Money, money, money!

Lets talk money!

Do you ever feel like a walking wallet to your children?  You only have to step into a shopping centre with a toddler and before you have even stepped foot inside an actual shop, they are pleading with you to spend money on the car/train/plane/boat etc that moves ever so slightly and makes some horrendous noise for all of 2 minutes, while you stare at the space in your purse where the money used to be!  I’m actually a totally mean mummy and let my girls sit on said rides, but always tell them I don’t have the coins for it, especially as most of them now cost £2!! 

But as my eldest daughter is now 4, she asks further questions about money and says things like “we could just go and get some money mummy”.  Or as we have discussed that people go to work to get money, she says “After you have gone to work can I get that toy?”. 

I don’t believe that their are particular set ages to begin talking about topics with your children, as I think every child is different and you should base it on when they begin to be interested in certain topics.  But I am curious of what age everyone tends to start to talk about money with their children and begins to teach them financial responsibility.

Teaching children financial responsibility

One way many parents choose to do this is to give children pocket money, or an allowance of a set amount per week.  Personally I never had this growing up and it is not really something I plan to do for my girls, but I do plan to give my children responsibility of money from time to time.

I have started giving my eldest daughter some money every now and then, to put in her own purse in her own little bag.  This means she has an idea of what I mean when I say “I don’t have money for that”.  If she has £1 in her purse and wants a Kinder egg and buys it, then the money is gone and she can’t then put it in the ride etc.  So she can make her own decisions and learn through the experience.  She is always so proud when she has her own coins in her purse and I like the fact she is learning a sense of responsibility at such a young age (4years).img_9977

However, I did once take her into a shop with her £1 in her purse and she found a lovely thing, but in the total chaos that is negotiating a queue, till, purse, pushchair and walking child, I totally forgot to let her pay for it and whipped out my contactless card! Total fail as she then points out she needs to pay while we begin to walk away.  Luckily a quick whisper and pleading glance at the shop assistant and she managed to take the coin and then discreetly hand it back to me, without my daughter realising (thank you kind shop lady!).  Maybe I need to learn a few lessons in financial responsibility!

I have really enjoyed talking with my daughter about, what money is, why we have money, where we get money from, where we keep money and what things need money. 


Money activities to do with pre-schoolers:

  • Looking at coins – coin rubbing:

A while ago I did a money activity with both my daughters (1yr and 4yrs) where we looked closely at coins.  It is one of those activities that once you start it, you realise just how much there is to talk about.  We used metallic pencils to make Coin rubbings of all the different coins and stuck chocolate money wrappers onto the picture too.  While doing it we talked about the sizes, shapes, colours, numbers, writing and pictures on the coins.  It is a great ‘Spot the differences’ activity and also great for number recognition.

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  • Playing with purses, wallets and bags:

Playing with a Clippy purse is great for fine motor skills, as opening and closing them is actually quite tricky for little fingers (see our top 20 fine motor skill activities here).  And the same goes for velcro, press stud or zip wallets and bags, opening and closing these fastenings is all good fine motor practice and also great for teaching independence and helping children learn to dress themselves too.

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  • Playing shops / cafes:

My girls love playing with their till, shopping basket and toy food.  It is also a great opportunity to practise counting, especially if you make your shop a Pound Shop!  My eldest really enjoys lining up her toys in a queue at the till and taking their orders for food in a cafe too.  We use this activity to practice word recognition, reading and writing too as she reads and copies shopping lists and cafe menus.

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Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Fine Motor Skills – Pre-Writing Skills

One of the things parents are often keen to tick off in the developmental checklist for their babies, is when they develop the ‘pincer grip’ and can pick up individual little things like cheerios, peas etc with ease and can then start to manipulate objects with their fingers.

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We love cheerios!

This is the first step in the development of your child’s FINE MOTOR SKILLS.

Why are parents so concerned about pincer grip?  Well in addition to picking up individual cheerios, the pincer grip helps the child develop the tripod grip (combined use of the index, thumb and middle finger, leaving the fourth and the little finger tucked into the palm stabilising the other fingers but not used in grip) required to hold a pencil and manipulate it with maximum efficiency.

So what are fine motor skills?

Motor skills are movements and actions of the muscles, these are categorised into two groups: gross motor skills (movement and co-ordination of arms, legs and other large body parts) and fine motor skills (smaller movements such as hands, fingers and toes).  One important point to note is that before children can gain full control over their fine motor skills in their hands they need to work on the muscles in their shoulders and back (upper body strength), so movements like making big circles with pom poms, scarves and ribbons and twirling are really good for this.

  • In order to write comfortably and hold a pencil well, children need to develop muscle control in their hands.
  • Developing hand arches – There are 3 arches in the hand, one is rigid but the others are flexible.  These need developing and strengthening so children have the stability and mobility required for writing, gripping and lifting.

What you quickly realise when your children start to write is that fine motor skills are REALLY important and I recently realised that I had become a bit complacent over my eldest daughter’s fine motor skills; she is only 4 and her independent writing and use of scissors are both really good and she has great control, so I thought everything was fine.  But then I realised just how poor her pencil grip was and although she has great control when writing, she is obviously only writing small amounts at the moment and when she is older and writing for long periods of time, if I don’t help her to improve her pen grip and build up those muscles, then her hands are going to be really sore and she will struggle with writing.

At the same time, I am not going to be there constantly rearranging her fingers and standing over her when she is writing, that will just make her uncomfortable and turn what she currently sees as a fun activity into a task!  So if I’m not going to do this, how can I help her? – through Fine motor skills activities and play.

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Pick a clothes peg up and you can easily get the correct grip on the peg, squeeze and open it, hand the peg to your child however and they may struggle.  When starting to do fine motor skill activities with your children you quickly realise just how often you use these movements/muscles everyday yourself and how important they are.  Just think how often you use one of these spray bottles! –

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Here are our top 20 favourite Fine Motor Activities:

Top 5 for hand arch strength:

  • Using tweezers to pick things up and sort objects (see image)
  • Using clothes pegs to attach things together
  • Using small hole punches to make patterns in coloured paper (see image)
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Spraying things with trigger action bottles, such as diluted paint (see image above)

Top 5 for control and hand-eye coordination:

  • Threading beads onto pipe cleaners
  • Putting cheerios onto spaghetti/ pipe cleaners/ kebab sticks (see image)
  • Putting paperclips onto toilet rolls or other objects
  • Poking straws/pipe cleaners into a colander (see image)
  • Weaving material or laces

Other favourites:

  • Painting with cotton buds (see image)
  • Playing with Play doh
  • Playing with stickers (see image)
  • Making pasta necklaces
  • Using squirters/pipettes/droppers
  • Practising doing up zips and buttons
  • Playing with spinning tops (see image)
  • Playing with clippy purses and bags
  • Popping bubble wrap (see image)
  • Sensory play writing with fingers in shaving foam

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Twin Mummy and Daddy

Making your own SNOW – Fine motor – Messy play – Science – Cornflour and Water

After our little flurry of Snow the other day, I thought I would do a fine-motor and messy play activity with my girls, so I thought the perfect activity would be playing with Cornflour and Water to make our own SNOW!

img_9272Depending on how much water you add, cornflour takes on a number of different consistencies and properties, so it is perfect for sensory messy play as well as developing fine motor skills and even teaching Science, so that is a lot of skill sets ticked with just one activity!

Before getting to the fluffy, snow stage (a sort of powdery material which is mouldable to small extent, a bit like sand) we had fun exploring the other properties of the magical mixture of Cornflour&Water which like snow appears to melt and looks liquid, but then (unlike snow) becomes solid again!

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When you have the consistency correct (just keep adding water a little at a time, or more cornflour if you get carried away) you create a NON-NEWTONIAN FLUID:

– The large Cornflour particles are suspended in the water, they are floating around so it creates a sort of SLIME liquid!  This is because the particles are packed close together but they are still able to move around.  When you leave the mixture to sit on the tray or just sit in your hands it appears to melt because the particles have time to move past each other.  However, when you pick some up from the tray, or try to make a ball, the sudden pressure forces the water to flow quickly away, but the cornflour particles don’t have enough time to move out of the way, so they stay temporarily packed like a solid.

Create your own Melting Snowballs! – By using Cornflour and Water to make a liquid that is also a solid (a Non-newtonian fluid) you can create ‘magical melting snowballs’.

– Try to make a ball by scooping up the mixture and rolling it in the palms of your hands, the pressure will make it solid and keep it in the shape of a ball, but as soon as you stop rolling it, it will ‘melt’ and trickle back through your fingers.

After we had lots of fun with this, I added more cornflour to get a more fluffy dry material and we added some blue food colouring too.img_9295                                     img_9298 unadjustednonraw_thumb_22f5

Want to have a go yourself?

All you need is Cornflour (I picked up a box at Asda for 75p), some water and a tray (I picked up a tray at Asda for £1), you can also add some food colouring if you like.

Worried about the mess?

Don’t worry, it mostly stays on the tray and any drops that don’t will dry up and can be easily wiped up or hoovered.  It really isn’t as messy as it looks (in terms of cleaning up).

Have a go and make your own Magical Melting Snowballs!

One of those school dates you don’t want to forget.

Now every parent will tell you that their children are beautiful.  But, we all know that sometimes our gorgeous little people are a real scruffy mess: uncombed hair, snotty noses, toothpaste down their clothes, well loved (overworn) clothes that have seen better days, the list goes on.  So, although we all endeavour to dress our children somewhat nicely and ensure they are well presented, lets face it, it doesn’t always go to plan.  Mornings can be so crazy sometimes that you just reach into their wardrobe with that one ‘spare’ hand you have, as the other hand holds the baby/your cold cup of tea/dry piece of toast/onto the wriggling child/well you get the picture.  Then you plonk the first outfit that comes to hand onto said wriggling child.

So….. my beautiful eldest daughter who has the most amazing curly hair, usually turns up at Pre-school looking very neat and tidy.  I usually wash, comb and plait her hair in the bath the night before so it looks lovely in the morning.  I usually lay out a nice outfit for her to wear the night before, so I can just grab and go.  I usually spend time carefully selecting some pretty hair clips and bobbles that will go with her outfit.

But!

This Monday I didn’t do any of those things.  We had been out shopping and for dinner on Sunday so by the time we got home both girls were asleep in the car, so it was a very shortened bedtime: no bath, no hair washing etc.  The baby is teething so I was up most of the night.  In the morning I grabbed the first outfit that came to hand, scooped up her uncombed (I’m talking one step away from dreadlocks) hair into a scruffy (not by design) bun and shoved in some Peppa pig clips.

It’s fine I thought, It’s Pre-school I thought, she comes out covered in paint anyway I thought.

I thought WRONG!

I get to the School gates and my friend starts talking about how she had put gel in her child’s hair this morning but it still wouldn’t lay straight, I’m thinking, what are you talking about.  Then she drops the bombshell that leaves me mortified.

Today is school photo day!!!!!

I live half an hour walk away, there is no time to go home, there is no option to change her awful top, or do her hair, I just about have time to grab a baby wipe and ensure her face isn’t covered in toothpaste and weetabix.  Then I say goodbye.

As all the other mums chatter about “I hope they smile”, “It’s their FIRST EVER school photo so I’ll buy it no matter what”, I think

SH*@

Mortified, gutted

Didn’t even have chance to prep her on how to smile – we’re currently going through a, not so beautiful, gurning stage whenever someone says “say cheese” 😦

Well, I now have a very uncomfortable wait until the photos come back.  Maybe we won’t be giving them as christmas presents to the grandparents this year.

Total Mummy Fail!

Take my advice parents; DO NOT FORGET SCHOOL PHOTO DAY!

 

My first blog post!

Hello, is anyone out there? 🙂

This is my first ever blog post ,so I thought I would start with a little HELLO and some general information about me and why I am starting this blog.

I am a mummy of two little girls (toddler and baby) and my husband frequently (and often as comeback in an argument!) likes to remind me that I have my dream job – a Stay At Home Mum.  It is true, I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing than spending time with my girls and I am dreading the day when I have to go back to working a ‘proper job’.

My eldest daughter recently started Pre-School and it was that milestone which first sparked the idea for this blog.  To give some background to that, my daughter is never really left with anyone else, because we don’t have any family living near by and I am a SAHM.  So a lot of people expected her to have a hard time starting Pre-School.  But she took to it even better than I had expected, not a single tear was shed by either her or me!  This and other things happening at the time with friends’ children led to me being asked a lot of questions like: “How did you prepare her for Pre-School?”, “How do you get her to behave well at the park?” and “How does she know all those letter sounds etc.”.

So, I decided to vlog some top tips and dos & don’ts on helping your children start Pre-School.  It was/is very rough as I had never filmed anything before and my phone kept running out of storage.  But, the process made me realise that I wasn’t being big headed; I actually had a lot of good advice to share.  I know I am a good mum, I know being a mum is bloody hard work and I know that my children aren’t perfect, but I have learnt a lot along the way that I can share with others.  So here it is 🙂

I have created a YouTube channel where I am making videos specifically for children, teaching them everything a preschooler needs to know in a fun way; All children love it when their toys ‘come to life’ so follow the adventures of my toddlers’ toys as they go to Pre-School and learn all about colours, numbers, phonics and more.  I am also making videos for parents, sharing tips and advice I have picked up along the way and activities I do with my children, all things toddler & baby!

Please let me know what you think of my blog posts and videos, I would love to hear some feedback from some other mummys and daddys.

Anna 🙂