Tuesday, 14 May 2013
A delivery brings more than just books to the house today!!
We are now the proud owners of some new books from Books For Bugs and as usual, my daughter could not wait to read her new stories!! Once that was done and she had read them to her toys sat on the beanbag too, she turned her attention to the wonder that is Bubble wrap!!
The great thing about the bubblewrap they used is it was large wrap, meaning that the pops were rather satisfying!! We decided to use the bubblewrap as a road for her cars, making each car create a great noise as it rode over the bumps!! The best thing was, it led to further wonderment when she found that her knees were popping them as she knelt on them to get her car across!!
Bubblewrap is great fun for all sorts of play! Tape it to the floor and run across it.......roll across it on the floor....use it for wrapping up toys and "Post Office play". You can see how it can be used for painting to on one of my older posts http://www.childcareclair.com/2012/06/another-activity-idea.html
So next time a package comes wrapped in bubblewrap, try creating your own fun (and make sure you supervise your child with the bubblewrap as it can be a choking hazard)
Monday, 13 May 2013
All girls are fascinated by makeup and nail polish in particular, but is it safe?
I was at a networking group a while ago and met a lady who sold children's nail polish. I had not heard of it before and I began to talk to her about the product. What I had not realised was that adult nail varnish is actually harmful to not only children, but to pregnant women too.
This was something I had to look into. It is true that nail polishes do contain formaldehyde and pthalates sometimes, which can be toxic if ingested. This is not a problem to adults as they do not tend to suck on their fingers or perhaps eat the polish. There was even talk of a "toxic trio" of ingredients which could in fact harm an unborn child. (You can read about that here http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Health/nail-polish-safety/story?id=16108721 )
I do not like the idea of young children wearing nail polish as it is, but allowed my daughter to try the water based nail varnish out of interest. It had a pleasant odour rather than an overpowering one, and came off merely by washing her hands in the bath. Great if you do allow your child to wear nail polish, but I think I will wait a long long time before I allow my daughter to wear any form of make up again. (Face painting is a bit different though and she loves that!!) Now I just have to stop her putting felt pen on her face as "make up"!!!!!!
If you are interested in child friendly makeup products, you can find some here:
Thursday, 9 May 2013
I have been looking into Libraries and their rhyme/story times. Many parents are not impressed!
I read at a local library the other day and was most dismayed. I have taken my daughter to the under fives story time before and after 2 visits decided against going again. I found that the staff there lacked enthusiasm and did not seem to have the tone of voice needed to hold children's attentions.
In fact, when I asked to read my book, the reply was "Does that mean we don't have to do it next week, then?"
I wanted to find out if this was something confined to my local library, or something occurring on a wider scale. I asked my Facebook followers to comment on their experiences only to find that it was not just the one case! These were some of the comments I received :
As a preschool in a village we use to walk next door to the library and have a story session. Very valuable experience for the children. Usual cuts and now the library is shut every morning! Such a shame. Have to say though the ladies at this library were not good at all at story telling. No idea how to talk to the children. This is not always the case though. I have been to another library and the story teller there was just amazing, very interactive session and used songs and actions to reinforce story.
I find the library staff at my library so unenthusiastic!! Stopped taking Freddie to bounce and rhyme. The staff had no skills of engaging the children and looked like they would rather be anywhere else!!!I was so unimpressed when I went, the lady singing was so quiet and had no impression in her voice, the children were just running riot- not their fault... The lady didn't make it fun or exciting for them
The West Wickham one is awful. Exactly the same as the one described above but Bromley Central library is really good and the lady has the children's attention in such a way you'd probably hear a pin drop! Lol (silence in the good way - the children are eager to listen to the story)
I must underline that it isn't every library that is like this, but there are a good few that are not really up to standard in terms of their toddler groups. It is difficult to keep the attention of so many little ones, but a librarian who had some childcare knowledge or storytelling training would perhaps be able to fare better in these situations. There are some great storytellers out there who read in libraries for the children of the community, showing great enthusiasm and joy when reading stories. One good one which I attended when I lived elsewhere was run by the local children's centre and a trained member of staff came along to do rhymes and stories with the children.
What are your experiences??
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Another Playdough experiment and a look at "My easy cutter"
I was feeling creative today, yet again, and I decided to get the ingredients out of the cupboard and create another playdough recipe! So, custard playdough was born! But, there was another method to my slight madness, I have recently bought some brilliant knives from Pampered Chef and thought it would be an ideal time to try them out.
The "My Easy Cutter" is a knife designed with children in mind. It is a small, handy knife which looks sharp with its jagged edges. However, this is not the case. I can quite happily allow my 2 1/2 year old to use it without the fear of her getting cut. Of course, it is still advisable to supervise a child with this product, but it is a great way of getting children involved in the kitchen!!
My daughter was able to happily cut her playdough with the knife. It is a great tool for clay and dough play, allowing children to cut their dough to size and experiment with the skills needed for cutting with a knife. When I first showed it to her, she recognised it " I use that at Preschool, Mummy! For snack!" In fact, many childcare settings are using this product to encourage children to cut their own fruit and vegetables for snack. The knife can easily slice through an apple.....
The "My easy cutter" is definitely worth a purchase! I have two for my daughter, one for playdough and one for helping me in the kitchen. They also are not too expensive to buy http://www.pamperedchef.co.uk/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=10810&catId=99&parentCatId=99&outletSubCat=
And so to my latest playdough recipe!! Why don't you give it a try!!
You will need:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup custard powder
1 cup salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 Cup water
Place all the dry ingredients into a saucepan and mix. Add the oil and water and place on a low heat. Stir until mixture begins to bind together then allow to cool. Knead the dough together to create a ball of dough. I found that this dough can be a little sticky due to the custard in it, so you may need to add a little more flour to the finished dough to prevent this.
Dough should last for a week in a food bag in the fridge.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Zips and Fastenings are a great way to teach children new skills!!
Exploring fastenings allows children to develop their hand eye co ordination and fine motor skills. They also begin to get an understanding of cause and effect through exploring how the fastenings fit together........also a fantastic concentration and patience learning tool!!
The cushion in the above picture may not look that much to many, but for one little girl this is the best toy ever!! I was talking to my friend recently and she mentioned how her daughters favourite toy was a cushion which her Dad had made her.
This thoughtful Dad had observed his daughter playing with zips and fastenings around the house and came up with the idea of creating a cushion with some material which had fastenings on it for her to play with. What a fantastic idea! Not only was this Dad so observant of his child's interests, he created something which would help aid her development through play!
Doing up a zip is a skill that takes many children a while to master too. By introducing zips and fastenings early on in a child's development, it enables them to practise the skill. It can be very frustrating learning to do the zip up, and children may need help starting it off for a while, but with plenty of encouragement, they will soon pick up this fine motor skill!
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Childcare Clair is proud to announce her first children's story is now an e book!
For those of you who have not yet been able to buy a copy of Mrs Handbag and the magic seed, you can always try out the e book version through Amazon
If you do get a copy and could leave a comment about what you think of the story on the Amazon page that would be truely appreciated! This is a truely exciting moment for ChildCare Clair and the website!!
You can also check out Mrs Handbag's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/MrsHandbag
Posted by Clair Maskell at Saturday, May 04, 2013
Friday, 3 May 2013
A wonderful and often forgotten group of children
There are a group of children out there who are sometimes forgotten. Young carers are children aged 18 or under who help to look after a relative who is disabled, critically ill, mentally ill or has a drug/alcohol problem.
These fantastic children often can be found doing housework, cooking, dressing someone or guiding them, looking after younger siblings, or all of the above!The thing is, young carers still have to contend with school, homework etc as well as still being children. Some often find all this very isolating and feel that they are misunderstood, with nobody identifying with what they are going through.
Victoria Taylor saw this in her own daughter. Her husband was very ill and her daughter was a young carer from a very young age. Once she started school and began to realise that her life was different from those of her peers. Victoria began to write a story for her daughter called "Caitlins wish". The book enabled her daughter to see her life differently, helping her to focus on the positives in her life.
This book has now been read by children of all ages across the world. It has brought hope to many young carers and their parents. Victoria is pure inspiration and has really made it her goal to ensure young carers are heard and cared about. Her website is http://www.caitlinswish.co.uk/
To find out more about young carers, you can find more information here: