Monday, 28 October 2013

Windy Day

Stormy weather was predicted today, so we decided to have a wind themed day! We started off by watching the weather forecast together on the BBC website. We located where we live on the map of the United Kingdom. Following that, we shared together the book Me on the Map.
Looking in an old Ladybird book we have on the Weather, we discovered how wind speeds are measured using an anemometer, and we made a very simplified version of our own by sewing lengths of ribbon onto a piece of fabric and attaching it to the washing line! Throughout the day the children checked how much the ribbons were blowing and tried to work out the wind force on the Beaufort scale.
We then read together the from the Bible the stories of Jesus calming the storm and God speaking to Elijah after the wind, fire and earthquake.
Using straws the children blew watered down paint, which when dry we...
...laminated and made into windmills.
We read together Postman Pat's Rainy Day
which gave Nathanael and Tabitha some inspiration for writing their own new story entitled "Postman Pat's Windy Day."
Tabitha's handwriting practise today was based on storm vocabulary
whilst Nathanael wrote an acrostic poem about the wind.
Wild, whistling wind.
Inside we stay, out of the wind's way.
Noisy nights, lots of frights.
Destroying trees, foaming seas,
Wild, whistling wind.
We finished the day with a trip to the park to splash in the puddles.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Autumn Activities - Part One

Over the last month, while we have been out and about, we have been spotting signs of autumn and collecting conkers, acorns and apples.
In our Bible time, to tie in with our autumn activities, we have started to learn God's promise from Genesis 8:22 " While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
We talked about the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees and the changing colours of the leaves. Our first autumn based art activity was colour mixing. I gave each child a palette of the three primary colours, and we experimented by mixing them in different ways to try and create oranges and browns and different shades of red and yellow.
When each child was happy with their autumn colours, they painted onto a sheet of leaves.
Finger painted autumn leaves
 Using sticky back plastic and collage materials, the children made some sun catchers to brighten up our kitchen windows...
...and a simple sewing project.

To supplement our art and craft, we are currently working on some autumn literacy activities - to be shared at a later date!
"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22

Friday, 18 October 2013

Paddington's Guide to Stockport

The story of Paddington is a favourite in our house and when Nathanael saw this book at the library last week, he was keen to borrow it.
Inspired by reading about Paddington visiting the sights of London, Nathanael decided to write his own version, entitled "Paddington's Guide to Stockport."

Front cover
So with Paddington in tow, we went on a tour around some of the sights of Stockport.
We started off at the tourist information centre, picking up some leaflets and maps to use in the making of the book.
Paddington enjoying the market stall at Stockport Story Museum.
Paddington outside St Mary's Church
Paddington enjoying toasted tea cakes with us at the Historic Market Hall!
Nathanael was very keen to make sure that his book was in keeping with the original, copying the style and format of the pages.
"Since arriving in Stockport I was bear friended by Nathanael. He has taken me on lots of outings.
In fact I love Stockport!"
 He hasn't quite finished making the book yet as we have a few more sights to show Paddington, including the Air Raid Shelters, Hat Works and Staircase House.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Days out with children in and around Manchester

 I have been meaning to write a post for a while about our favourite family days out in and around Manchester, North West England. We are very blessed to have many free museums and galleries in our area, and lots of interesting places to see. Here are some of our favourites...
The Museum of Science and Industry (free entry, parking charges) is a lovely day out; a fantastic interactive gallery to explore, working steam house and air and space hall. From here you get a good view of Beetham Tower, the tallest tower in Manchester and home to the Hilton Hotel. 
Manchester City Art Gallery (free entry, parking charges) is a lovely gallery to wander round with the children. It has a mix of paintings through the ages and some contemporary pieces, which stimulates discussion! It also has a hands on, interactive gallery linking with various works of art in the galleries. We usually combine this visit with lunch at Chinatown which is nearby.

Our children love the Museum of Transport, (children are free but adults are charged £4 each.) It's run by enthusiastic volunteers and houses a large collection of vintage buses and trams. You are welcome to climb aboard some of the vehicles.

Although The Manchester Museum is not our favourite museum in Manchester, as some of the artefacts are too high up for our young children to see, it is currently undergoing a modernisation programme and we thoroughly enjoyed their recently reopened Ancient Worlds Exhibition.

Next door to Manchester is the City of Salford which has also has some fantastic museums.  Our favourite is Ordsall Hall, (free entry, parking charge) a Tudor Manor House, a gem in the middle of a Salford housing estate. Lots of clothes to try on and children are welcome to touch!

Salford Museum and Art Gallery (free entry, car parking charges) has a reconstructed Victorian Street to explore complete with optional costumes to help recreate the atmosphere. 

The Imperial War Museum North at Salford Quays (free entry, car parking charges), is another of our family favourites. It has a viewing platform (not for the faint hearted!) where you can see the sights across Manchester. We often combine this with a walk along the Quays and a quick visit to The Lowry Gallery where you can see work by Manchester artist L.S Lowry. The Lowry Shopping Outlet is a nice stop for a coffee.

Legoland Discovery Centre (charges apply!) is another favourite for a special treat. You can save quite a bit of money by booking online and avoiding school holidays. It is housed at the Trafford Centre, which is an interesting place to explore and have some lunch. Next door to Legoland Discovery Centre is a brand new Sealife Centre which we haven't visited yet. We are saving that for the next birthday outing!

City Airport (free, no parking charges!) is not as well known as Manchester Airport, but we think it is a gem. You can get up really close to the small aircrafts and helicopters and watch them land and take off.

At a later date I intend to follow up this post with more family favourites around Stockport, Cheshire and Ashton.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Science Unit - Water - Weeks 1-4

When the children were younger, there was a superb interactive museum in Ashton which we visited regularly called Waterworks. It explained beautifully all about water and it would have been a perfect learning experience for this project. Sadly due to all the cuts the local councils are making, it has closed down. We did however visit the Museum of Science and Industry a few weeks ago on a family day and got to see some working water and stream powered engines. Taking inspiration from that, we then carried out a very simple experiment at home; we boiled water in the kettle and took the lid off to see the steam. The children could see water turn from a liquid (that could be poured) into a gas (that has no particular shape and flows).

 We found out about the characteristics of particles in solids, liquids and gases.
The children here being a solid (particles tightly pressed together and standing very still!)
 and they drew them in their books.
We discussed the ways in which we use water...
And carried out a few more science experiments.
Two ice cubes were left out of the freezer. We added salt to one. The children watched to see which ice cube melted the fastest. It was the one with the salt added, and we then talked about why salt grit is used on the roads in winter.
The children chose some items to wrap ice cubes up in; newspaper, plastic, tin foil and sponge cloth. One was left without any wrapper. The children kept checking to see what was happening. The quickest to melt was the unwrapped ice cube, followed by tin foil, newspaper, plastic and the best insulator was the sponge cloth.
 I have lots more exciting experiments and activities planned, I feel we have barely scratched the surface. If you have any more ideas of activities or resources, please leave them in the comments below.