortunately, she still loved running around it though!) http://www.lutonculture.com/stockwood-discovery-centre/stockwood-discovery-centre/

Discovery centre 28.07

 

Highfield park in St Albans has lots of green space and hidden pockets containing little play areas dotted around, plus there is also a tree trail. The leaflet for the tree trail is available at Charters Health Club. “The Trail is 3km (2miles) long and follows a circular route. The trail identifies 25 different trees, each with a numbered way marker, the leaflet provides you with interesting facts about the various trees.” The Highfield Park summer fete this year included an agility show, much to Squiggle’s delight! There are a few other events held at the park throughout the year. http://www.highfieldparktrust.co.uk/index.php/visiting-the-park-mainmenu-33

highfield park fete 13.07 (21)

 

 

This is Leighton Buzzard park. As well as a lovely playground suitable for a range of ages it also has an excellent splash park to. Squiggle loved it but it was far too busy to get any pictures!

Leighton buzzard park 08.07 (9)

 

This is Morris Playing Field in London Colney. It has a small paddling pool and play area, as well as a football pitch and tennis courts.

london colney 19.06 (6)

 

We enjoyed a day trip to Southend to paddle in the sea and play in the sand. There is a small children’s climbing frame on the beach next to a large fun fair. This picture makes it look rather less crowded that it really was though!

southend 06.07 (6)

We also enjoyed looking for crabs, Squiggle was fascinated watching them…

southend 06.07 (14)

 

We love Verulamium park. Lots to do in this massive beautiful parkland including feed the ducks (duck food can be puchased from Inn On The Park cafe), let off steam in the play area and cool down in the splash park (again too many other people in the background of our pictures to publish them!) There are also tennis courts, football pitches, an outdoor gym and Roman remains. http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-green-space/parks/Verulamium-Park/

verulamium 07.06 (2)

 

Wick nature reserve in St Albans is a hidden gem for us. Popular with dog walkers and families alike but this place never seems to get very busy as many locals don’t even know about it! There is a little play area, small woods and green space. Great place to go exploring!

wick woodland walk 22.07 (4)

 

Having lived in St Albans for most of my life, this local recreation ground on Sherwood Avenue had remained secret from us until this summer.

sherwood park 31.07 (5)

 

Fleetville park in St Albans has recently been refurbished in the section aimed at older children and also now has an outdoor gym.

20130903_102152

 

 

Cassiobury park in Watford has a lot to offer. A paddling pool area with three large paddling pools (one heated), a lovely playground, miniature train (£1) and river walks (also good for paddling and watching canal boats).

 

 

 

And of course plenty of opportunities to splash around in the paddling pool at home…

grandad birthday 29.07 (3)

 

 

Last but not least, this does not technically belong on this post as it is not a park (nor a place to paddle) but the indoor beach at Centre: MK (throughout August only) was definitely worth a visit to.

indoor beach mk 04.08 (4)