Easter egg hunts are a lovely way to celebrate Easter Sunday and great fun for children of all ages. You don’t need to spend a fortune – you can pick up little chocolate eggs and plastic eggs (in which to hide little treats) really cheaply at supermarkets and pound shops. You don’t even need special baskets – any little baskets, buckets or bags will do. You could even get the children to decorate some paper bags before they start.

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Before you start

It’s always good to set a few ground rules before you start the hunt to ensure things are kept fair. Try the following:

  • Create a base and ask each child to return to it once they have collected 5 eggs. They should stay there until all the children have returned before setting out again. That way you can ensure they all get the same amount of eggs.
  • If you have a large group of children, pair the younger ones up with the older ones. Small children can be overwhelmed by older kids so it works better if they can work in teams.
  • Rules on chocolate consumption are essential (unless you want a garden/house full of hyper children!) so make sure they have a clear understanding of how much they can eat. A few eggs once the hunt has finished is perfectly acceptable and the rest can be taken home for them to eat over the Easter holidays.
  • Overall, an Easter egg hunt should be fun and enjoyable for everyone so set rules you know will work according to the ages and needs of the children involved. Just simple things like sharing, taking turns and being patient can make all the difference to how things run.

Easter Hunt Ideas

  • Go to the woods

Head for the woods and make Easter egg hunts even more exciting in the great outdoors. Hide little Easter eggs or treats all around. You can use clues to lead them from one egg to the next or simply let them roam free and collect as many eggs as possible.

  • Active treasure hunt

Set up different ‘activity posts’ around the garden or park that ask the children to complete various physical challenges before they start searching for more eggs. They could include star jumps, running up and down a path, doing a silly dance.

  • Colour coded hunt

Wrap little eggs and treats in different coloured tissue paper and then give each child a colour. Hide the treats all round the house, garden or park and the children must hunt them  – only taking treats in their colour to pop in their baskets.

  • Pirate treasure hunt

Why not mix things up a bit with a pirate theme to grab their attention? Lay out a special map on the ground and let them use it to find the ‘hidden treasure’. You could even make a treasure map to lead the chidlren to their bounty.

There are some great Easter Hunt Baskets, and other goodies available via the below link.

Easter Hunt

Have a fun Easter everyone, don’t eat too many eggs!



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M Day

Some interesting Facts and figures concerning the big day……

  • According to the Flowers & Plants Association, Mother’s Day is the biggest event in the UK’s cut flower and indoor plant industry. At this time of year the UK’s sales of cut flowers and indoor plants increase by an average of 40% on a normal day’s trading.
  • Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year for eating out, so if you want to treat your mum, you had better book a table early!
  • According to the British Retail Consortium around £45 million is spent on Mother’s Day cards with around 30 million cards sent, and around £55 million is spent on chocolates, with around 4 million people buying a box for their Mum.
  • Phone calls increase up to 37% on Mother’s Day.
  • There are approximately 2 billion mothers in the world, with 4 babies born each second.

Why does the date differ from year to year?

Mother’s Day in its present form has its origins in the US and date back to the creation of mother’s groups, whose sons had fought in the Civil War. The origins of the British date are a little more complicated. Some believe that Mother’s Day may have originally derived from a 16th-century practice of visiting the ‘mother church’ – the main church in the region, on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

…..So officially we should be calling it Mothering Sunday, a religious festival occurring on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Mother’s Day is now largely a secular celebration, becoming one of the biggest occasions for gift giving and card sending after Christmas.

 

 

Including classics and contemporary titles, we’re sure these books will become part of your family and they will last forever in yours and your children’s memories. Happy reading! All books are available from Amazon, just click on the image.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (age: Birth – 3 years). 

A must for every house. You’ll find this book popping up at playgroup, reception and Year one …the kids love the predictability of the story and the repetitive text is excellent for encouraging young readers.

Animal Hide and Seek (age: 2-3 years)

The Usborne Animal Hide & Seek book is a lovely introduction to the Farmyard Tales series. All our favourite characters appear in this book. There are lots of touchy feely bits and also big sturdy flaps to lift and find who is hiding. The book also introduces simple counting in a fun way.

Room on the Broom (age: 3-7 years)

A wonderfully illustrated book whose rhyming narrative and repetition make it fantastic for reading aloud. A witch and her cat are flying around on her broomstick; the witch keeps dropping things and encounters several new animal friends along the way who help her find them. They all end up riding on the broom and then disaster strikes and it snaps in two landing the witch in trouble. Her animal friends come to her rescue and with the help of a super magic spell all ends very happily. Highly recommended and not just for Halloween!

Monkey Puzzle (age: 2-7 years)

This is a lovely story with rhyming text, about a little monkey who loses his mum. A helpful butterfly tries to help him find his mum, but unfortunately she doesn’t know what a mummy monkey looks like!

The Gruffalo (age: 3-7 years)

Children’s favourite story about the deep dark wood, a mouse with brains and the gruffalo. A great rhyming story with beautiful illustrations. Easy to read out loud and lots to look for in the beautiful illustrations. Great descriptions of the animals’ favourite foods (‘roasted fox’ and ‘scrambled snake’) and the rhyming text means children can easily join in.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (age: 3-7 years)

A classic for children between the ages of 3 and 5, this book is the simple story of a family who go searching for a bear – and are just a little surprised to find what they’re looking for! But along the way are all kinds of obstacles for them to negotiate – mud, long grass, a river…and then they have to go back the same way while being hotly pursued by the bear.

That’s not my Lion (age: 9m to 5 years)

This is a lovely book for children under two with bold and clear illustrations, strong sturdy pages and lovely feely bits on each page.  It has simple, clear text which is easy for toddlers to remember and ‘read’ themselves. A touchy-feely board book with simple, repetitive text, tactile patches and bold illustrations suitable for babies and toddlers. A little, white mouse appears on every page, searching for his lion.

Have fun reading…….



 

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Children under five years old have an uncanny knack of knowing how to master new technology. From smart phones to tablet computers and game consoles, it is not unusual to see toddlers intuitively swiping screens and confidently pressing buttons.

Even if parents enjoy the momentary peace that comes with handing a small child a gadget to play with, parents secretly worry that this screen time is damaging their brains.

But it appears that screens can be beneficial to learning – and the more interactive the experience the better.
Research from the University of Wisconsin, presented at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development this week, found that children aged between two and three were more likely to respond to video screens that prompted children to touch them than to a video screen that demanded no interaction. The more interactive the screen, the more real it was, and the more familiar it felt from a two-year-old’s perspective, the study suggested.

Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor in human development and family studies, carried out the research and says touch screens could hold educational potential for toddlers.
When she did another test on word learning, the results were repeated.
“Kids who are interacting with the screen get better much faster, make fewer mistakes and learn faster.
“But we’re not turning them into geniuses, just helping them get a little more information.”

Helpful tools
So breathe more easily parents, your toddler is just doing what comes naturally and interacting with the world.
In any case, technology, in the form of phones and tablets, is here to stay. Many primary schools and some pre-schools have introduced iPads into the classroom to facilitate learning. Technology, understanding how things work, and ICT are part of the curriculum.

“I’m not one of those people who think we shouldn’t expose children to mobiles, tablets etc,” says Helen Moylett, president of Early Education, a charity that aims to improve teaching practice and quality for the under-fives.
“They can be really helpful and interesting tools if used in the right place to help us learn – and not all the time, or instead of other things.”

However, her main concern is that parents are not always good role models.
“I see parents texting while they walk. Often they are so plugged into their device that it becomes a barrier to communication with their child.”

A recent study from Stirling University’s school of education found that the family’s attitude to technology at home was an important factor in influencing a child’s relationship with it.
It concluded: “The experiences of three to five-year-olds are mediated by each family’s distinct sociocultural context and each child’s preferences.

“The technology did not dominate or drive the children’s experiences; rather their desires and their family culture shaped their forms of engagement.” Christine Stephen, study author and research fellow at Stirling, says most parents understand the dangers of addiction and passivity, and set up rules on screen time to make sure that children do a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.

Bad habit

But there are other experts in the field who disagree. Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman has regularly said that children are watching more screen media than ever, and that this habit should be curbed because it could lead to addiction or depression.

Lets talk poo and pee! As new parents starting to potty train our 16 month old son (with some dread I may add), I found the help and advice from NHS very useful.

You can try to work out when your child is ready. There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control:

  • they know when they’ve got a wet or dirty nappy
  • they get to know when they’re passing urine and may tell you they’re doing it
  • the gap between wetting is at least an hour (if it’s less, potty training may fail and at the very least will be extremely hard work for you)
  • they know when they need to pee and may say so in advance

Potty training is usually fastest if your child is at the last stage before you start the training. If you start earlier, be prepared for a lot of accidents as your child learns.

How to start potty training

  • Leave a potty where your child can see it and can get to know what it’s for. If you’ve got an older child, your younger child may see them using it, which will be a great help. It helps to let your child see you using the toilet and explain what you’re doing.
  • If your child regularly has a bowel movement at the same time each day, leave their nappy off and suggest that they go in the potty. If your child is even the slightest bit upset by the idea, just put the nappy back on and leave it a few more weeks before trying again.
  • As soon as you see that your child knows when they’re going to pee, encourage them to use their potty. If your child slips up, just mop it up and wait for next time. It takes a while to get the hang of it. If you don’t make a fuss when they have an accident, they won’t feel anxious and worried and are more likely to be successful the next time.
  • Your child will be delighted when he or she succeeds. A little praise from you will help a lot. It can be quite tricky to get the balance right between giving praise and making a big deal out of it, which you don’t want to do. Don’t give sweets as a reward, as that can end up causing more problems. When the time is right, your child will want to use the potty and they will just be happy to get it right.

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/potty-training-tips.aspx#close

This book helped, Pirate Pete did add some fun along the way…click for more info from Amazon.

I know, a potentially controversial topic with no right or wrong answer. For eons Disney has consistently produced adorable and much loved characters for all ages. But as a grown up (in numerical terms!) here is toys4toddlers top 5 Disney characters…..in no particular order.

Baloo.

No one has ever enjoyed a good scratch so much as Baloo. Our favourite bear is an easygoing and fun-loving character who seemingly shirks responsibility. But he comes into his own as Mowgli’s mentor and friend. Highlights will always be those bear necessities…..

Simba

The Lion King almost skipped my generation. As a teenager when it was originally released, it didn’t register on my radar. But as a parent I love it……Simba is the lion cub destined to rule, but has to overcome his sinister uncle who has other ideas!

Olaf

The lovable naive snowman proves himself a valuable sidekick on this epic adventure.

Donald Duck

One of the originals, best known for his semi auditable speech. Along with his side kick Mickey Mouse, Donald’s antics where the forerunner for generations of cartoon makers.

Darth Vader!

Yep, all things Star Wars now belong to Disney.

 

EDIT

How could I not include Genie from Aladdin. Robin Williams at his best.

 

Everyone has a favourite toy shop, but if you need to buy an item that is just released, your best bet is to visit online toyshops. You will be surprised at the amount of choice you have, both in terms of range and price.

We often remember fondly our childhood days when we were allowed by our parents to play in the mud, or kick a football ball, or just use the latest outdoor toy available from the highstreet. It was a time when children found themselves having the same just-released toy, maybe in different colours. Life was wonderful, and children spent most of their playtime outdoors.

It need not be very different now, as many online shops have realised the value of keeping the full range of toys and playing equipment used indoors or outdoors. Parents also like the idea of getting their children out of the house to get some badly-needed exercise.

Some Good Outdoor Toys To Consider

Finding outdoor toys may seem a huge task, especially if you have not taken part in active sports recently. What you considered as the best toy may not be applicable now. When the idea is to get children outside the home, an shop store offers you maximum options.

A team sport may require many players. Children do get the opportunity to take part in their favourite sport in school. However, you can always get them the latest football ball or cleats freely available at toyshops to motivate them further. Bikes have always been a favourite among children, and you will be amazed at the energy they display once they face competition.

Children will try their best to drag you out for a game whether you like it or not. Spend some quality time with them, and you will have control over how your child develops both mentally and physically.

Gardening is a favourite adult hobby, but how do you motivate children to spend time outdoors learning about plants. Connect studies in school with practical lessons in your garden. They will observe how you take care of plants and will soon follow suit. It gives them the chance to spend useful time outside the home.

Indoor Toys Can Be More Educational

Toys that can be used indoors are always more educational in nature. Consider a construction set. Boys are always thrilled at the thought of being able to assemble a crane or a building. It may take hours. They will not show any signs of tiring or losing interest in the activity. The reason is simple. They get the chance to use their hands and assemble a miniature crane or building resembling one they saw outdoors.

Girls would love to emulate their mothers in the kitchen. They can be introduced to the fine art of cooking by giving them a play kitchen set complete with dishes, cutlery, stove, table and chairs. They will soon come to you offering mock dishes they prepared in their own private kitchen.

Toyshops understand and stock items that sell. It gives parents the chance to buy toys that are popular and more often than not getting it from a location beyond their reach.