Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities

Themed Nights In – Making Family Time Special

By on February 27, 2018

Just a quick post from me for today to give you a few ideas of some fab family themed nights in - very apt for this bitterly cold, snowy winter we have got here in the UK; I hope you are all managing to keep warm!

It seems that families these days have less and less time to spend together. We are so busy with work, school runs, kids homework and various extra curricular activities, that run several times a week at multiple locations, that we barely have time for ourselves. Let alone finding time for quality family time!

So to help you out a bit with creating family time I have put together a small list of themed nights in. This list is by no means limited and I would love to hear of your ideas if you do anything different to us.

Movie Monday

We actually do movie night on a Saturday. We choose a film as a family and watch something that we all agree on. If we find ourselves in a situation where we don't all agree, then we go with the majority.

Takeaway Tuesday

If you are on a budget this could be quite expensive. So as an alternative you could do this once a month OR buy the 'cook-at-home-takeaway's' you can find in the supermarket. These are a fun, more affordable option.

Story time Wednesday

Choose a chapter book and sit together as a family and enjoy a good story. Books by David Walliams or Roald Dahl are great options for the varying ages in a family.

Find some below...

Cooking Thursday

For as much as I love preparing a home cooked meal from scratch, this can quickly become a stressful task. To avoid the stress plan your meal when you do the weekly food shop, making sure you have all the ingredients in, get organised before you call the kids to the kitchen and make sure you know who you want to do what task.

Games Night Friday

This can be literally be anything; board games, cards, hide and seek, Pictionary, charades and so much more. I love games night and my lot really look forward to it. Last Friday we played cards - Go Fish and when I woke up Saturday morning my boys (9 & 5) were sat up to the dining table playing Go Fish. You'll probably think I'm daft but I felt so proud - you may have seen my post about it on my Facebook page

So there has it, a few ideas for you lovely people to spend some time just once or twice a week together as family. These all make awesome rainy day activities too. The difference it has made for us is brilliant 🙂 You should try it.

NB - This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links, I may earn a small commission but at no extra cost to you. 
Featured image sourced from Google images.

 

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Days Out | National Trust

A Moment in History: The Vyne

By on February 23, 2018

If you're a regular reader you may have worked out that I like to do activities and outings on a budget. Mainly because there are 5 of us, sometimes 6 if Daddy comes too, which quite often means a hefty price tag. Therefore during school holidays I like to make the most of any annual memberships that we have. One of which being the National Trust and this time I am here to tell you about The Vyne and how you and the kids can make a mark in history.

We have visited a few National Trust locations and I have written a couple of posts reviewing our visits. Firstly I wrote about Bluebells in the Woods and the English Countryside which you can visit at Hinton Amper, as well as A family day out at Mottisfont. Both of which are in Hampshire.

17th century summer house

I particularly love this membership because it give us a chance to leave the city and become submerged in some of the most beautiful countryside the UK has to offer, it gets the children outside in nature instead of glued to a screen and we get to soak up some amazing history.

This time round, not only did we get to soak up some history but we got to leave our mark in the history book too! And the good news is there is still time for you to do the same!

The Vyne

I had decided before the half term that I wanted to spend some time with the children in a forest / woodland type place but the beginning of the week we had so much planned in the way of dance festivals, dentist appointments and a play date with our bestie who lives miles away from us, that the woodland walk had to wait until the end of the week.

I was originally drawn to The Vyne because of the woodland walks it has to offer but after a quick google search (what we would we do without google these days?) I soon realised our day here could be much more special.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The air was fresh but not cold. It really felt like spring was on its way.

On arrival we were asked if we wanted to take part in the 'lost tapestry trail' which was fab for the kids. A picture of a tapestry which is in the house has been printed and laminated then cut into 12 puzzle pieces. The pieces were placed in bird boxes around the grounds and we were given a map of their location. Not only was this treasure hunt type activity fun but it was brilliant for developing the kids map reading skills. Plus we get to go home with a puzzle!

Two of the bird boxes were empty but at the end of our day when we were heading back towards the carpark, we checked the boxes again and found they had been refilled. Allowing us to collect up all the pieces . Or so we thought... we ended up with 12 pieces but two of them are the same! Hey ho; you win some and lose some. It was fun nevertheless and we laughed a lot when we realised.

Tapestry Trail - The box was empty! Luckily on our way back round as we headed home the box had been refilled allowing us to collect all the pieces.

On the way round the trail we came to the house. The National trust are in the process of restoring The Vyne's roof due to extensive storm damages in 2013. The job is huge. And this is where you get to leave your mark in history.

The Roof

We saw people forming an orderly queue so me with my typical British ways joined the queue! We were queuing to go up on the roof and see first hand the restoration works going on. The children and I were given high vis jackets given a short safety briefing and were directed to the lift or stairs. The children were also given a task to look out for the Lego Workman pieces that had been placed around the roof - a great task to keep the younger children occupied on a building site.

Amazing to see all the work going on - we really felt like part of the action.

Both the works going on and the views from the roof were breath-taking. You get to walk round the whole roof and there are Perspex openings that are eye level for children so they can see what is happening without parents lifting them up and over the edge! The re-building of one of the chimneys has stuck with me. It was leaning like the Tower of Pisa but has totally restored. It has been rebuilt with new materials and reinforced to prevent future storm damage yet looks exactly the same as the original.  It really is a must see.

Leaving your mark in history

On the way back out you are able to Tag-a-Tile. There is a recommended donation of £5 to do this but any donation is welcomed and appreciated. This is where you can draw on, write on or a sign a tile that will be going up onto the roof.

Master E and Little P decided to share a tile, while Master A and Miss O wanted a tile of their own. Donations can be put in the jar or can be paid on the front desk.

Putting our mark on Great British history.

Once our tiles were completed we put them into a wheelbarrow with other signed tiles and were told they would be on the roof the very next day!

Last Chance

There is still time for you to see the marvellous works going on and the views from the roof, as well as tag-a-tile of your own. BUT you only have until 28th February 2018.

 

To find out opening times, prices and the location of either The Vyne or any other National Trust place I have mentioned please visit The National Trust website.

NB: I am NOT paid to write for the National Trust. I am just a member who is very pleased with what I have seen so far and therefore want to share the love by writing honest reviews.

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Learning Through Play

Kids Arts and Crafts: Blow Paint Volcano

By on February 14, 2018

"Mummy can we make something from my book?" Master A came to me with his Usborne Activities Dinosaur Things to Make and Do book desperate to make a volcano painting; he is dinosaur mad. He loves them and he loves making a mess so the two combined is just perfect! As it is half term and its raining (surprise surprise) we have plenty of time to spend indoors having fun. So we turned to page 12 in his book and a dinosaur volcano painting is exactly what we made, as well as a valentines related kitchen activity but I'll tell you about that in a different post.

Volcano Painting

Here are the step by step instructions and a video for how to create the volcano painting.

What you need

  • orange paint (if you don't have any you can improvise like we did - we planned to mix red and yellow, before we learned we didn't have any yellow paint either! So instead we mixed red and gold and tiny bit of white to get the orange colour for our lava).
  • black crayon or in our case a sharpie
  • paintbrush
  • straw

 

How-To

  • Mix your paints if you don't have any orange
  • Draw two thick lines for the sides of the volcano
  • Scribble between the two lines at the top to create the crater
  • Blob your orange paint at the top of the crater
  • Use the straw to blow the 'lava' up from the volcano like it has exploded
  • Run some orange paint down the sides of the volcano
  • Then we painted a Dinosaur sponge green and dabbed it on at the bottom of the volcano

 

Video

Learning Opportunities

As a registered childminder and a teaching assistant I often look for areas of learning in the activities I do with my littluns and this painting exercise was no different. This task is inclusive but by no means limited to the following learning areas I have identified.

Physical Development: Hand-eye coordination, control and movement is developed with an activity such as painting.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Having confidence in their ability, as well as understanding and delivering appropriate behaviour for the task, i.e. for this task - not jumping around throwing paint every where.

Literacy: Reading and following instructions

Expressive arts: Exploring and playing with a range of materials. Learning and mixing colours.

So as you can see a simple task such as painting a volcano is not only fun but provides great learning opportunities too!

Go on, give this one a go. Its great fun and took all of 10 minutes with limited mess! I would LOVE to see your paintings over on my Facebook page 🙂

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities | Seasonal

Love heart paper chain wreath

By on January 25, 2018

Wreaths aren't just for Christmas...

I started this activity with the intention of making a paper chain, after seeing it on Pinterest but the finished product turned into a wreath and we love it. This is a fun, simple and effective craft that is suitable for ages 6 + (with a bit of help from a grown up with the stapler) ad a perfect rainy day activity.

Like most of the home crafts we do at home this was done on a budget. In fact there was no expense at all as I only used materials that were available to me at home already.

 So what do you need?

  • Card
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

Yep that really is all you'll need!

As shown in the pictures below I used fancy patterned card - this was a pack of various different designs that I have had in the cupboard for years. Yep years. I just haven't come up with anything to use it for.

You can get packs of card like this from most craft stores. I imagine I got this from Hobbycraft.

How to make the wreath:

Step 1) Choose your card and cut it into strips like so...

Step 2) Staple two ends together and gently bend the edges over, without folding the card, to make a love heart shape. Hold in place and put two more strips of card either side of the point and carefully staple together. As shown in the pictures below...

Step 3) Keep repeating this until you are happy with the length of the chain. Once happy, you can gently bend the chain round into a wreath shape and staple the point of the last heart into the dip of the first.

And there has is. A love heart paper chain wreath...

This is a really effective craft and you can have lots of fun with colours. We chose the stereotypical valentines colour of pink to represent love (awww)! Master E, who is almost 10, enjoyed participating in this and that is saying something! He is normally way too cool to join in with such activities!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did 🙂 x

 

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Seasonal

Heart Shaped Bookmark

By on January 21, 2018

We love books here at Mummy's Munchkins HQ, especially children's literature. So keeping in line with our valentines theme, our next craft is a heart shaped bookmark.

This is incredibly simple to do yet very effective.

How to make the heart shaped bookmark

  1. First you need two different coloured pieces of card. We chose red and pink.
  2. Then you need to cut out 2 heart shapes - 1 out of each piece of card and one larger than the other.
  3. Put some glue on the top third of the smaller heart and stick it in the centre of the larger heart. A standard glue stick should do the trick.
  4. Once dry, your book mark is ready to use...

Variations...

  • Use scraps of stiff material you have lying around.
  • Make a rectangular bookmark using the same principle as the heart shape.
  • For the Easter period you could choose to make an egg shape.
  • For the Christmas period you may choose to make a Christmas tree or holly leaf shape.

Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it the main thing is to enjoy the family time together. I would love to see pictures of your bookmarks so feel free to share over on our Mummy's Munchkins Facebook page.

We had a brilliant few hours doing this at home and I know you will too.

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Seasonal

Heart Collage Card

By on January 20, 2018

The children and I have decided to make our own heart collage cards for Valentines Day and wanted to share our ideas with you lovely lot.

Only three of my littluns joined in with this activity because my oldest son is far too cool to make a valentines card! Miss O is very arty so chose to make a pattern with tissue paper balls. Master A is a 'Cars' lover and used an old magazine he had to cut out pictures of the right colour and Miss P loves 'Peppa Pig', so did the same with one of her old magazines.

Here is how we made them along with some pictures of the finished heart collages.

To make these you will need:

  • Coloured Card - We chose A5 but you can use any size you like
  • Old magazines
  • Tissue paper - Red, Pink and White
  • PVA Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black Sharpie (optional)

Method:

Preparations

  • Rip up tissue paper into small strips and the screw up into little balls
  • Cut out any small pink, red or white pictures from your chosen magazine.

The task

1) Fold the card in half

2) Draw a heart shape in pencil on the front

3) Once happy with the size, shape and placement of the heart draw over it with the sharpie

4) Spread a thin layer of PVA glue onto the card within the heart shape

5) Stick on tissue paper (pack tightly together to avoid gaps) or use your pieces from your magazines

6) Leave to dry

And there has it your finished Heart Collage Cards.

We loved making these cards and will completed them by adding a little message inside for our Valentine. If you have a go at making these we would love to have your thought so please feel free to comment here on the post as well as share your pictures of your creations on our Facebook page.

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Learning Through Play

Water Balloons and Dinosaur Eggs!

By on January 11, 2018

I saw this water balloon and dinosaur egg activity on a Facebook page run by Learning and Exploring Through Play and just had to give it a go...

So back in the summer (if you can call it that here in the UK) we hatched some dinosaurs!!

This was a really fun and great problem solving activity, which really homed in on the children's inner Palaeontologist selves. Having fun while learning...whatever next!?

So what did we do?

  • Put mini dinosaur figures in water balloons
  • Fill balloons with water
  • Put balloons in freezer
  • Once frozen take them out
  • Peel the balloon off the 'egg'
  • Get the dinosaurs out of the eggs

And that's it!!

Problem Solving

The Problem Solving is all about HOW you're going to get the dinosaurs out and this is such an important skill. No, not getting dinosuars' out of eggs but problem solving. All through our lives from a young age we are faced with situations where we must make a decision and more often than not this will involve considering damage limitation.

So this task actually provides two key features: problem solving - how will we get the dinosaurs out and damage limitation - getting the dinosaurs out without destroying them in the process. NB one or two dinosaurs may have lost a limb. Or two. Or their head. But for the most part we were successful.

Along with the above two features the children communicated with each other, worked as team as well as independently and shared their thoughts and ideas. All skills required not just through school life but well into their adult life also!

The children came up with a number of ways to approach this task. They used stones to hit the eggs to chip away at the ice, threw them on the patio, bashed the eggs together, picked at the ice and put in them some water so they would melt.

All off the above works!

This was such a fun activity to do together. As I mentioned we did this back in the summer as a fun activity to do in the garden but there are many variations to it making it a fun task to do inside the house on a rainy day. For example, as it is now winter why not have Elsa freeze her friends and have the children free them OR have farm or zoo animals caught up in an ice age! You could also think of other animals that lay eggs use the same principle as hatching the dinosaur eggs.

However you choose to tackle this family activity, just have fun with it. And why not share your pictures with me on my Instagram page using the hashtag #WaterBallonsAndDinosaurEggs

Below are some pictures of the fun we had...

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun

Quick and Easy, Child Friendly Trifle

By on December 31, 2017

The kids and I were looking through the cupboards for something we could have as a light dessert after our dinner. What with it being Christmas time I had ingredients in my cupboard that would make a trifle only I never got round to making one. So I decided I would make a quick and easy variation that is suitable for the children to eat. It took less than 5 minutes to make and took the kids less time to devour! Below is the 'How To' coupled with a video.

Ingredients

  • Trifle sponges
  • Strawberries
  • Squirty cream

Optional Extras

  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Custard
  • Jelly

Method

Break the sponges up into small chunks and slice the strawberries. Layer both ingredients in the glass, squirt on the cream and top with blueberries as shown in the video below.

Variation

I used what I had in my fridge and cupboards but you could make some jelly and pour this in and allow to set before adding cream. If you like custard you could always add this too, much like the trifle as we know it, just without the Sherry! (I know, I know but it is a child friendly version...)

The idea of this simple recipe is to keep it simple. Use what you have available to you by layering in grapes, blueberries and other fruits you have to hand.

Hope you enjoy and if so feel free to share 🙂

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