Sunday, 29 April 2018

Our visit to Oceans Coffee and Waffle House, Cheddleton

It was the last week day of the Easter holidays, it was wet and cold and we didn't have any plans. So after a morning playing at home, I decided to treat the children to a lunch with a difference! Off we went to one of our favourite local places for a sweet treat, Oceans Coffee and Waffle House, situated in picturesque Cheddleton in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Oceans was only opened in February 2017 by businessman and Castros Restaurant owner, Jamie Bateman, after he noticed a gap in the market. It already has a legion of fans! I remember the "wafflemania" that surrounded its opening and its first few weeks, and I loved seeing all their updates and unique creations on social media! 

So as a mum who loves all things cake related, it would only be fair to inflict my sweet-tooth upon the children! We've been a few times and I'm still working my way through their menu, so I thought I'd let you all know a bit about our latest visit.
We arrived to find plenty of parking in the purpose built car park right next to Oceans and Castros. It's always a relief when you find a space, because a full car park usually means a busy waffle house and a wait to find a seat! On a drizzly day like today, we didn't fancy sitting in the outside seating area, although the views of the Caldon canal are fab!

Easter holidays, part 3: Just the three of us!

So with Hubby back at work for the final week of the Easter holidays, it was up to me to entertain the kids...and the dog! Again, we stayed close to home because of the pup, but we had a lot of fun and managed to catch up with friends this week too. Here's what the three of us got up to.

Monday

Stan was beyond excited to have a birthday play date with two of his school friends. He had lots of fun, after an initial wobble, and his mum kept me updated with photos and videos! It was the first time I'd left him with someone who he's never played with outside of school before so was quite new to both of us! 

I took Rosie to get the car cleaned and we snuck off to the pub next door for a girls' lunch while we waited! We had a lovely little walk around Endon village and saw where they dress the well every year too.


Tuesday

You might have guessed by now that we love a free library event and today was a great one! We met up with Stan's mate Harry, his baby brother and his lovely mum, for a robot-hunting, badge, harmonica and catapult making afternoon! 
Harry was over the moon to come second in the Lego man catapulting competition, shooting his little man second furthest! It was so much fun and it even inspired Stan to make his own robot hunt as soon as he got home!

Wednesday

The children started the day by befriending a woodlice they found in the bath! "Please can we keep it for a pet Mummy?" If I'd have know they were so easily pleased, I wouldn't have bothered with the puppy! 
In the afternoon, the weather was rubbish so we popped along to a local church fete for something to do. Stan and Rosie enjoyed decorating (and demolishing) biscuits, we spent a fortune on the lucky dip and tombola then Rosie had her face painted! She looked adorable as a butterfly and she was quite upset to wash it off at bedtime!

When Hubby got home from work, we teamed up to take Dottie for her first walk in public, now that her injections were giving her the protection she needed. She was quite hesitant at first, but with a few treats and a bit of coaxing Dottie was getting used to all the new sights and sounds around her. Hubby obviously felt so masculine, walking his tiny pocket dog! Haha! 

Thursday

There's a great little place in our town centre called Kidovation, based in the Ruff and Ruby Rooms, Hanley. It's an imaginative playspace for the under 7s, with a role play area, sand and water area, soft play section, reading space, bouncy castle, trikes and bikes and lots more. It's part of a youth charity called Ruff and Ruby, whose aim is to support and inspire young people across the city to believe in themselves and change their futures. It's a lovely, positive playspace to take the children to, and despite being in the middle of the shopping centre, it never feels overcrowded or crazy like many soft play areas! We spent a few hours here catching up with friends, having a cuppa and a natter while the kids played. 

We ended the day with another walk with Dottie - she was starting to get the hang of "walkies" so we used this as an excuse to go a bit further to the the shops for ice-cream! 

Friday

What's the best thing to do on a grey, drizzly day to round off the holidays? Go for waffles of course! I treated the children to an amazing cookie topped, ice cream covered waffle from one of our favourite  places, Oceans Coffee and Waffle House, in nearby Cheddleton

After our fill of yummy stickiness, we went for a walk by the canal behind the waffle house. We love a canal walk, so I let the kids investigate the locks up close and we wandered up and down for a bit before it started to rain again! You can read more about our experience in our post, Our visit to Oceans Coffee and Waffle House.
Then it was off home to Dottie the Dachshund for a play and cuddles before bed. Stanley and Rosie have already fallen in love with her, and they miss her when she's not with us! 


Saturday

One of my favourite places to go with the family is a place near us called Tittesworth Reservoir in Meerbrook. You can do the 4.2 mile circular walk around the reservoir but it takes around three hours. So we usually just do the first section and back which is buggy and scooter friendly! There's a visitor centre, restaurant and massive park, along with picnic and BBQ areas which are fab in the summer! 

This time though, we decided to take the puppy for her first proper trip out! We met up with one of my friends and her two boys who had bought Dottie a present! All the kids had a great time walking Dottie and chasing her across the grass. We stopped for a little sit down on a "sofa" carved out of wood, complete with wooden cushions! 
After a little walk, a picnic and a play in the park, it was time for ice cream! Well, the sun had made an appearance so it would be rude not to! Rosie ended up wearing most of hers as you can see! I'd still kiss those sticky chops though! 
It was so nice to catch up with friends we hadn't seen for a while. The children always get on really well too! We must do it more often! With everyone totally worn out, we went home to join Hubby who had been working all day. Everyone slept well that night! 


Sunday

With Hubby working again today, Nanny B treated us to a trip out to Snugbury’s Ice Cream for a cone of Cheshire's finest ice cream, and to visit the Peter Rabbit sculpture. The family have been building amazing sculptures in their field for over 10 years! This one is 38ft tall, with a 10ft tall carrot and was build to celebrate Beatrix Potter's 150th birthday. 
I let the kids loose with their wellies on and we all took a muddy walk with the puppy to see Peter Rabbit up close. You used to be able to go right up to the sculptures, but unfortunately this one had to be rebuilt after a senseless arson attack which destroyed it. Now it's fenced off and covered by CCTV. Why are there always people that have to ruin things for others? 
We walked back to the converted barn ice cream shop to choose our treat from over 40 flavours! Rosie just wanted a "Peppa Pig" ice cream so it was simple strawberry for her and a chocolate chip one for Stanley. 

We stopped off for an emergency shopping trip to buy things to make a vet's costume for Stan for his first day back. They had a "dress up as what you want to be when you're older" day, and like lots of busy mums...I forgot about it until now! With help from Nanny B, we created a little vet's coat from a school shirt and ribbon, and found a green long sleeved top to put underneath! With a few props, he was sorted! I don't think we did a bad job considering it was very last minute!
It was soon time to go home to pack school bags, iron uniform then it was bath, book and bed before school in the morning. At bedtime, we had a lovely chat about all the exciting things we had done together over the Easter holidays. It was so nice to hear from the children themselves what they had enjoyed. Here's to May half term when we can do it all again!

Finding joy in the little things: This week we found joy in lots of little things. Just spending time together, catching up with good friends and their lovely children was so nice. I really enjoyed having some proper quality time with Stan too. Since he's been at school in September, and with most weekend being so busy and fast paced, we don't have much time to do all these kinds of activities any more. It was nice to just slow down a bit, not have to get up for the school run or sort uniforms, and just chill to our own beat, enjoying each other's company.




I'm linking up this post with these fabulous blogs, because #itsok not to be the "perfect" parent! Your children don't need to "have it all" because having you is enough. 
Mummascribbles Bringing up Georgia

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Easter holidays, part 2: Staying close to home

Wow, the Easter holidays seem like a long time ago already don't they? We've all been back to work and school for a week now so this post is a little late. 

Part of the reason for starting our blog at Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles was to keep a record of some of the things we do that make us happy. Life is just flying past at the moment, and I don't really keep a diary which is a shame as my memory is terrible, and I honestly forget some of the wonderful things we get up to. Some days I'm so busy, I forget to just stop for a moment to take it all in! 

I have photos from most days out or special events but they tend to live in my phone or some virtual space somewhere! I need to get my act together and print them out but there's not enough time in the world to sort through and print them all! So starting an online diary of sorts seemed like a great way to remember the fun family things we get up to. 

I wrote about our Bank Holiday weekend in our post, Easter holidays, part 1: Keeping it local! So, here are the highlights from the first week of our Easter holidays. Hubby was off work for the first week too so we tried to pack as much in as possible, staying close to home because of the new puppy! 


Tuesday

Hubby got on with some DIY and Dottie had her injections in the afternoon meaning we could take her out in public a week from then. We spent the rest of the day at home, and the kids had fun with the playdough. Then we had the in-laws over for a takeaway in the evening! A nice relaxed day after a busy Bank Holiday. 


Wednesday

We got up early, put on our wellies and took the kids to the Roaches in Staffordshire for a wet, muddy walk in the rain. 
It's so beautiful up there, and the view out across Tittesworth Reservoir is stunning. Hubby took me there in the snow once when we first got together 13 years ago...talk about dicing with death! At 2 and 4 years old though, the view was lost on the children! 
They were a bit annoyed at getting wet and muddy so early in the day, but we like to take them on character-building walks occasionally as you may have read about in our post about a trip to Rudyard Lake! A bit of fresh air did us all good though and somehow, no one fell over! 
As a reward for perseverance, we took them to soft play to warm up and play while Mummy and Daddy had breakfast. This was my bribe to get Hubby to agree to take them... he's not a fan of soft play! I think I won him over though because he said it was the best cooked breakfast in town...and he's tried most of them! High praise indeed! Well done Leaps and Bounds in Leek! 

We popped home to see to Dottie and the kids played with her until we decided last minute to go swimming! It was 4pm by the time we arrived at Dimensions, Stoke-on-Trent but that didn't bother the kids. With armbands on, they were ready to take on the splash pool, rapids and dragon water slide! I was ready to take on the hot tub personally, but that had to wait until daredevil Rosie had had her fix of the water flume! I've never known such a fearless 2 year old, she surprises me every day! 

I think this was my favourite family day of the holidays! We were all shattered on the way home so KFC provided tea and the kids were put straight to bed when we got in. We weren't too far behind ourselves! 


Thursday

We woke up to the first day of sunshine we'd had since last week, so decided to put our Merlin passes to good use before they run out in a few weeks. We set off for Alton Towers, but as we soon found out, so did everyone else! After queuing a while to get into the carpark, we finally made it in and headed to CBeebies Land

Rosie was so happy to finally be 90cm, so she could finally enjoy all the same rides as her brother instead of watching. What a nice way for her to end our year of Merlin fun! Hopefully we'll fit in one more visit before they run out. After a few hours in the sunshine, playing in the arcades, eating doughnuts, and queuing for rides, we came back home to our waiting pup and played in the garden until bedtime. 
The great thing about having the passes is that we don't feel bad for only spending 3 hours or so out, or skipping rides because of queues, because we can go back any time to visit the other attractions. This is perfect while the puppy is so young too, meaning she's not alone for too long.


Friday  

Friday was a chilled out day after a few days of fun. We took Dottie to the local pet shop to get her kitted out for her first walk. She was treated to a harness, lead and little jumper as it was still quite wet and cold. 
We spent the rest of the day in the garden playing with the puppy, testing out her harness and practising on the lead. Hubby painted the shed and mowed the lawn, and just generally pottered about doing jobs!


Saturday 

Hubby was out for the day working on a landscaping job for family, so I took the kids to Hanley Library to change their books. Since having kids, I've rediscovered the library... it's a fab, free place to take the children. They love choosing books and going to the events that they put on. Read our post on the kids' top 5 favourite picks for April to hear about the kind of books they love. 

We popped into the supermarket for a cheap and cheerful lunch and picked up a couple of gingerbread biscuits for later. The children enjoyed them back at home with a few episodes of their favourite programme at the moment... Waffle the Wonder Dog, and I caught up on some washing! There's always so much more when Stanley is off school and the Hubby is at home! 


Sunday

With Hubby working again, we went to one of our favourite local places, Jackson’s Nurseries and Tea Room in Bagnall. We had tea and homemade cake in the tea rooms and a play in their little park, taking advantage of the rare glimpse of sunshine! 
The peacocks were in full display today too! It was nice to break up the day for a couple of hours and let Stanley and Rosie run off some energy! 


So our week off together was lovely! A great mix of adventure, excitement and downtime, and all on our doorstep. Hubby was off to his usual job the next day, so our second week of the holidays would be just the three of us! You can read about what we got up to in our post, Easter holidays, part 3: Just the three of us.

Finding joy in the little things: Ah, so many little things brought me joy this week! But most of all, it was having Hubby home with us for a whole week! The children adore their dad and love spending proper, quality time with him. 

The other highlight was seeing how much fun the children had with new experiences like the water slide. I admired their bravery and stamina... I lost count of how many times I was dragged up the steps to the top! 

The kids really did find joy in the little things this week. This time last year we were in Majorca, but this week has proven that staying local can be just as much fun and just as rewarding.

What are your favourite local places to visit? Do you have any hidden gems? I'd love to hear about them!




I'm linking up this post with these fabulous blogs, because #itsok not to be the "perfect" parent! Your children don't need to "have it all" because having you is enough. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Top 5 story books for children under 5: Our April picks

We love a good children's book in this house! Both my children, S (almost 5) and R (2 and a half), have always enjoyed listening to stories and looking at books. Our collection at home is growing rapidly, and each of the children have their favourites. However, since joining the library, they are finding it hard to pin down just one story book that they love the most! Inspired by the Bath, Book, Bed campaign run by BookStartI have decided to write a round-up of my children's favourites each month. Here are our April picks for children under 5.


A selection of books we chose for our April under 5s favourites

Shark in the Park (Author/Illustrator: Nick Sharratt)

We love this book! In fact, I think we may have borrowed it from the library about 5 times! (Probably about time I actually bought them a copy, right?!) 

It's a "boy who cried wolf" type story about Timothy Pope and what he sees (or maybe he doesn't?) through his telescope. We absolutely love the sing-song rhymes and the repetition which encourages the kids to join in. We also love the little cut-out spy hole which lets you glimpse a little of what Timothy is looking at. Is it really a shark fin...or is it Dad's hair?

The illustrations are fun, smiley, bold and captivating, with so much to look at on each page. My children particularly like the clever surprise at the end...but I won't spoil that for you! Go and borrow a copy (or better still, buy one) - you will love it!


Dinosaur Roar! (Author/ Illustrator: Henrietta and Paul Stickland)

What a lovely little surprise this was! This is a perfect picture book for reading aloud together, especially if you have a dinosaur fan! It's more of an introduction to all sorts of dinosaurs than a narrative, told through cheerful rhyme with vivid pictures to entertain even the youngest listeners. 


Young boy reading Dinosaur Roar! on the sofa.

The book has a beautiful simplicity in its writing; the detail comes from the author's use of adjectives and opposites, with charming and funny watercolor pictures of the dinosaurs. All three of us enjoyed this book so much, we read it cover-to-cover three times in a row! 


There's a Monster in your Book (Author: Tom Fletcher, Illustrator: Greg Abbott)

Well, I don't know about the children but I've found a new favourite! A little blue monster has found a home in this book and it's up to the reader to get him out! But where will he end up? 

This beautifully illustrated, interactive story had us shaking the book, spinning it round and even tickling the monster's feet to get him out of the book! R loved joining in with all the instructions, especially when asked to make a loud noise to scare the monster away!

What starts as a mission to get the monster out of the book, becomes a more gentle quest to get the monster to sleep. It's a great, giggle-inducing book for bedtime and we really enjoyed it! 


The Everywhere Bear (Author: Julia Donaldson, Illustrator: Rebecca Cobb)

Julia Donaldson is such a brilliant author; she's a firm favourite in our house and this is another of her stories that will be on our shelf for years to come. This is such a lovely story, and one S totally related to as his class also have a bear like the Everywhere Bear.  


Toddler lying on floor looking at pictures in The Everywhere Bear.

The story is about a class bear who goes home with a different child each weekend. You know the type, the one that gets sent home with a diary that every parent dreads?! Well, in this story the Everywhere Bear gets lost one day and goes on an adventure of his very own. Will he ever make it back to Class One?

In true Donaldson style, the story is told through joyful rhymes which captivate young readers. No detail is left out in the beautiful, crayon drawings, from facial expressions to pictures on the walls. My two particularly liked the detail in the Polaroid style photos of each character and had fun matching them up to the text as I read it. It's a gentle, engaging story which we all really enjoyed.


Spot Visits his Grandparents (Author/Illustrator: Eric Hill)

This one is one of R's favourites! She loves the Spot the Dog books and all the bold, colourful lift-the -flap fun! 

Young girl reading a Spot the Dog book on the sofa.

In this story, Spot visits his Grandma and Grandpa. R's favourite part is when Spot breaks Grandpa's shed window with his ball, and in true grandchild-grandparent style, the pair make it their little secret! 

Spot has a lovely time helping in the garden and reading stories with his Grandpa, much like my children do! This is one reason we like Spot books because even my 2 year old can relate to the events in the story. 


For more bedtime story ideas, why not pop along to The Mum Diaries blog, where they post a photo of the bedtime story they enjoyed up on their Facebook page each evening! There are some fab ideas for April in the post called #TheMumDiariesBedtimeStories.

Don't forget to check out BookTrust's list of best bedtime books for 2018 on their website. What are your children's favourite bedtime stories? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. It might give us an idea of what to hunt out on our trip to the library next month!


Finding joy in the little things: My daughter has just started retelling her favourite stories! She often repeats the bits that tug at her heartstrings, showing me she is really starting to understand emotions and how the world works! When she talks about the Spot story, she keeps saying. "Oh no! Spot broke the window with the ball!" So we've talked about accidents and what they are and she seems to understand! I love how both children are becoming little book worms! Long may it continue...




I'm linking up this post with these great blogs:

 Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Easter holidays, part 1: Keeping it local!

Well, we've had a really busy, fun-filled first week of the Easter holidays! As you may know, we welcomed Dottie the Dachshund puppy into our home a few weeks ago so we decided to stay local for our holidays this time. Hubby had a long awaited week off work so we looked forward to doing lots of things together. Here are some of the things we got up to over the long Easter weekend; maybe it will give you some ideas for what to look out for in your local area.


Good Friday 

I have been taking the kids to a local church playgroup on Tuesday mornings for a few years now, and although I don't follow a faith, they are such a welcoming group of people. So, we have started going along to their Messy Church events which are held once a month. This month was Easter themed, and full of great activities for the children to take part in. The whole event is free but we always make a donation, as so much effort and resources go into running it. 


Stanley constructed a cross made out of pegs and lollipop sticks then had fun knocking it over! Both kids made an Easter wreath out of paper plates and decorated a paper bag ready for the egg hunt later. Rosie was in her element when they were invited to make rocky road for everyone to share later. Hot cross buns, homemade shortbread, tea and juice were next! 

Everyone was invited to a short but very child-orientated Easter service in the church as the volunteers set up for the next activity. As I said, I'm not really religious but the stories are always full of morals and it's great for the children to learn about different faiths...and to practise sitting quietly! Afterwards, we all took part in the Easter egg hunt outside. 

The children had to find 3 laminated eggs numbered 1 to 3, in exchange for an Easter egg at the end of the hunt! They were well hidden, it took us ages to find two full sets! We were rewarded for our efforts with a soup and bread lunch (for a small donation) with more hot cross buns and the rocky road the children had helped to make earlier! We all had a great time! I'd fully recommend you search out your local Messy Church events, even if you are not religious. The events are such good value and all the people that go are so friendly and welcoming.


Easter Saturday 

Hubby surprised the children by booking tickets to see Peter Rabbit at the cinema in the morning. They were very excited, although I think Rosie was more excited about all the popcorn! A family ticket isn't really bad value, especially as a treat. We armed ourselves with the obligatory bucket of popcorn, a pick and mix (expensive from the cinema - you could keep costs down by stocking up on the 3 for a £1 bags of sweets from the supermarkets...we weren't that organised!) a drink for the kids and a coffee for me! Our cinema has booster seats which are great for the little ones, although I recommend you roll up a jacket or jumper and put it behind their backs, to fill in the gap between them and the back rest. We really enjoyed the film! It kept both the children engaged and I enjoyed it too! Rosie ate more than her own weight in popcorn I'm sure, and the sweets took a hammering too! 

Our local cinema is right next to the bowling alley, so we chanced there being a lane free... and surprisingly for a bank holiday, there was! We opted for just one game as Rosie had already sat through a whole film and I didn't think she had two games in her! At her age (2 1/2), one game is usually enough before she gets bored. We let the children use the little ball ramps; an unfair advantage for me I though as I came last! Good job the sides were up too as it could have been even more embarrassing... especially as Hubby seemed to have his A-Game on and scored about 8 strikes!! We finished off our afternoon with a sharing platter of burgers and wedges from the bowling alley, and a little play in the arcades. 

For a fun family day out, check out your local cinema and bowling alley. Lots of cinemas have the weekend saver sessions too, cheaper children's films for a fraction of the price. You can obviously save money by taking your own drinks and snacks. Our bowling alley offers half-price bowling on certain days, and great value eat-and-play deals too, so you can keep costs down if you do some research and forward planning. 


Easter Sunday 

We started Easter Sunday with a little Easter egg hunt in the living room. I just filled up some of those plastic eggs for the children to find, remembering to put them out of reach of the new puppy! Dogs must not eat chocolate as it can make them violently ill, so I'm having to learn important things like that now we have a puppy! After breakfast, the kids wanted to go outside to play with their Easter bubbles so we wrapped up and took Dottie into the back garden too. 

Stanley and Rosie had lots of fun chasing the puppy around the garden, and she loved chasing them back! One question though... How do you stop an inquisitive puppy from eating all the grass, mud and leaves? I'm not fully clued up on which plants in my garden are poisonous yet, so any advice would be appreciated! 

The bubbles were a hit with all three of them, but they didn't last long (once they'd both knocked over their bubble tubes!) so it was on to football! We spent a good 40 minutes enjoying being outdoors, and Dottie was really becoming part of the family. Shame she pooed on the floor as soon as the set foot (paw) inside! Oh well, I suppose toilet training a puppy isn't much different to potty-training a toddler!  

Later on we popped out for lunch at The Brindley Farm, our local Farmhouse Inn in Stoke-on-Trent. The children like it there because it has a large indoor play area; Hubby and I like it because we can enjoy a bit of peace while they play. It's cheap and cheerful and the carvery is great. Just what you need for a meal out with two youngsters with small appetites and ants in their pants! 

We ended the day back at home, with our second German lesson which had an Easter theme. You can read all about it in our post, German for Kids: Fünf Osterküken - Five Easter Chicks. I'm really impressed with Stanley and how his confidence is growing! Make sure you check out the little video clip of him at the end of that post. 

And of course, no Easter Sunday would be complete without eating lots of chocolate in front of a film on the sofa! The children fell asleep and we carried on watching the film we'd put on for them! Does anyone else do that? I often find myself engrossed in the latest episode of Waffle the Wonder Dog or Peppa Pig only to realise later on that the kids have gone off to play! 


Easter Monday

Well, this is a bit of a boring one but not every day in life is exciting is it? Especially if you're the one who's off to do the weekly shop whilst your Hubby paints the kitchen with the kids and puppy at home! The thing is, he never gets much time off and when he does we drag him out with us, so eventually he has to get round to doing these DIY things and today was the day! The kids were happy to play at home anyway (Secretly, I was excited to be able to browse the supermarket aisles by myself!) I love how the kids are becoming great friends, not just siblings and the imaginative play is always heart-warming to listen to! 

Stan: "Rosie, pretend you are the mummy and I am the dog. Pretend you told me we are going for a walk. Woof woof!" 
Rosie: "OK, come on doggy, let's go for a walk. We go shopping to buy bread and milk." (No points for guessing what I'm always going to the shops for!)

So that was a round-up of our Easter weekend. We didn't venture far but we did have fun! I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend making memories with your family and friends. 

Finding joy in the little things: If you're new to my posts, I'll explain the reasoning behind this final thought. My blog tagline is, "Find joy in the little things, every day..." In a world where everything often feels so rushed and manic, sometimes we forget to take a second and really appreciate the little things that bring you joy during the day. So I put this little paragraph at the end of each post to ensure I just take a moment to do this. These little things are often the things that get you through the darker or more mundane parts of the day, they keep you going and remind you to be grateful for what you have. 

On to this weekend: There are so many things I could mention! But I suppose the things that made me smile the most this weekend were seeing Stanley and Rosie enjoy each other's company. Stan is usually at school during the week, so Rosie has really enjoyed having a playmate at her beck and call! Just little things, like seeing them hold hands on the egg hunt without me asking them too, or Rosie imitating the things during playtime that she's heard at home, these are the little things that make me stop for a second and smile. What are the little things that have given you joy today? I'd love to hear about them! 





I'm linking up this post with these fabulous blogs:
Mummascribbles   The Pramshed
Confessions of a New Mummy

Thursday, 5 April 2018

German for Kids: Fünf Osterküken - Five Easter Chicks

Counting to 5: numbers in practice!

A little recap

The aim of today's lesson was to get the children to practise using German numbers 1 - 5 for a purpose - counting!



It is always important to recap any prior learning before introducing anything new; this promotes confidence and helps them to retain information. For our first lesson earlier this month, I decided to introduce the children to German through one of their favorite songs, Five Little Ducks. We used the song to learn numbers 1 to 5. To refresh the children's memories, we listened to the song again and we held up the correct amount of fingers everytime we heard a number. For ideas on how to introduce numbers 1 - 5, read our post called German for Kids: Fünf kleine Entchen - Five little ducks. We then counted up to 5 together and checked their pronunciation of each word. I encouraged Stanley to count back from five too, and he did it with a little help.


Die Osterküken

Next, I introduced the children to the multisensory tray. It was Easter Sunday so naturally I went with the Easter theme to engage them! I used shredded green tissue paper as the grass, yellow eggs with chick faces and those traditionally little fluffy chicks you glue (usually unsuccessfully!) to Easter bonnets.



I told the kids the Easter chicks (die Osterküken) were hiding in the eggs and they had to open each one in turn, and count out the chicks in German. They responded well to me giving some instructions in the target language, using the sandwiching technique to aid understanding. (Sandwiching is when you say the words in the target language, repeat them in English, then say them in target language again.) You can find the vocabulary I used at the end of this post.


Finde fünf Küken!

I wanted the children to use the number vocabulary for a purpose, not to just learn words by rote with no meaning to them. So I challenged them to find me eggs containing certain amounts of chicks! 


Again using sandwiching to begin with (you can eventually stop repeating the  phrase in the first language as they begin to understand the meaning), I said, "Finde ein Küken," "Finde zwei Küken," until we had found and counted each number of chicks to five. As with any learning, you can adapt the difficulty to suit the abilities of each of your children. I gave Rosie the lower numbers to find as she is only 2 and also learning to count in her own language! Stanley did really well and found and counted each number to 5, so we went a little further and counted to 10 together.


Chicks in the grass!

To push them a little further while they were still happy and engaged, I asked them to hide all the little chicks in the grass. They really enjoyed rustling the tissue paper and pulling it apart to hide the chicks! I told them I'd ask them to find a certain number of chicks and they could race to see who could find that many first. I used a simple phrase, "Kannst du zwei Osterküken finden?" I just changed the number each time. This became quite competitive and a few of the little chicks suffered unfortunate beheadings!! But they enjoyed it and really tried hard to count out loud in German! I helped Rosie a bit here as she naturally counted in English but with the speed of the activity and her age, that was totally fine and to be expected.



A picture to finish

To calm the kids down after the competitive activity, I gave them a colouring sheet to do. I adapted a picture I found here by adding the words Happy Easter, the Easter chick and the Easter bunny in German. I read them out and pointed to the pictures, and the children repeated them a few times. To increase shoulder stability and upper torso strength (great for helping with early handwriting), I encouraged the children to colour in whilst laying on their bellies and propping themselves up on their elbows. They thought that was fun! 


Finding joy in the little things: We are still very new to this language learning malarkey but I am so proud of how much the children are enjoying doing something new. Stanley is really soaking up the language and growing in confidence, as he frequently helped Rosie to count her chicks...even when she could do it by herself! This shows me how much he really wants to practise what he has learnt. I've never taught languages to anyone so young, but Rosie is amazing me too with her growing concentration span and memory for the vocabulary. I am proud of my kids every day, but having them join in so willingly with something I am teaching them makes me a very happy Mummy! Here's a little video of Stanley in action!




Vocabulary

Fünf Osterküken - Five Easter chicks
Die Osterküken (pl) - The Easter chicks
Das Osterküken (s) - The Easter chick


Eins - 1
Zwei - 2
Drei - 3
Vier - 4
Fünf - 5 

Finde ein/zwei/drei/vier/fünf Küken - Find 1/2/3/4/5 chicks

Kannst du ein/zwei/drei/vier/fünf Küken finden? - Can you find 1/2/3/4/5 chicks?

Frohe Ostern - Happy Easter

Der Osterhase - The Easter Bunny

** Please note: I am not a native German speaker! I try my best to be as accurate as possible, but mistakes do happen and my language skills are a bit "rusty!" If you do spot a grammatical error or spelling mistake, please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments. Danke! **



The Pramshed