Children love to be active – so let them!

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I have been personally working with a Virtual fitness trainer Debbielucas from mum plus one to help increase my fitness levels for the last 3/4 weeks.
I have found her service fab, so I have asked her to do me a little write up for family fitness etc. Here you are.

Children love to be active – so let them!

Did you know that most children would rather take part in physical activities than any other activity?  According to research findings from Bailey 1999a and 1999b physical activity play is the first to appear and the most frequent expression of play in infants.  They also found that children would rather succeed in physical activities than in classroom work.
When your children are running around being “wild” do you ever stop to consider the benefits other than the fact that it wears them out?  For instance, being physically competent influences social acceptance in children.  It can also contribute to physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Physical activity can help children develop an emotional awareness of themselves and others as they learn to interact and work together through play and sports.  They have the opportunity to feel a sense of pride and achievement and learn how to approach new experiences.  It’s also an excellent way of improving concentration levels, self-confidence and communication skills.
Physiologically there are numerous benefits, as there are with adults who exercise.  For instance, improving bone growth and density, promoting healthy growth and development of muscular-skeletal and cardiorespiratory systems, reduced risk of coronary heart disease and development of coordination and motor skills.  These are all fairly well known facts but what about other benefits such as improving cognitive functioning whereby movement helps the organisation of spatial information which can lead to later improvements in maths and language abilities.
So what’s stopping children from achieving all of this?  There are lots of factors coming into play but here are some of the main ones:
Parents!
  • We have a tendency to want our children to sit quietly so we can.
  • We usually don’t exercise as much as we should, if at all.  Children pick up on this.  You are a role model and they emulate your behaviour.  If you don’t do any physical activities it doesn’t encourage them to either.
  • Our attitude isn’t always very supportive towards our children being active because it means we might have to get involved or take them out to a group somewhere.
  • Parents are busier than ever these days and don’t always have time to run around with their children or take them out.
  • Lack of awareness of body shape in adults and children.  The British Medical Journal reported that only a quarter of parents recognised that their child was overweight.  Even when the child was obese, 33% of mothers and 57% of fathers saw their child’s weight as ‘about right’ (Jeffery, 2005).
Nutrition
  • There’s no escaping the junk food that’s out there but parents should learn to limit it and be responsible for what your children are eating.  Poor diet at an early age usually leads to poor diet when they are older.
  • Your child won’t take part in activities if they are uncomfortable either physically or socially.
Screen time
  • Children now have a multitude of gadgets available to them from a very early age, which is great for learning possibilities, but terrible for physical activity.  Children spend too long in front of a screen being incredibly sedentary.
Older siblings
  • We’ve probably all done it.  Made sure that the older sibling gets to go to clubs and activity sessions or to play with friends because they need the entertainment and the younger one is side-lined because you tell yourself that they’ll get to do all of that when they are older too.
So what can we, as parents, do to help our children be more active and reap all these wonderful rewards?  It’s easy!  Encourage them.  Give them opportunities.  Let them run around with their friends regularly even if they don’t go to structured sessions.  Activity doesn’t have to cost money, your kids can be creative and make up their own games if you let them or help them along.  You just need to give them the time and space to do it.
Don’t forget, you can always get involved and play with them too, they’ll love you for it!  You’ll get some amazing family-fun time and can all get fit and healthy together.  So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and have a go!
mum plus 1
Mum plus One (pre/postnatal and mummy fitness)

Easter millionaire shortbread

Creme eggs, chocolate, shortbread and caramel….yummy.

When I was a child I remember going to butchers with my dad and if been good we used to share a slice of millionaire short bread…

Looking at my newsfeeds this week I saw creme egg short bread and just had to make…and my goodness they are delicious and a lot easier to make the caramel than I ever expected.

I orginally got the recipe from Kerry cooks but made slight personal preference changes, so here is how I made.

Stage 1: Shortbread

6oz soft butter,

6oz plain flour,

1 1/2 oz caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

I creamed the butter and sugar together then added the vanilla essence and slowly folded in the flour, to make a dough.

I greesed 15 muffin tins, (I used silicone mounds) made my dough into 15 balls and flattened into the base of the tin. Then cooked for 20mintties at 180^C. These must then be left to cool, I left in fridge for good 45minutes.

Stage 2: Caramel centres.

397g condensed milk ( normal sized tin)

5 1/2 oz caster sugar

5 1/2 oz unslated butter

Mix and melt all three ingredients over a low heat. Once melted together bring up heat to medium, constantly stirring, the mixture with thicken and turn a golden brown colour, this can take a good 10-15mintues ( be careful it does not burn). Too high heat will boil, keep heat medium. Once thickened like a thick gravy, remove from heat. I added staright onto of shortbread as were straight from fridge. Smooth all caramel to cover all of the shortbread.

Stage 3: chocolate tops

3 1/2oz milk chocolate

4oz plain chocolate

3creme eggs

combine and melt chocolate slowly to your preferred method, (microwave or pan) add to top of caramel and smooth.

I placed the Creme eggs in fridge once bought, then remove and chop or crush and place on top the chocolate. Leave to child at least 2 hours.

Stage 4: Enjoy

Once chilled for at least 2 hours pop from muffin tins and enjoy….took me right back to my childhood.

 

 

Our day at Lower Drayton Farm trip

Lambing event

During half term we were invited to Lower Drayton farm Lower Drayton farmfor there lambing event, thank you to Sara from FYI families FYIFamilies.

Well where do I start, my two love animals… We went with a little girl I childmind…

Lower Drayton farm is just off junction 13 off the M6,  head West toward Penkridge on the A449, turning in between the big farm signs. The children loved the bumpy road, when they say on website a working farm 100% true there, hehe.

The main attraction is based on the farm land, car park is a field. The reception and shop is a little cabin, with small cafe attached.

The farm opens up, with play area including cars, little trikes, zip wire and small animals ducks etc to the right, ahead to the right is a park area with climbing farm and an old fire engine (children’s best part of the park).

To the left is a enclosed area where there were pregnant sheep and mums and lambs. A few pens with pigs, piglets, and  goats. The baby lambs for feeding were in another cabin opposite the goats.

We joined the feeding at just the right time, the staff feeding were brilliant, they made sure each child who wanted to was able to feed one of the older lambs. The children were able to hold the bottle themselves and the staff watched to check lambs were not taken too much. Within here there were some smaller lambs, the children asked if they could feed these, the staff spoke to the children about these lambs being young and needed to be taught how to feed so were able to support the staff in feeding, this was brill for the children as visited other farms and not able to be so hands on. While this staff member was support feeding with the children and other member brought one the older lambs for the children to pet and was very open to questions the children had. We spend a while here, asking questions and watching the lambs, feed and sleep.

We then took a walk around the nature trail, found bug hotels, wild birds, turkeys, fairy toadstools… The children’s imagination was going crazy, the stories they told each other as we walked was brilliant and all due to the surrounding inspiring their minds. We then walked back for picnic time. We had pur picnic in car due to been cold but plenty outdoor picnic spaces and cafe.

After picnic, we headed to the park, climbing, swinging, zipping and a great adventure on the fire engine, the children took turns being the driver and fire fighters, going on many jobs. While we were waiting for the tractor ride the children were able to use the larger go-carts, and see some of the other smaller animals by this track.

We ended our day with the tractor trailer ride. His ride really gave us a sense of how big the farm is and how much is actually going on behind the ‘commercial scene’. The tour takes you into two of the farms fields and through the cow shed where we were able to see some young calfs, the diggers doing daily jobs (my son loved the digger). We were told due to the season a little less to see so the ride was mainly based around the animals, until crops were growing where would be told more, so was great to see them adapt to the season.

In the first field, we got to meet some horses, pints, imus and lamas. The guy told us all about there feed, then animals and further plans, he knew the animals well and made sure each were able to feed as well as going around the trailer so all could see and even be able to stroke the horse.

Then off to the next feild to see some more cows, again our guide was well well informed and told us loads about the bread of cows, lifestyle, breaking, food and that clowns can swim… I never knew that. The cows were over the stream he was able to call them to feed and get them close for us all to see, open to questions and told us lots again.

The trailer ride lasted a good 30minutes and very informative. A great way to end our trip. Along with a final visit to the pregnant sheep, where my daughter asked the gentle man loads more questions about when they babies would be born, how many etc. He was great, one of the sheep were in labour but still be a waiting game, so he said he would take some videos for us to see the following day is mum had her lambs. Low and behold my daughter was getting me to constantly check the farms facebook page and loved it the following day when we spotted the video of the new lambs.

a full day out with lots to do, warmer sling days and possible Autumn months be a great day out there as trailer ride will show off more of how this working farm is really good and helping kids to understand more about animals, flowers and crops.

 

 

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Large scale mark making

Every child loves to make marks.

what child does not like to draw and make marks. I look after children rangin from 18months to 10years.

Each and every child loves to draw. I have a chalk wall in out play den, chalk board out in the garden and the children have access to pens, pencils, paper as and when they like.

Over the half term we decided to go large scale…one spare wall, a roll of lining paper, and box of pen… 2hours of content laying and creating.

I drew form ‘frames’ on the paper and left open spaces too… All children loved this.

We had creations from televisions and remotes and their favourite to cartoon. To a picture frame and a self portrait. A cookies and a favourite meal on a circle.

the youngest child loves to explore the marks she made and had fun learning how to take off pen lids and replace them.

This have been a great way to display the children’s creations and give space and time to add more to them. It’s still up a week later and children are using it as a great way to aid conversation between each other on what they created.

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Dream catcher making…

Recently my 6 year Daughter has been having some bad dreams.

A Friend suggested a dream catcher, well could I find one I liked the look of..I remember having on as a child too.

So why not within the school holidays create our own.. And it was a great chilled activity. So simple to do and less than £4 to make, I showed the children some images and how they can be used… There orgins and uses. The children loved the idea especially when they can catch good dreams but let out the bad ones…via https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamcatcher

Find out here how to make you own, simple, effective, calming and great conversation making activity.

You will need: 

Paper plates (traditionally willow hoop),

String or wool

Beads, feathers to decorate

Hole punch

 

How to create…

  1. Cut the centre out of the plate to create a circle. Punch holes into the inner circle (make as many as you want, more holes further threading, with my 3year old some had 8 holes, daughter 12)
  2. Then tread your wool, between holes, top to bottom, side to side. This will create a web effect. Beads can be treated on as you go.
  3. Once happy with you web, tide off the ends.
  4. We made holes on bottom to create some down decorations, where beads we added again.
  5. Dream catcher created… Hand by child’s bed and allow the dreams to flow.

 

 

 

Networking mummies uk. Finalist

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I can can believe it… My business is just 16 months old and I have been finalised for yet another award, Small business of the year via networking mummies.

I started my business due to becoming a single mum and unable to find appropriate childcare around my area and my work pattern and access with the children’s Dad.

I decided that families do not work traditional 9-5 Monday to Friday, based off my own experiences. Private nurseries would not accommodate shift patterns or would but would have to pay full time places but only access part time… Financially I was loosing out big style. Yes I was loving being back at work for the social side but when I was spending more time with other people’s children, not being able to take and pick up my daughter from school, see sorts days etc.. I decided things needed to change…

In October 2014 I took the leap and left my secure job, removed my children from the nursery they attended and set up my own childminding services that would be able to accommodate shift workiers, night workers, ad hoc childcare, weekend, late collection and early starts.

I was amazed by the response needed for this type of childcare. I now have 5regular families accessing myself and 6 on the books for holiday and ad hoc childcare. Each families has fees, days, times etc suited to their needs not mine. I open from 6am until 6:30pm, avilable 7days a week…

To get recignised again within 5months for my business us amazing… Here are some of the words recieved…

A very flexible childcare service, school runs, weekends and overnight childcare, unsocial hours as well as daytime care. Stephanie is very creative and the service she provides is caring, exciting, creative, with outdoor as well as indoor activities. She encourages individualism as well as providing a safe environment for the children to flourish. Her home and garden is a testament to the development of the child, where a range of activities are provided as well as craft the children have created being on display. She encourages the children with their home work as well as developing their social and communication skills. Stephanie\’s paramount concern is the child, her flexible approach and times meets the modern day workplace conditions, parents can depend on her if they are late for pick up, or need an emergency arrangements made and shift patterns.”

How do you/they stand out from the crowd?: “Stephanie saw a niche in the market for more flexible childcare, she has worked hard to establish herself by providing a bespoke service that fits in with parents needs. She provides a positive environment for the children to develop, working to Ofsted guidelines and putting the needs of parents and children above her own. Stephanie stands out from the crowd by being herself she not only child minds, but has good links with her local community and has worked hard to provide information to parents through a variety of media of different clubs, activities etc that is available to them.”

Stephanie has had to overcome a number of personal barriers as well as financial barriers to come this far. However, she is an inspiration to friends and family in the way she has applied herself, picked herself up and carried on even when things were stacked against her.”

Stephanie offers childcare at a bare minimum for upto 6 children per day and does’t allow the ever changing economic demands affect her pay structure…Stephanie endured a divorce while starting out in childcare but continued to build her businesses under enormous stress”

How do you/they stand out from the crowd?: “Stephanie also juggles a second business which after a long day continues into the night promoting and marketing and really asserts her efforts to making them both a success”

Please see blog, Bizmums awards for alternate views from oct 2015. https://stephschildmindingservicesstone.wordpress.com/2015/09/