Monday, 26 January 2015

'M' week - back to school

This week we did some really fun activities based on the letter 'M'. Some were ideas I found on Pinterest and worked really well. (For not so successful Pinterest attempts, pop back for N week soon!)

Moon rabbit

This is one of Williams favourite books. It always reminds me of his grandma Linda. I think she bought it for him and has read it many times!mits quite a sweet little story and I like the sketchy illustrations. To go with the book, we made a mosaic moon collage. I set William up with a foil circle glued onto some black paper and armed him with lots of paper squares and a glue stick. He really enjoys sticking so he loved doing this collage. He randomly decided it needed some washi tape squares too, I love his creativity! This activity can be modified for different shapes and prompts talk about colours too.

Milk marbling

Now I used to do this little activity when I was working as a primary science technican, travelling around the primary and infant schools. The kids always loved it. I think because it is so simple and it was something they could do at home easily with their parents. 

Simply pour a little milk in a dish so it covers the bottom. Add a few drops of food colouring, but make sure they are not touching. Then using a pipette or a straw, drip a little washing up liquid into the puddles of food colouring. Almost instantly the colour will spread out and create a marvellous marbled effect! Use the straw or a stick to mix the washing liquid into the colouring. William enjoyed doing this bit the most! We did try to use the milk mixture to marble some paper but it wasn't massively successful. I was however using normal white printer paper, maybe something a bit more substantial would have worked better. 

Foot print motor bike

Good old foot prints! Hand and foot prints can be used for soooo many things! We have done a few in our time. This one is particularly special as it is for Williams grandad who is motor bike crazy and always loves to take William for a sit on his when we are there visiting. A quick google search will provide you with tons of hand and footprint uses if motor bikes aren't your thing! 

Marvelous monsters

If you can manage to get the milk marbling to work on paper, then this would be a great way to use it!  Let your child do some fab painting or colouring then cut it out into a monster shape. Add some googly eyes to finish it off. We are using this one in a card for grandma and grandad to welcome them back to dubai. 

Monsters is a great theme for kids. It is so broad and there are many creative ways to make them. William also painted a toilet roll tube and turned it into a monster by adding more googly eyes and some crazy pipe cleaner hair. 

Thanks for popping by for our rounds of M week!

'L' week - back to school

Welcome back! I am slowly catching up with our letter of the week activity posts, so here comes another one... L week was good fun! There are tons of options for L week as there are loads of fun letter activities online or on Pinterest. Here is a round up of the ones we had a go at.

Letter hunt

Grandma Linda gave William a fab letter puzzle for his birthday. He loves playing with it and just that alone keeps him busy for quite a while! Now as William (and most kids I imagine) likes to play with trucks and cars, I thought this would interest him... 

I scattered the letters around the rug and gave William a truck. I told him which letter I would like him to find for me and he went off on a hunt, pushing his truck around the carpet to find it. William found some of the letters easily, especially ones that seem to have sunk in while doing our letter of the week activities, but he found some harder. This will come as he gets older I'm sure. It was a fun activity that meant he could move and scrawl around rather than just sitting at a table the whole time and with each time we play it he gets better at finding the letters.

You could change this up by having your kids search for shapes, or animals, or colours, etc. whatever it is you want to focus on.

What the Ladybird heard

L week would not be complete without a lady bird. William loves the Julia Donaldson books. We have read what the lady bird heard, many, many times! This version is particularly good because it has the sound buttons to go with each animal. 

For our lady bird craft, I drew a simple outline of a lady bird and had William paint it. While he was painting it, I cut out ten circles out of black paper and wrote numbers on them, 1 to 10. I then armed him with a glue stick and asked him to stick on the spots in number order. He did really well up to about 8 then struggled slightly with the last few but not bad! It was a great activity for reading and recognising numbers. I will definitely do this again, here are a few other versions you could try. 

- sticking spikes on a dinosaur
- using numbered circles to make a catapillar
- numbered train track or road pieces
- apples in a tree
- carrots (or other veg) growing in the ground
- petals on a flower

When you get thinking there is actually lots of options. If your child is a bit older lu could do the same with letters of the alphabet.


William always loves doing random collages and colouring too. I drew an "L" on a piece of paper and gave him some stickers of Lions and bit of wool and googly eyes for a rather basic and strange looking lion collage. He also practiced writing the letter L too. Then went a bit mad with some stamp pens that had nothing to do with the letter at all. Hehe... Kids.

So how are you getting on with your letter activities? I would love to see any you have done!

Monday, 19 January 2015

'K' week - back to school

I'm afraid k week was cut short by our trip to the UK for Christmas. (Whoa I am sooo late actually writing up these letter weeks!) However, we did manage to do a few cool things! It just so happened that during our 'k' week, there was an awesome display of flags at dubai's Kite beach. 

Kite beach has been developed fairly recently and it now has some awesome recreational areas to explore. We had a walk along the sandy beach and ran around inbetween the flags. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes around and I am sure we will go back soon to try one out. William loves the beach but for some reason we don't go much. I think it's partly the thought of getting all sandy and messy. I hear there is a kite competition coming soon to kite beach so we will try to get down there for that!

K for kite

Speaking of kites.. I think this was an obvious choice for k week. We started by painting a letter k and adding a little paper kite. We did make a kite but it wasn't very windy when we tested it and didn't work very well.. Hence no pictures.

Spot the letters

I tried a new activity with William this week. I found a poem about a Kookabura that featured a lot of k's. I then gave William a stamping pen and asked him to put a stamp on all the k's he could see. It worked really well, and with some encouragement William got the hang of it and managed to stamp them all. I will definitely try this again with other letters. It's a great way of getting William to look at the words and letters and listen while I am reading to him. 

Key hunt

We also went on a key hunt. I challenged William to find as many keys as he could in our appartment. As he found each one, I helped him to trace around each key onto a piece of paper. Each key came out a different shape and size, and slightly wobbly as William was in charge of the pencil! It was a short activity that required no planning what so ever but William got quite excited each time he found a key. Simple things! 

Crafting a crown for a King

This was an activity that I have done before with William and we used the crown as a gift for his dad for his birthday. William loved doing it so I thought why not try again! This is a fun activity for kids as you can pretty much let them go wild with paints, stickers, sequins, and anything else they can get their hands on! Simply cut out a crown shape and attach a band to fit around their head. Alternatively, if you have any left over Christmas cracker paper hats just use them!

P.s. Make sure you make the band for the crown just the right size, too big and this may happen...  :D

Friday, 16 January 2015

Posh Paws animal sanctuary

How has your week been? Done anything exciting? We had a mixture of a week, friends visiting, football training and lots of walks to the park. As hubby was away camping with school for a few days, I decided to take William somewhere new. 

We popped along to Posh Paws animal sanctuary. It is located near mushrif park, here in Dubai. It has a small petting zoo that you can wonder around and the little ones can see some different animals. It does not deserve its name of "posh paws" at all. It is kind of bizarre, bit dirty, few flies buzzing around you and you feel like you have wondered in to someone's private animal holding. 

However, it is cheap (20 aed adults, 10 aed child) and cheerful. There are plenty of animals roaming around for the kids to pet, like goats, chickens, ducks and ostrich.... Yep, two ostriches! 

 We enjoyed our time there, we only stayed for about an hour. You can take some veg to feed the animals, kids can have a pony ride for an extra 20 aed and it's great to see some animals close up. Some a little too close up for my liking haha. 

All the animals have been rescued or rehabilitated. They all looked healthy and happy, except for one dodgy looking chicken. I wouldn't advise taking very young children as there are so many animals roaming around the paths. If you are looking to kill some time for an hour or so and your kids like animals then give it a go!

Posh paws animal sanctuary 

Click here for posh paws website

A rainbow of cuddles

I have been dying to show you the last two blankets I made and I can finally do it! I had made them as gifts for two special couples who are expecting their first babies this year. So now I have given them to them I can show you some pictures. 

The first one is for my big brother and his wife who are so excited to be expecting their little bundle in March. I used a granny stripe pattern and some gorgeously super soft, microfibre yarn. It is so cuddly and will be delicate enough for new babies skin. I am soooooo excited about this baby and can't wait to meet it next summer when I go back to the UK next.

The second blanket is for my best work friend. She is so funny and a wonderful person. I was working with her in the UK when I was pregnant for William and she was always so helpful and managed to make me laugh and smile when I was feeling tired, fat and heavy!  This baby is due in May. I used a circle in a square pattern for this blanket, and a scalloped shell edging.

As both couples have not found out the sex of the babies, I went for a mix of bright rainbow colours that would be suitable for boys or girls.

I really enjoyed making these blankets. The colours are so cheerful and the yarn is so soft! It is a bit more expensive than the yarn I usually use but it is so worth it! And these babies deserve something special! I am so excited for my brother and my friend, and part of me is a little gutted that I won't be there in the UK to see the babies as brand new borne! But I will see them in the summer, and over skype I am sure! 

I have fallen in love with this yarn, so i am looking out for other excuses to use it! 😉

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy new year!

Happy new year everyone! 

I hope you have had a great few weeks celebrating Christmas and new year with your friends and families. We went back to the UK for the Christmas holidays and had a blast seeing all our family again. Time seemed to go so quickly but it was lovely to go back. 

It was also nice to come back home to Dubai after too! When we arrive back and leave the airport, I look around at the passing scenery a little differently now. It is feeling more like home. I know where I'm going, I love it here, and we are so happy living our expat life here! 

I just had a scroll back to my New Years post last year. I posted four aims for the year and thought I'd see how I've done! 

1. Be more creative. I have succeeded pretty well with this one! I have made quite a few blankets for people this year, new babies mainly! I will post the photos soon of those! I have a few ideas of things I'd like to make this year. Again, some are for new babies of friends and family. I have also been creative in baking too, trying new recipes and trying to get fruit and veg into William where I can!

2. Explore. We have certainly done that over the year! We have been to many places in dubai, as a family and with friends and parents. We even managed to fit in a holiday to the maldives in October! That was truely amazing! As we have parents visiting in February and at Easter, I am sure we will be trying out some new places with them, and some old favourites! 

3. Get more active. Well the jury is still out on this one. (Not out running that's for sure). At the beginning of the year I went out each week with a group of ladies to go for walks and jogs around our complex. It went well and I enjoyed meeting other mums and getting some exercise. Then the summer in dubai hit and I just found it too hot. I did manage to get some lengths in at the pool where I could. I think being active and exercising is going to be an ongoing battle with myself. We will see how this goes! 

4. Be more positive. I haven't written anything negative on my social media, but then again I always tried not to anyway. In general I think I have done ok at this. When things annoy me or wind me up, I am trying to put a positive spin on it. E.g. When William is having an afternoon where all he seems to do is wind me up, I remind myself that this time is precious and it won't be long til he is at school and then I will miss him. 

For me, these four aims are broad enough that I will keep them for this year too. I love trying new places in Dubai and sharing my experiences on my blog. I'm also loving being creative with William, enjoying our special time together for the next 8 months before he starts nursery school. 

Have you got any goals for the year ahead? Did you manage to complete any you set last year? I'd love to hear from you!