In Nottingham!

We got back from our week in Scarborough on Friday and we’ll be staying in Nottingham for the next 3 weeks.  The girls and I always love coming here. As for HE, I’ve been directing them towards certain activities rather than letting them roam free while they’re here.  So far they’ve loved what we’ve done and it’s good for me because I can start to feel my way around how best to approach their learning and they can get used to me directing them more.

So what have we done?  Well… first the girls made cakes with Grandma!  M did the weighing and then they both shared the mixing, icing and eating.  Grandma bought some lovely fairy cake toppers from Lakeland so they led to a little imaginative game too.

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Then M finished her cross-stitching…

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…and started on a new design.  This time she is planning her design on graph paper I printed out from stitchpoint.com.  She’s drawn a very intricate border so it’s going to be a long-term project.

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D started her cross stitch a good while ago and was very pleased to get hers finished this morning.  She was surprisingly good at it for a 4 year old, and quickly got some speed going with her stitches.  What really surprised me though was her perseverance: she didn’t have a flop when she got into difficulties and stuck at it for an hour or two!  Plus, it was the first thing she asked to do when she came down this morning, so there we were at 6am, sewing away until she got it finished at 7.30.

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It was soooo quiet: I was doing HE planning on my laptop while D silently sewed.  Everyone else was in bed.  So I put some gentle music on and then started to think about other things we could be listening to while we sewed.  I ended up downloading a Nutcracker album which has a little explanation of what’s happening in between each scene.  The girls are a little familiar with The Nutcracker from dancing to it at Grandma & Granddad’s house and we have an Ella Bella Ballerina Nutcracker book which they both like. I thought this album could build on what they already know, so we’ll have to see how successful it is!

Just to backtrack a bit to yesterday, Grandma and I took the girls to Wollaton Hall for a run around.  By chance there were a few activities being run by the RSPB.  First the girls made a butterfly feeder, it involved quite a bit of colouring in so we encouraged M to spend a bit more time on finishing it at home – you can see them in the picture below.  Then we went down to the lake to do a bit of pond netting.  Luckily a guy there was very knowledgeable and showed M (D wasn’t interested) these tiny creatures hidden in the scum he’d netted out of the lake.  Ewwww.  Glad he was there – the bugs and things were so tiny we wouldn’t have spotted anything.

Then we walked back to the RSPB activity tables and the girls made a dragonfly out of pipe-cleaners and beads and a dial that helps you to identify butterfly species.  After that we did a bit of running around and the girls had a go on a bouncy castle.  They were pooped so then we went home.

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Today we looked after MD who immediately set to on a game of chess with M!  They both had only a rough idea of the rules of the game (Granddad gave M an introduction yesterday)  so I sat with them and helped.  I don’t think I’ve played chess since 1981 so I was a bit rusty but they both did really well and the game went on for quite some time without either of them getting bored.  Once that game finished, M asked for another game so she had a quick bit of lunch and then I played with her for another 2 HOURS!!  We had everyone crowded round the board by the end, all chipping in with ideas as to how M could get my King and she ended up winning!  I’m hoping to get M on a 3 day chess course next month so that she can get a better grasp of it than I can give her.  She definitely has a chess brain.

While this game was going on, D ranged between wanting to join in (she learnt a few of the pieces’ names) to wandering off because she was bored.  She also spent quite a bit of time doing Reading Eggs with Grandma’s help – she’s now on level 3!

The rest of the day has been spent mooching, playing, sewing and watching films.  M has been awake until 9pm the last few nights so I have just suggested to her that she has a later bedtime with the proviso that I don’t wait up with her until she falls asleep.  The past 3/4 months she’s been wretched when I tried to go downstairs, I think it was to do with all the anxiety from school.  So we’ll see how successful I am tonight…. watch this space.

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