Posts Tagged ‘family’

Rainy Days and Half Term

Friday, February 14th, 2014

With so much rain around and it looking set to continue here are a few ideas to keep boredom at bay during half term – have fun!

1) Have an alphabet day. Choose an activity based on a letter of the alphabet for example a = art or acting (a game of charades would fit nicely here – for smaller children picture charades work well), b = baking or building (with Lego etc) and so on. If the weather improves you can continue the alphabet outdoors too, and it is something that could run over several days. Although many of the activities may be ones they are used to doing, sometimes just presenting them in a different way can ignite enthusiasm and you may find some new favourite activities too

2) Host your own Olympics – Every child I have spoken to is excited about this event. Contests that could easily be set up in your own front room include weight lifting – just use a couple of baked bean tins, blow football, balloon volleyball and maybe some alternative Olympic events like tower building or a dressing up race. You could add a Winter Olympic feel too with tea tray luge/skeleton or tissue box skates. The children could make medals too.

3) Colour treasure hunt – Get the children to go round the house spotting as many red objects for example. They may come across some old toys they had forgotten about along the way that could help keep them amused after the activity has finished.

4) Colour Day – Carrying on from the above idea, you could choose a colour for the day. Everyone would need to dress in this colour and you could try to eat foods that are this colour. Activities could include each person thinking of something different in that colour and miming it, or making pictures only using materials and paint/pen that are the colour of the day.

5) Indoor circuit – It is very easy on a rainy day to do a lot of sitting down activities, so why not throw in an active circuit. Things like running on the spot for 20 seconds, 20 star jumps, 20 steps up and down the bottom stair, balancing on one leg for a set time – all things that take up no space but get your children burning off some energy

6) Arts and crafts – This is always popular on a rainy day and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune or create a lot of mess. Save things like paper plates and you can make many different things. For example we have used paper plates to make a fish, a royal carriage, a mask and our favourite dinner. You could challenge your children to come up with as many different ideas to make with their paper plate as they can.

Do you have any other great rainy days ideas to share? Do let us know in the comments below.

Activity Advent Calendar

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

We are fast approaching December and advent. If you want to avoid the glut of chocolate now associated with advent how about devising an activity advent calnedar instead. This can be an inexpensive way to celebrate advent and lots of fun too for you and your children. Just get a festive box and write down 24 activities and put inside, or write on lolly sticks and put in a jar then choose one to do each day. Here are some ideas to get you going.

1. Lego/Duplo – most of us will have some Lego or Duplo at home so why not challenge your children to try building some Christmas items like a Lego Christmas Tree, Santa Sleigh, Snowman etc. You could do the same challenge with play doh.

2. Make some decorations – paper chains, decorate card circles as baubles or how about these adorable Santa Stars from Red Ted Art.

Santa Stars by redtedart.com

Santa Stars by redtedart.com

3. Visit your local Christmas lights – take a walk down your local high street and view the lights or you may have a particular street that goes all out on decorating their houses.

4. Christmas Baking -doesn’t need to be anything fancy. These upside down ginger bread men turned into reindeer are perfect.

Reindeer Biscuits

Reindeer Biscuits

5. Christmas Cards – Who doesn’t like receiving a lovely home made Christmas card? You just need a piece of card and you could use cotton wool to make a snowy scene, glitter to make a tinselly picture or how about this lovely Christmas tree design from Baker Ross.

Homemade Christmas Crads

Homemade Christmas Crads

6. Board games – a great idea for all ages. For younger children we always liked Incy Wincy Spider and older children games like Ludo can keep them amused for ages. Great for reinforcing turn taking, counting and literacy.

7. Christmas Nature Walk – Why not take a walk to your local park or woods and collect pine cones and see if you can spot some holly or a robin.

8. Visit your local garden centre – They often have lovely displays of decorations and Christmas trees and may even have a Father Christmas to visit – some for free.

9. Write a letter to Father Christmas – for younger children who cannot write, cut out pictures for them to stick on or for those that can write, some great handwriting practice.

10. Visit your local library and find some nice Christmas stories. Some of our favourites are Stick Man, The Night Before Christmas and Father Christmas Needs a Wee!

11. Make a bird feeder – The birds are struggling to find food at this time of year so how about making a bird feeder out of an old juice carton like this one we made at Arty Adventures in Guildford.

Bird Feeder

Bird Feeder

12. Have a Christmas boogie – One game I love to play at Christmas is to put some Christmassy music on and then when the music stops shout out a Christmas movement like roll like a bauble, Chuckle like Santa, Twirl like a snowflake.

13. Have a Christmas sing song – Even the smallest of children know Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and you could even add some jingle bells in a pot for all to shake.

14. Learn about Christmas in another country. Google will have lots of ideas but I love the book Jingle Bells by Iza Trapanzi which tells the story of Christmas in other countries to the tune of Jingle Bells.

15.Play Charades – a game that even small children can play if you give them a picture to mime out instead.

16. Go and see a local pantomime – this one is more of a treat but most local theatres have a Christmas production of some sort and it can be a lovely way to get into the Christmas spirit.

17.Christmas Dressing Up – grab a selection of Christmas hats and tinsel and dress up in a festive way. You can challenge each other to dress each other up or have a dressing up race.

18. Make jolly jars – take a old jam jar and decorate with stickers or glass pens and then fill with sweets and treats to give to a loved one.

19. Hand deliver some Christmas cards to neighbours – a great way to meet your neighbours and spread some Christmas cheer.

20. A great one for slightly older children – create as many words as you can from the letters in Merry Christmas.

21. Print off some Christmas puzzles, wordsearches, colouring pages etc – great to keep some for over the Christmas period too.

22. Tell some of your favourite Christmas jokes – here’s one to get you started. What is a monkey’s favourite Christmas song? Jungle Bells Jungle Bells Jungle all the way!

23. Do a Christmas Jigsaw puzzle.

24. A lovely activity to do on Christmas Eve is to have a special Christmas box with new pyjamas, a Christmas DVD and snacks that your children can unwrap and enjoy while they wait for Father Christmas.

Hope you have fun with some of the above idea and do feel free to share any of your own ideas.

Seasons Greetings!

Outdoor Adventures

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Last week we ran our first Outdoor Adventure session at Newlands Corner, Guildford. This is a new monthly sessions that gets family out and walking at one of Surrey’s Beauty spots. We go on nature trails, play games, use our senses and then create some lovely natural art and craft.

At our first session we had 12 lovely families join us. We used a lovely Autumn nature trail that I had tried with my son a couple of years ago from Kids Travel2. Firstly we found acorns and leaves from some gorgeous oak trees and then we began our walk down the slope collecting stones along the way. Our nature trail took us past lots of berry bushes and the child had great fun collecting these to use as paints. We used our senses and heard birds and an aircraft overhead and also saw blackbirds, fields, trees and a farm. One little girl was delighted to find a snail and the children were very eager to show me all the natural treasures they had collected.

Arts and Crafts in the woods

Arts and Crafts in the woods

We soon came to a secret passageway that led into the woods. The children spotted many large rabbit and mole holes and we talked about how many animals build their homes underground and how they do it and how most of these animals only come out at night. We then set out a craft mat and the children used their natural finds to create some lovely hedgehog pictures.

Hedgehog Nature Picture

Hedgehog Nature Picture

It really was a lovely session and it was great to see that the parents also had time to chat and socialise whilst their children were having fun. We have 2 more sessions this year – a Bonfire Night Special at Gunpowder Mills, Chilworth and a Christmas trail at Chantry Wood, Guildford with a visit from Father Christmas! For more details wisit our Outdoor Adventures page or email joanne@actoneadventures.co.uk

Kapow – Our Superhero Party

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

My son turned 7 in September and had decided long ago that he wanted a Superhero party. We chose the venue – The Guide Headquarters in Nightingale Road, Guildford, a venue I know well as I hold my Wonderful Wednesday sessions there. I then began collecting various party ware to set the scene.

I am a great fan of picking out strong colours from your theme and adding to some themed partyware. I feel it makes the decor look cleaner but it is also a cheaper option. We decided to go down the Superhero Pop Art route and for the party table I used some red catering roll I had left over from an art and craft activity and then adding some Superhero wrapping paper that I found in Primark. We then used blue plates and cups from Poundland and some superhero pop art confetti, napkins, popcorn boxes and bat straws purchased from Delights.co.uk.

Superhero Party table

Superhero Party table

As a take home gift we had superhero balloons that we stuck an eye mask to which the kids loved.

Superhero balloons

Superhero balloons

My son is also a big fan of Doctor Who so when we saw that Lakeland were doing Dr Who bake and partyware we snapped up these Dalek cupcake cases that went down a storm.

Dalek Dr Who Superhero Party Surrey Cakes Cupcakes

Dalek Dr Who Superhero Party Surrey Cakes Cupcakes

Fortunately, it is not just me that likes dressing up for a party. My son dressed as batman and all his friends came as a colourful array of superheroes. Also my husband dressed up as The Joker and my Dad as the Penguin and served as villains throughout the party that the children could boo and defeat.

The Joker and the Penguin

The Joker and the Penguin

For the games I told the children that the Joker was threatening to stop all birthdays from happening and that we had to stop him. The children warmed up by doing an obstacle course and lots of active games, we played parachute games with an inflatable spiderman and played Superhero to the Rescue! We had a joke telling competition to beat The Joker and a Penguin Race with beanbags and the party finished with a disco to celebrate The Joker’s defeat.

Paracahute Gmes

Paracahute Gmes

It is a great colourful party theme for both boys and girls. For more details of our Superhero parties in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire visit our party page

Handprint Art

Friday, August 30th, 2013

At my art and craft sessions for under 5′s in Guildford we do experiment quite a lot with handprint art. It is a fun activity you can try at home, especially if a nice day as you can go outside. It is also a very cost effective activity as all you really need is paint and paper.

Here are some of the lovely creations some of the under 5′s have made at my sessions.

Animals are always a favourite. Giraffes, Elephants and even a parrot can me made from handprints.

Animal handprints

Animal handprints

They can also be used to make great lions too.
Lion Handprints

Or how about creating an underwater scene. Handprints can make great crabs.

Handprint crab

Handprint crab

Handprints can also be used to make lovely floral pictures. We created these lovely cards for Mothers Day. In this instance we used paper and drew round hands, but paint would work equally as well.

Handprint flower pots

Handprint flower pots

Or how about a garden of flowers? This picture was created by lots of children at the Mummas & Beans Cafe launch party in Godalming where I also hold my Active Adventure sessions and seasonal arts and crafts for toddlers and under 5′s. The canvas is now proudly on display in the cafe.

Flower Handprint art

Flower Handprint art

The possibilities are endless for handprint art. I hope you will have a go with your little one and I would love to see any of your creations.

To try out more art and craft activities with your little one why not come along to one of Act One Adventures weekly sessions. We run arts and crafts for under 5′s/toddlers on Wednesdays in Guildford and also have Halloween and Christmas arts and crafts coming up in Godalming. We also run Active Adventure sessions for under 5′s and toddlers that run in Guildford, Godalming and Farnham which blend stories, drama, dance, songs, imaginative play and lots of imaginative and active fun to take us on a different adventure each week. Visit our website for more details or email joanne@actoneadventures.co.uk

Back to School – Reading and Writing

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

With just about a week left of the school holidays I’m sure many of us are starting to think about getting organised with new uniforms, shoes etc but I know many of us worry about whether our children’s reading and writing has suffered over the long break. I firmly believe that holidays should be a time for children to enjoy different experiences to those they receive at school but you can build in a few fun activities to help encourage reading and writing even when they are not at school that will not feel like work. Here are some of the activities we have done (some without even realising at the time) and all have been fun not just for my son, but for the rest of the family as well.

1) Board games – My son has enjoyed playing a game called What a Performance this holiday. This has involved him having to read cards with instructions on and also various counting activities. He also loves playing Top Trumps which again has helped with reading and number recognition in a fun and engaging way.

2) Holiday Journal – My son was given a holiday journal at the start of the holidays and has enjoyed writing a sentence or two and drawing pictures about some of the activities we have done. You can make it even more interesting by adding photos or other mementoes from days out.

Writing with Lego

Writing with Lego


3) Lego – My son is Lego mad and we quite often play games with Lego. One we played in the holidays was to write our names with Lego but you could try any words. To help with numeracy we have played games with dice where we have to add the number on the dice to the tower we are building for a set amount of time. Whoever has the biggest tower at the end wins.

4) Directions and signs – my son loves reading signs when we are out and about and also reading info in shops etc – a simple way to build reading into everyday life and he feels he is being helpful too.

5) Postcards – We sent a couple of postcards whilst on holiday to family and my son loved telling his grandparents what he had been up to. Even if you are not going away you can quite often get local postcards (I saw a whole rack in our local WH Smith yesterday) to share stories of days out. They make a lovely surprise for friends and relatives too.

6) Library visits – The library can be a great resource over the summer. Many run extra activities and also reading challenges.

I hope you enjoy some of these ideas and most of all have enjoyed your holidays with your families. If you have any fun ideas for encouraging reading and writing do share in the comments below.

Crafts Parties in Surrey, Berkshire & Hampshire

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

If you are looking for something a little different for your child’s next party why not consider a craft party? At Act One Adventures we can offer craft parties for a wide variety of themes and make them suitable for both boys and girls.

Last Saturday I did an Animal & Sea Creature Craft Birthday party for 2 5 year olds in Epsom, Surrey. As the children arrived there were sea creature masks out to decorate with glitter glue, sequin shapes, tissue paper and feathers. The children made some really sparkly creatures that they modelled with pride.

Sea Creature masks

Sea Creature masks

Next the children made some great paper bag animal puppets. It was lovely to see the children really get into the crafts and have some lovely things to take home with them as a memento of the party. The children were also able to chat as they were doing the crafts which was lovely. Many people worry that there will be a lot of mess involved with a craft party but I always choose activities where any mess can be contained and I clear it up at the end. it took me less than 10 minutes to clear and pack away at the end.

Getting Crafty

Getting Crafty

After the crafts we played a selection of Act One’s favourite party games including duck duck goose, parachute games, musical freeze etc finishing with a parade and photo opportunity for parents of all the lovely art work.

Act One Adventures can tailor the craft to any theme – popular ones have included Princesses and Pirates but animals, under the sea, beach, minibeasts, dinosaurs and a birthday theme can all work well for both boys and girls. I am currently preparing for a jewellery and keyring making party.

Princess arts and crafts party

Princess arts and crafts party


Cupcake Craft

Cupcake Craft

For more details of all our parties please contact joanne@actoneadventures.co.uk or view our Party page

Games to play anywhere

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

With all the schools about to break up many of us will be about to go on holiday, days out and generally travelling. It is is easy for kids to get bored or maybe you might be looking for a bit of down time. Here are some of our favourite family games that require little preparation or props (maybe just pen and paper or a pack of cards). They can all be adapted to a variety of ages too.

1) Eye spy – an old favourite but there can be many twists on it. Instead of something beginning with a letter you could choose a colour which makes the game much more playable for younger children. To make it harder you can play something ending with instead.

2) Name 10 – One person chooses a category and the other has to name 10 things from that category. You can set a time limit to make it more interesting.

3) Yes/No game – You have to answer questions but without saying yes or no.

4) Memory games – our favourite is I went to the beach and I took…. each person has to remember what everyone took before them and then add something of their own.

5) 20 Questions – One person chooses to be someone famous and then the others have 20 questions to guess who they are.

6) Music Games – Choose a favourite song or theme tune and hum it. the others have to guess what it is. If you are in a place where humming isn’t appropriate then you can try tapping out the rhythm of a song and see if others can guess it from that.

7) Go Fish! – A great card game for younger children – the full rules can be found here

8) Top Trumps – We love Top Trumps. Very portable and great for encouraging basic reading skills and number recognition.

9) Shape Pictures – Challenge each other to draw objects just using a particular shape – i.e draw a mouse just using circles, a rocket just using triangles etc.

10) Where in the World – First person say a place name ie England then the next person has to say a name of another place starting with the last letter ie Denmark etc.

I hope you enjoy playing some of the above. Do share your own easy, boredom busting games below.

Beautiful Beach Session

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Lolly stick photo frames

Lolly stick photo frames

Everyone loves a day at the beach and my pre schoolers and toddlers certainly had a great time this week at our Beach Activity Sessions in Guildford, Godalming & Farnham. We looked at the story “Look what I found” by Nick Sharratt, a delightful lift the flap book that shows lots of surprises at the beach. First we packed our case and took an aeroplane to a sunny baech. We then had great fun building pretend sandcastles with colourful buckets and spades, (patting the bucket with our spade was our favourite bit – it made a great noise!) We then dipped our toes in the water and went for a splash. We climbed and balanced over the rocks to get to some hula hoop rock pools that had crabs, seahorses, terrapins and fish inside for us to catch and then had a quick game of beach ball to help practise our rolling and throwing and catching skills.
Sand Art pictures

Sand Art pictures

We then played with some windmills and in turn helped strengthen the facial muscles used for speech development by blowing them to make them go round. The children seemed very inspired to use speech during this session, exclaiming splash when jumping in the sea and pat when tipping out their sandcastles and one little boy loved pointing out all the boats in the book too.

Windmills & Sunglasses

Windmills & Sunglasses

In our arts and crafts session in Guildford we had lots of messy fun making sand pictures and using different shapes to make beach huts and boats on our pictures. The children also made some funky scratch art sunglasses,their own windmills to take home and some lolly stick magnetic photo frames. Finally, as we had the sand already out we made some real sandcastles and sand shapes. All the fun of the beach without having to leave West Surrey!

Sand Play

Sand Play

Fathers Day & Circus Sessions

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Well last week was a very busy week at Act One Adventures. As well as our usual activities for under 5′s in Guildford, Godalming & Farnham which had a circus theme, we also celebrated Fathers Day with Pop Up Adventures at Enchanted Wood Toys, Farnham and Arts & Crafts at Mummas & Beans Godalming.

Circus

I had been so looking forward to our Circus week. We read Spot at the Circus and the children learnt all about the different circus acts. We walked the tightrope, jumped through hoops, juggled and balanced with bean bags and played in a circus band with tambourines, triangles and maracas. The children loved pretending to swing on a flying trapeze and playing with some giggle sticks too.

We had a lovely comment about the session from one of the parents on Facebook too – ” Just wanted to say how lovely the “circus” class was today. It was lovely seeing Sam and Ida pretending to be on the trapeze and type rope walking. It was a lovely lovely class! Thank you! x”
20130612_112957
In Arts and Crafts we made a clown costume – a party hat decorated with stickers and pom poms and a paper plate ruff.

The children also made some lovely Big Top pictures and some hand print lion and elephants.

Lion & Elephant handprints

Lion & Elephant handprints

Fathers Day

The week started with 2 Pop Up Adventure sessions at Enchanted Wood Toys, Farnham. These sessions for under 5′s and toddlers start with a story which we then explore with drama, dance and games and then make a simple craft to take home.

We read the story “My Dad” about a Daddy who makes up imaginative stories to tell his daughter, like how he once sprouted wings (we all pretended to be aeroplanes), how he found the end of the rainbow (we danced with beautiful coloured scarves), how he flew to the moon holding onto a bunch of balloons ( we did some drama about going to the moon, some sensory play with “space” blankets and sang 5 little men with a glove puppet). We were also robots and flying cars!

20130613_141524
To finish the session we made Fathers Day cards using pasta bowties and buttons.

We finished off the week with a Father’s Day Arts and Crafts Session at Mummas & Beans, Godalming. As well as the cards above we made Rosette magnets out of jar lids, card and stickers.

Rosette Magnets

Rosette Magnets

We also made footprint bookmarks which were laminated and made some lovely pictures with some heart and star foam stamps.

Footprint bookmark

Footprint bookmark

What a lovely busy week we have had!