We're Going On A Nature Hunt

It may be cold out and it may be an expensive time of year, but that doesn't have you mean you are stuck in the confines of your home - especially if you have children. Noah and Ava crawl the walls if they are stuck indoors so we are always out and about - no matter the weather!

There are countless free and exciting things you can do with your children, right on your doorstep. A favourite of ours is an activity that I like to call "nature I spy" and although it's pretty self-explanatory I decided to write about it as it was very popular on my Instagram stories on the day.

This activity is suitable for most children as it's easy to adapt it to your child's age and what level they are at - you know your own children and their capabilities. For example, Noah had written words and mathematical questions, whereas, Ava had simple hand-drawn pictures with tick boxes. I chose to use cardboard that was in our recycling bin as I like to reuse where I can, however, I'm sure others would prefer to print lists from the internet. You can also make this into a quick activity, or make a whole day of it.

So, all you need is a few bits of cardboard, a couple of pencils, your wellies, hats, gloves and coats and you are ready to go. It's a quick, easy and free activity - one which is fun, educational, and ideal for all the family. It can add more excitement to regular walks, is great for stretching your legs, getting fresh air and creating fond memories with your children.

Is My Child Ready for Nursery?

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Whether you’ve got one child or more, this question is one that pains many parents. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a parent, the desire to do your absolute best for your child will always be present and as a result, many parents are beset by doubts around this subject.

Children are so different in themselves, that you can’t judge a child until the time comes – the most outgoing and relaxed baby isn’t necessarily going to find nursery a breeze. Similarly, babies who are clingy or grumpy might thrive immediately in a nursery environment. The best indicators for whether your child is ready for nursery are as follows – just ask yourself these questions.

· Is my child potty-trained? Or even on the way to potty trained? If your child can reliably indicate before she or he needs to visit the toilet, then that’s a very good sign that they are nursery ready. It means they’ve matured enough both physically and cognitively to be able to communicate their needs and to understand their own bodies a little. If your child is late to learn, try not to worry. Speak to your nursery and ask for their advice.

· Can my child confidently approach others? Or are they very shy? Don’t worry too much if they are very shy – many children lose this tendency as they grow. It’s one of the reasons we send them to nursery.

· Does my child enjoy playing with other children? Not all children do! Especially the smallest. Some children take a little longer to learn the complexities of social interaction. Turn-taking and keeping control of their temper are the very basics and a nursery can help a child to get to grips with socialisation.

· Does my child speak well? Verbal skills are another which can vary hugely from child to child. Some children of three can speak clearly and in long sentences. Others might still be very limited. If you are worried about your child’s speaking skills, talk to your Health Visitor or GP before you enroll them. But it’s another area which can be greatly improved by attending nursery.

All children are different but one thing most of them have in common is a deep love of order. They may seem chaotic but children thrive on routine. They like knowing what comes next. Nursery provides that order and routine and children quickly learn how to manage in a shared space and to enjoy the systems in place. As this Montessori nursery in Twickenham teaches, children are resilient and thrive with shared responsibilities as well as shared learning opportunities.

Eating with other children, regular story and song times are all hugely enjoyable activities and when your child gets used to the new routine, you’ll find that they look forward to attending.