Thursday, 27 July 2017

Five Playdough Invitations To Play

Moon and Star Cookie Playdough Invitation to Play

Cutting Practice Invitation to Play
Natural Loose Parts Invitation to Play

Cupcake Invitation to Play

Chopstick Practice Invitation to Play

Monday, 24 July 2017

5 Perpetual Calendars We Love

All links are to shops I have used or lovely things I have found on Etsy.
I gain nothing from these links

I love Waldorf inspired perpetual calendars. They're such a lovely imaginative and kinesthetic way for children to grasp the difficult concept that is time. Here are some of my favourites

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Plastic Free July: Week 3

Week 3 has generally been great, because I haven't gone out. You can't buy things in packaging if you are home all day. Wins include my reusable snack pouches arriving from Noah's Ark Baby, ordering bamboo plates for Xiaobao for weaning (all of the packaging of the plates was plastic free and I will reuse the envelope) and joining the Go Real Parent's Club.

Here is how our week looked

  • Avoid lightweight plastic bags, by always carrying reusable shopping bags in the front of the changing bag - I have managed to not have any this week. We even went without using one for our loose vegetables and fruit from the supermarket today.
  • Avoid skincare products containing microbeads, by looking out for polyethylene, polypropylene, polymethylmethacrylate, PET, PTFE and PMMA. - I haven't had to buy any skincare products this week
  • Avoid buying new cleaning product bottles, either by refilling at a local shop that offers refills or by making our own cleaners where possible. - No plastic bottles this week! Not for drinks or for cleaning products.
  • Avoid using takeaway plastic straws, by opting not to use a straw or bringing a reusable straw with us. - We haven't had any cold drinks out. I've ordered brushes to clean the inside of our reisable straws, so I can start bringing them with us when out and about.
  • Avoid using takeaway coffee cups, by bringing a reusable cup or sitting down and drinking from a real cup in the cafe - I actually became quite upset this week. The one day I went out, I ordered a coffee at the cafe in our local park. He didn't even ask if we wanted to drink in (we did) and just made it in a disposable cup. I had my takeaway cup with me, so if I had known I would have used it. 
  • Avoid using takeaway utensils and containers, by ordering less takeaway food, bringing our own containers or dining in - I really feel like were making excuses on this weekly, but now the baby is going through a phase of separation anxiety. It involves heart wrenching crying whenever I leave her alone. My husband was out two evenings this week, so I ended up having two takeaways. It will definitely have to become my main focus.
  • Avoid using one-use plastic bottles, by no longer buying soft drinks and carrying a reusable water bottle - Whenever we go out, we now bring our own reusable water bottles
  • Avoid using plastic food wrap, by storing leftovers in containers and making my own beeswax wraps - We have stored all of our leftovers in containers this week. I still need to make our own beeswax wraps. 
  • Avoid buying plastic toys, by opting for sustainable wooden toys - I bought Xiaobao a wooden animal puzzle from the charity shop this week. For the short time that toddlers and pre-schoolers use simple puzzles, buying them second hand is definitely the way to go.
  • Avoid using plastic cotton buds, by buying cotton buds with cardboard tubes - I haven't had to buy any cotton buds this week
My new snackbags

All in all, I feel we are moving in the right direction. The big issue we need to deal with next week is takeaways. The biggest change is that Plastic Free July is really making us rethink how we sop. While we're currently still using supermarkets, we're trying to choose them based on the amount of produce we can buy without packaging and we are choosing products by the type of packaging they are in. It feels like we are making a real change to our lives.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Grapat Rhythm Of Life Perpetual Calendar

We were sent this calendar by One Hundred Toys to review.
All views expressed are my own.

Baobao has been really interested in days of the week recently, so when we were given the opportunity to review Grapat's Rhythm of Life Perpetual Calendar I jumped at the chance.
It arrived packaged beautifully
Grapat is a family-run business from Spain, that focuses on the open-ended toys that their daughter loves. All of their toys are made from local, sustainable wood. Their products include beautiful peg dolls, called Nins, objects that can interact with the Nins, such as rings, coins and cups, as well as fine motor skills toys and of course beautiful calendars.

The beads come in this lovely reusable bag, to be stored in thin wooden bowls. The bowls are colour coordinated to the months of the year.
The Grapat Rhythm of Life Perpetual Calendar is designed so that children gain an understanding of the passing of time, by adding one bead a day every day for a year. They can see how the seasons progress and the circular nature of the year.
A selection of some of the beads
It includes 376 beads in 13 different colours - 366 to represent the different months and 10 extra beads for special days. Each of the colours represent a different month:

January - dark violet
February - blue
March - turquoise
April -  dark green
May - light green
June - pistachio
July - yellow
August - ochre
September - orange
October - red
November - bordeux
December - brown

Used in this combination, the colours of the beads represent the colours of the seasons. Blue to represent winter, green the spring, orange the summer and red and brown the autumn.

Our calendar on the wall, up until the 16th July (for size)
We changed the months that each colour represents for our use, so as to match more closely with our DIY Waldorf Inspired Perpetual Calendar. This was fairly easy to do, by taking out excess beads and painting some of the plain beads for special days.

Special beads for special days, these two are for Baobao and Xiaobaos birthdays
I seriously underestimated just how long this calendar would be. I'm not entirely sure how. Each bead is about 1cm, so a years worth of beads would easily stretch across my entire living room. It proved to be quite cumbersome. We decided to hang it on the wall for ease of use. 
Ribbons are provided for tying on to represent a change in season
Tying the ribbons on for the change of season acts as a brilliant way to show children how the wheel of the year actually works. With some seasonal books, it has really helped Baobao gain an understanding of the seasons we have experience so far this year.

Counting along the beads to find our what today's date is, gives Baobao the opportunity to count above 15 on a daily basis, helping her number recitation and counting with one-to-one correspondence skills. 

The Grapat Rhythm of Life perpetual calendar with our own DIY perpetual calendar.
All in all, I have really enjoyed using the Grapat Rhythm of Life Perpetual Calendar with Baobao over the last week. I can see it becoming a part of our regular daily rhythm, counting along the beads to find out today's date and changing our DIY Perpetual Calendar to match. This will hopefully give Baobao and later Xiaobao a greater understanding of time and the rhythm of the year.

If you like the look of the Grapat Rhythm of Life Perpetual Calendar, it's on sale on One Hundred Toys for £79.40.

Monday, 17 July 2017

6 Children's Plates That We Love

All links are to shops I have used or lovely things I have found on Etsy.
I gain nothing from these links

Xiaobao is 6 months next month, which means weaning! We plan on following Baby Led Weaning with her, just as we did with Xiaobao. Here are some of the plates I've been looking at this month