Outdoor Activities For Children During Lockdown

I now have no idea what week we are on in lockdown but I do know that during this time we have all been trying to find ways of coping with being around each other 24 hours a day and for me I have found structure is key and trying to give the children some kind of home learning has been a must.

I am no teacher and so with the help of work set by school and the wonders of the internet I have been trying to find ways to keep the children happy and engaged.

We have been lucky to have been blessed with this wonderful weather and have tried to utilise this as much as possible and taking our home learning outside.

  • Most homeschooling activities can be done outside as it allows children to have freedom of movement, increases their physical development, helps build towards a healthy and activity lifestyle and hopefully makes them happier and more motivated to learn.
  • I have compiled a few of our favourite activities below and hope you find something that’s a good fit for your family to try:

    Den Building – The boys love building dens, so this was a great excuse to get something set up in the garden where they could play and read independently.

    Skipping – Skipping is a great way to get them using their gross motor skills as well as burning off a lot of steam!

    Climbing Tree – This is great for them to challenge their dexterity and build their confidence.

    Digging In The Dirt – All kids love to dig around in the dirt and without knowing it they are getting a real sensory experience. From making mud pies to hiding and finding different objects this is a great exercise.

    Getting Out For A Walk – The government is still allowing us out for 39 mins exercise a day, and we can use this time to clear our heads, strike up conversations to check that your little ones are coming with this situation and make it into a game by spotting different things on the way.

    • Planting – It’s the perfect time to plant seeds and flowers in the garden which can turn into a science lesson by talking about the lifestyle of plants and then drawing and labelling what you have planted.

    • Still Life Painting – There are so many things that can be painted in the garden, just pick something that catches your eye and get painting.

    • Rough And Tumble – This might not be for everyone, but my youngest two literally can’t keep their hands off each other; so for me allowing them to battle it out for a while works. It’s a way for them to relive stress, read social cues, make decisions on their own and of course have a good cardio workout!

    • Nature Collage – Take some time to walk around the garden and pick up anything you find interesting to create a masterpiece with.

    • Painting With Water – A big pot of water, some paint brushes and some space on the patio, a wall or a fence will allow children to create their own murals with no mess at all.

    • Shadow Drawing – Grab some paper and some objects that will create good shadows…our favourites are dinosaurs; position them on the paper so that the sunlight casts a shadow on the paper and the draw around the shadow.

    • Make A Bug Hotel – Find a space in the garden where you can put together as pike of bricks, logs, sticks, tiles and just about anything else mini beasts can create a home. The children can then go back and take a look at the insects and write up their finding.

    • Scavenger Hunt – Write a list of all kinds of different objects you might find outside such as leaves, flowers, rocks and set the kids a challenge to find them all.

    Bug Hunt – Lift up rocks, dig around in the leaves and see what insects you can find and them write down and discuss your findings.

    Tree And Leaf Rubbing – Grab some paper and crayons and find all kinds of different tree barks and leaves to rub over with the crayons and compare the different textures.

    Giant Bubbles – If you have a tuff tray or something large enough to hold a hula hoop then make up a bubble mixture using washing up liquid and water. Place the hula hoop inside and make as many giant bubbles as you can.

    Outdoor Gym – Nature gives us a huge array of items we can use to build our own outside gym which allows the children to left off steam and build gross motor skills. Stepping stones from logs, a rope placed between two objects to limbo under, a bench to do tricep dips from a just a few ideas. Let me know what else you would use!

    How To Deal With Men’s Thinning Hair

    I have written before about dealing with my thinning hair, but it is not just woman that have this worry – in fact it is a much bigger problem for men and it’s something they find much harder to talk about.

    There are many reasons that men’s hair begins to thin with the main reason being male pattern baldness. There is currently no cure for this, but there are many things you can do to slow down the process.

    Here are a few things that men can do to slow down the process and deal with thinning hair:

    The Right Hair Cut – hair usually begins to thin around the forehead and on the top of the head. Getting the right haircut is a great way to combat this.

    • Good Diet – as with a lot of things, what we put into our bodies had an effect on what we look like on the outside. A diet high in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, iron and vitamin C will go a long way to retaining those locks.

    Limit Heat Styling – adding heat to the hair with things such as hairdryers and straightness can add extra stress to the hair making the lifespan less, so avoid using these things as much as possible.

    • Hair Pieces – the good way to handle men’s thinning hair for many is to use a hair piece or toupee such as those from Hairbro. They create a full looking head of hair which can boost confidence no end.

    Constant Distraction:Four Coping Strategies For Coping With Tinnitus

    Despite how common tinnitus is, it’s still a mysterious ailment. What exactly causes tinnitus is still unknown. While there are treatment options, a cure to make tinnitus complete go away isn’t yet available.

    Hearing aids are an effective tinnitus treatment for my people afflicted with the aggravating condition. Your audiologist can help you find the right one for your specific needs, as the severity of tinnitus widely varies.

    Tinnitus:A Noise Only Hear

    One reason tinnitus is so hard to treat is because it manifests differently for everyone. Some people hear buzzing or ringing while others have a small orchestra playing in their heads.

    The American Tinnitus Association recognises two types of tinnitus – subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is a noise in the ears that only the patients can ‘hear.’

    Objective tinnitus occurs when others can hear the noises, not just the patient. This type of tinnitus is very rare. Most tinnitus causes are subjective, where only the patient is able to ‘hear’ it.

    Irritants:These Things Can Male Tinnitus Worse

    Just like there are things that can make tinnitus less noticeable, there are things that can make it worse. In the medical community they are know as ‘irritants’ or ‘stimulants’.

    Things that can aggravate your tinnitus include:

    • Anxiety

    • Stress

    • Alcohol

    • Caffeine

    • Smoking

    • Loud Noise

    • Earwax

    • Lack of sleep

    What can tinnitus suffers do to cope with the relentless internal noise?

    Four Tips For Coping With Tinnitus

    Without a cure, patients are left to their own means of finding a way to lessen their tinnitus. Here are four of the coping strategies for tinnitus.

    1. Avoid irritants and other activities that stimulate tinnitus – all of the irritants listed above affect the body in some way that makes the tinnitus worse. Drinking alcohol for example increases blood flow to the inner ear, which can stimulate tinnitus.

    2. Invest in a masking device – hearing aids help reduce tinnitus, but most people don’t wear hearing aids to bed. Quiet times such as when you’re trying to sleep are prime times for tinnitus to kick into high gear. White noise machines or other background noises can help drown out the sound of tinnitus.

    3. Protect your ears by avoiding excessive, loud noises – even if you don’t have any hearing left, loud noises can be dangerous to your inner ear. Protecting your ears from loud noises such as rock concerts or construction can help preserve your hearing and lessen your tinnitus.

    4. Continue interacting with friends and family – tinnitus can be isolating because it makes communicating over the noise in your ears very difficult. However, isolating often leads to depression, which isn’t good for your mental health OR your tinnitus.

    Living With Tinnitus

    Tinnitus is a chronic condition, but it doesn’t have to affect your quality of life. Finding a solution to cope with your tinnitus is essential to managing it. Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy; you may need to try one or more of the coping methods listed above to find one that works for you.

    Finding The Best Kidswear Online

    We might not be able to get out of the house to go shopping at the moment, but that doesn’t stop little bodies and toes growing and needing clothing.

    We have certainly been opting for comfort over the past few weeks of lockdown and with the boys ordinarily living in school uniform and skinny jeans I found myself having to look for clothes that were more suitable for spending time indoors and out in garden.

    Comfy tracksuit bottoms, shorts, T-shirt’s and of course swimming trunks for all this good weather we have been blessed with have become our staples and instead of perusing the shops as we usually would I have taken all my clothes shopping online.

    It has really opened my eyes up to the vast way to can shop online and I have thoroughly enjoyed using my usual stores as well as discovering new ways to shop.

    I have always been a fan of shopping small and Instagram is a great way to find unique children’s wear whist supporting small businesses which is even more important during this time.

    There are also a huge range of preloaded sites available where you can pick up some real bargains as we all know how quickly children grow out of clothes and shoes, or in the boys case trash them within no time at all!

    When my older children were younger I did a fair amount of shopping from catalogues which have now been moved online and it’s not something I really thought about before, but they give you a great variety of clothing choices for all ages and most of these fall into the buy now pay later clothing catalogues which might be an option some of you might want to look at.

    The Best Home Office Locations

    More than ever at the moment people are having to find ways to work from home – with many finding this could actually be a better and more efficient way to work going forward.

    We are currently struggling at the moment as I am ordinarily the one working from home and I’m happy with my workspace in the dining room; but due to my husband having to move his business online and numerous children trying to create workspaces we are all having to move and adapt to cater for everyone.

    This has really got me thinking about how we could make room for extra office space at home and below I have listed a few of the things I find of upmost importance when planning your home office:

    The Perfect Space – First up of course is where are you going to position your office. Have you got a spare room you could utilise? Could you make room in a guest room? Could you transform an area in your dining room? Could you factor in the cost of a loft conversion?

    Home And Work Life Balance – For me it’s crucial to strike up a good home and work life balance, making sure there is a definite divide between your work space and your living space. Sprawling out on the sofa is great for when you’re relaxing but it’s not really conducive to being productive when working.

    Good Connections – Good connections to the outside work are vital so when planing your space you need to ensure there are plenty of plug sockets situated around your desk and there is a good internet connection.

    Lighting – If you can make sure there is a good amount of natural light which is good for a whole range of things. Getting the right artificial light is also imperative to ensure you don’t strain your eyes whilst trying to concentrate on the screen.

    Colour – Colour can evoke a whole range of emotions so when choosing a colour theme for your office you should choose colours they are going to stimulate your imagination and motive you.

    Greenery – Plants are known to promote happiness and give you that feel good factor so go ahead and fill your office with plenty of plants.

    Tidy House, Tidy Mind – This is a moto I always follow and I think it is just as important when it comes to your workspace. Make sure you have plenty of folders and boxes to store things away so that your desk space doesn’t become cluttered and overwhelming.

    What tips would you have for creating a home office?

    Mindfulness With True And The Rainbow Kingdom

    [AD] These are challenging times for us all at the moment, and as adults we can rationalise things and try to put coping mechanisms in place for times when things all get a little to much.

    Sadly for all the little ones going through this it can be even tougher, as it must be so hard to process everything that is going on around them. Their park trips have been cancelled, there is no more school and there is no contact with their family and friends and this must be such a challenge in their little minds.

    One way we can try to ease this for them is to help them find ways to help them relax and focus their minds.

    Frankie has actually suffered with anxiety for many years now, and one thing we have found to be a great help has been mindfulness; and during these times I think that the majority of children could benefit from practicing this.

    Here are just a few ways mindfulness can help:

    Builds Self Control – Mindfulness makes you pay attention to your body and especially breathing systems which we all take for granted. Tuning into these allows us control over over bodies which is a huge help when little ones are feeling overwhelmed.

    Lowers Stress And Anxiety – We all know how much stress and anxiety can take a toll on our bodies and mindfulness can help to regulate blood pressure and lower heart rate.

    • Increase Self-Esteem Mindfulness helps you to think about your emotions and open up to how they are making you feel which in turn builds your confidence and self-esteem.

    With all these benefits you really couldn’t say no to giving it a try, but for me finding a way for little ones to practice this without them getting bored can sometimes be a challenge and this is where True And The Magic Kingdom is a fun and interactive way for them to learn these techniques.

    Tiny Pop has brought True And The Magic Kingdom to our screens, a show produced by the world-renowned artist Pharrell Williams who worked closely with childhood development experts to integrate the concepts of mindfulness into the show.

    True – the hero of the show encourages children to ‘ stop and take a breath’ when they are faced with uncertainty and change and shows them how to deal with things that they are not expecting.

    The Rainbow Kingdom which is home to True is full of hustle and bustle and can be very overwhelming, so at the beginning and end of each show True visits the Wishing Tree which is a haven of love and warmth and demonstrates deep breathing exercises with the children without them really realising what they are practicing.

    Each and every episode includes True’s friend – Zee, who encourages True to STOP, BREATH and THINK about her problems and organise them so they can be dealt with.

    All of these tools that have been integrated into True And The Magic Kingdom to teach young children to stop and think before they act which as we all know isn’t an easy task, but being able to refer back to a favourite TV show to mimic these things is a fantastic way for children to practice these in everyday life and for me this is what is so fantastic about this show, especially with all the changes we are currently facing.

    Tune into Tiny Pop available on FREEVIEW 206| YOUVIEW 206| SKY 616| VIRGIN 736| FREESAT 600 everyday at 8am and 4.30pm

    Do you practice mindfulness with your little ones?

    True And The Rainbow Kingdom™ Guru Studio. © 2020 Guru Studio

    Childcare For Now And The Future With Childcare.co.uk

    [AD] Leaving your children can be one of the most anxious times you are likely to experience during your parenting years. We have that motherly instinct to look after and protect our children and having to take that step and hand the responsibility over someone else can be a really hard task.

    Ultimately though this time will come and as much as it may he heart wrenching for us it is good for our children to mix with others and learn to cope without their immediate family. For many it is also a necessity as we need to go back to work.

    For me one of the best ways to feel happy about passing on one of my precious bundles is to get as much information about the childcare provider as possible and this is were something such as childcare.co.uk is a great service provider.

    Used by over 2 million parents – childcare.co.uk is an award winning online social media networking platform for parents that provides a huge range of childcare in a whole host of forms from babysitting to childminding, nannies to nurseries, maternity nurses to doulas and so much more.

    With the current pandemic childcare may be something that you are thinking about once things are back to normal and this is the perfect time to take a look at everything they have to offer or if you are an NHS/Keyworker then they have a fantastic services that allows you to arrange emergency childcare which couldn’t be more needed right now.

    The site is super east to navigate and once you have registered and created your profile you can search for any of your childcare needs with providers from your local area.

    You can read their profiles to find out a little more about them, and take a look at them from their profile picture which I think is a great addition as it makes you feel more connected straight away.

    Many profiles have reviews attached which is always something I need to see as who better to share experiences with than other parents!

    Finally there is an option to chat online so you can get a feel of the provider before arranging to meet.

    This easy to navigate site offers everything you could want and more and I urge you to take a look for yourselves as I’m sure there is something to fit everyone’s needs.

    Three Destinations To Plan To Visit Outside Of Europe

    [AD] Do you have a bucket list of destinations you’d like to travel to in your lifetime? Although our travel plans may be on hold for a little while, there is nothing to stop you from planning your next getaway as soon as you’re allowed to hop on that plan again! If you’ve seen and done Europe why not take a look at venturing further afield?

    There are countless locations that could be on your must-see list, so to help to choose where to go next, here are a few of my favourite destinations.

    Get Dazzled In Dubai

    Home to the worlds largest mall, tallest building and biggest flower arrangement, there is nothing dull about Dubai.

    With so much on offer – glorious weather, beautiful beaches and stunning skyscrapers to name just a few – there is no doubt that the glitzy UAE emirates will enable you to make memories to last a lifetime.

    Experience The Hustle And Bustle In Bangkok

    If you’re looking for a lively location, Bangkok if the place to be. Thailand’s capital is bustling, so be prepared to get involved in the chaos immediately!

    From awe-inspiring temples to vibrant street food markets, there is something to keep everyone occupied here. If you’d like a little bit more peace and quiet there is always the option to hop on a boat to get to the idyllic islands such as Ko Samui or Ko Tao.

    Search For Different Animals In Sri Lanka

    From surfing to so worshiping there is not much you can do in Sri Lanka. If you have a particular interest in animals we know that you will love nothing more than being able to visit the elephants in Pinnawala, or volunteer with the sea turtle sanctuaries in Kosgoda. When you’re there you can climb sacred mountains, enjoy a cup of tea on a picturesque plantation or simply relax on the beach on the south-east coast when its time to unwind.

    Once you’ve planned all the day trips you’d love to go on, sights you’d like to see and restaurants you can’t wait to experience, there’s still one thing you need to tick off your holiday checklist – the mode of transport to get you to and from the airport comfortably.

    If you are departing from an airport such as Gatwick, opt to travel during less busy times and pic up and off-peak return ticket. Not only will you benefit from a quieter carriage, but your fare may be cheaper too!

    Which destination would you like to travel first?

    A New Way Of Life In Lockdown

    It was only a few weeks ago that I was moaning at my husband for not wanting to get on the tube due to the Coronavirus outbreak – fast forward to now and I have just had sweaty palms and my heart beating out of my chest as I prepared to leave the house to do the weekly shop.

    In such a short space of time the world has been turned upside down in a way none of us could have imagined, at times it feels like we are living in a movie scene.

    I feel grateful that for us it’s being confined under one roof and financial battles that are our only problems as I know that there are far worse situations going on around us and this helps me gain some perspective when things get on top of me.

    I developed a cough and felt unwell around a week before the official lockdown and we are now approaching our third week of social distancing.

    I’m not going to lie, the first few days were pretty horrific. We went from a family that are like ships passing in the night for the majority of the time, to being with each other twenty four hours a day was a huge shock.

    The dining room has had a bit of a turnaround and for the best part of the week is now a training area for my husband to train his clients via Zoom(something neither of us had heard of before) and get some exercise for himself…I need to utilise this more!

    With the youngest two I found early on that structure was key and a loose plan was put in place for their home learning was put in place. This hasn’t been without its tears and tantrums, but on a whole making sure their work is complete before they get free time has been working well. Dad comes into play with the teaching for an hour with a PE session to allow me time to get the house in order and I have been fitting my work in before they wake up, during their break times and once they are all in bed.

    The teens are a bit of a mixed bag and Izzy has been knuckling down independently, getting her set work completed and busying herself with cooking, crafts and helping me with the boys. Archie however has been less compliant. Getting him out of bed is a challenge in itself and trying to get him to work is impossible. I have my fingers crossed that by working together with his teachers we can get things on track after the Easter holidays.

    Food has been a battle ground as for the first two weeks none of us could leave the house and we had to rely on wonderful friends dropping things to us. I have had to ration what we are all eating and it hasn’t gone down well at all. Trying to explain to the children that only having two biscuits a day isn’t going to kill them really isn’t going down well but they are learning to get used to it; as after a very nervous trip to the supermarket, full of people taking little notice of the distance they should be keeping it’s not something I want to be doing to often.

    Trying to keep in touch with the outside world is something I’ve been trying hard to keep up and daily FaceTime calls to family and friends are the new normal. We have a very close relationship with our extended family and not seeing my parents, eldest daughter, grandchildren and my sister has hit us all hard, but keeping in touch virtually is a something we are very thankful for.

    None of us know when this is going to come to an end, but the importance of following these guidelines to protect everybody else is of the upmost importance and if we all hang in there and get this done then hopefully it won’t be long before we can all get back outside to embrace our love ones and enjoy those simply pleasures we are all guilty of taking for granted until now.

    A Personalised Treat For Someone Special This Mother’s Day From Funky Pigeon

    [AD] Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I’m sure lots of you are thinking what you want to get that special person in your life.

    I know for me it is always something personal and sentimental that means so much more than the a huge amount of money being spent with little thought behind it.

    I also love something useful, that isn’t going to get stuck at the back of the cupboard and forgotten about which can sometimes be a tricky combination…I don’t ask for much do I!

    Well after taking a look through the vast range of cards and gifts that personalised tote bag and personalised notebook that caught my eye.

    These days I’m never without my reusable shopping tote and being able to choose my own wording was even better.

    The bag was made from a super thick fabric, was eye catching and would certainly be something I would get a lot of use from everyday, with a lovely reminder that it had come from someone I loved.

    Next up was the note book. I am a sucker for a brand new note book and love jotting down ideas as they come into my head, and it’s makes it even more of a pleasure when you have something as beautiful and high quality as this to write them down in.

    For me usability was key when looking for gifts and Funky Pigeon had got this just right for me. But as I said there is something for everyone and definitely with checking out this Mother’s Day.