This afternoons activity with Daddy looked like lots of fun: they gathered sticks and the kiddies built their own pile of firewood for a camp fire. They then sat around the fire pit to test whose camp fire would flame up the best!

Isla created a very structured camp fire, logical and a pattern to where she placed her sticks. Noahs looked more sporadic but covered a wider area.

Neither camp fires took fire, it was quite windy. So the kiddies enjoyed a hot chocolate and marshmallow around their piles of sticks.

They had fun though and that’s the main thing. I’m loving all of these practical tasks they’re doing with Daddy.

I’ve been waiting, all day, for someone to tell me it’s all a dream and we are still going to Dubai. But, unfortunately, no one jumped out screaming April #fool and alas, we are still at home. I’m gutted.

Lots to look forward to though and right now it’s about focussing on our main objective: stay at home at all times, unless to buy essential food & walk the dogs! I have actually loved being at home everyday. It’s my favourite place.

#mummyphotoaday

This afternoons activity with Daddy...

“We are very excited to try out this new food from Forthglade, it smells woofing delicious” 🐾 Straight from the doggies mouth!

I am very excited to announce that I am a new ambassador for @forthglade. What does that mean? Well, I get to try out the products and tell you all how good they are and get special offers and discounts for my followers too!

It’s such a strange time with lockdown, however finding out about Forthglade couldn’t have come at a better time. When I went to get our usual dog foods in the supermarket it had all sold out. So, resorting to online orders seemed a very natural thing to do to ensure our furbabies are fed.

This food is a minimum of 75% meat or fish and is free from junk. With Snoopy, he has a tummy condition which means we have to be careful what he eats, it’s perfect. We will keep you posted on what they thought! 🐾 #gifted

“We are very excited to...

🌼 April is here and along with it comes another set of photo keywords for #MummyPhotoADay photo challenge.

We should have been flying to Dubai today, so my insta squares would have been very different to what they now will be. I’m expecting to see lots of Spring colours and stay at home families instead this month.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mummyphotoaday so I can comment and share my favourites throughout the month.

Does anyone have any creative stay at home plans for April?

🌼 April is here and...

My favourite pics from March #MummyPhotoADay - a massive thank you to everyone that took part. We have had a lot of new members this month and it’s been really hard picking my favourite 9! There are now over 4,000 photos to choose from.

All photos are tagged, but from left right:
📷 @cultivatingdelight
📷 @newmummyblog
📷 @confessionsofacrummymummy
📷 @houseofbaughs
📷 @sahrazade
📷 @otisandus.blog
📷 @_lisaslife_
📷 @socalshopgirl384
📷 @descendants_of_war

I’ve really loved seeing photos from @anywaytostayathome, @the_mummy_editorial, @freyalexandra, @becsbrewtifullife & @canonjacq.

All you have to do to join in is add #mummyphotoaday to your caption and the keyword of the day... I’m very excited to see what April has in store for us. Lots of fun “Stay at #Home” themed photos!

Thank you to everyone that joins in 📷

My favourite pics from March...

The kiddies had a lot of fun playing in the bath today. Swimming pools are closed, it’s too cold to get outside in a paddling pool so we put our swimming costumes on and pretended!

The kids had loads of fun making sparkly bath water and foaming soap shapes with @kidsstuffcrazy products. It’s amazing how fun products like this can keep the kiddies entertained for hours.

They literally played in the bath for an hour. The water had gone cold by the time they got out. It was the perfect indoor fun activity, especially as it was wet outside today.

If you’re homeschooling and self isolating with young children why not make a fun bath and invite the kids to make a mess with whatever you have in the bathroom! We also tried to make our own bubble bath using washing up liquid and #citrus juice - it wasn’t a nice smell 😂 the kiddies will try again in the week.

You can get the Magical Sparkle bubble bath and Foaming Soap from Kids Stuff Crazy at @superdrug - check out my review on the blog. #linkinbio

#mummyphotoaday 🧼

The kiddies had a lot...

Today has been a busy day, but nice and chilled at the same time. We let the kiddies have iPad and Xbox time this morning; our homeschool doesn’t give out homework! They built some cool stuff in Minecraft and worked together. Which was nice to see.

After lunch we took a longer walk than in the week, across the river. This is a walking route that is direct from our doorstep and took us 90 minutes in total, part of our one exercise a day under lockdown rules. It was nice to get some fresh air and just talk about whatever comes into our heads. We spoke about a lot of random things. 7 & 9 year olds do come out with some funny comments. Noahs favourites are “would you rathers”. We got home and Daddy made a delicious roast dinner and I did a deep #clean in the bathroom. Then had a long hot bath!

No rush for any of these things as we seemingly have about 12 weeks of working at home and possibly months of homeschooling. I just hope we can have family over soon as we miss them all.

#mummyphotoaday

Today has been a busy...

I am running a day behind 🤦🏼‍♀️ I keep falling asleep and not posting my photos. I’ll catch up today... This is #fresh. Getting out in the fresh air has been a complete dream over the past week. When you’re told you can’t do something, it makes you want to do it more. Like when Hubby said we have to be careful about the food we eat, I wanted to eat it all!

This photo was the kiddies playing football with Daddy whilst I walked with them with the doggies. It’s something that’s becoming a habit after we finish homeschooling.

It’s a shame as Daddy normal gets out all of the time. On a typical Sunday he’ll go out for a 3 hour bike ride in the mornings. Possibly go swimming with the kids too. Walk the dogs with us later in the afternoon. I think this “1 exercise” rule will be effecting him more than anyone else I know. It’s also makes family decisions hard, if Daddy goes out on his bike he can’t walk with us. It’s very necessary with the lockdown rules. 
Just think how much we’ll all appreciate a long bike ride and driving to the beach for the day when all of this is over.

#mummyphotoaday

I am running a day...

Until tomorrow...

Until tomorrow...

8 Proven benefits of outdoor learning

Learning” is an odd word. For many, it brings back memories of being sat in rows of tables in front of a blackboard, reciting the eight times table until it becomes seared into the mind. However, learning can be so much more than that! A lot of emphasis in today’s day and age is put on classroom-based learning, and while this is important, it is not the be-all and end-all. 

Outdoor learning and educational school residential trips where children are exposed to a different form of knowledge can be extremely beneficial in the long run. We have taken a look at eight proven benefits of outdoor learning in a bit more detail below:

Improved health

It is well known that getting up and moving around outside is not only good for kids, but necessary for their health, and there is data to back this up. An Australian study of 10 to 12-year-olds published in the International Journey of Obesity found that outdoor education can be a key factor in avoiding childhood obesity.

The author of the study, Richard Louv, coined the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the harmful effects of too much indoor stimulation, which can include anxiety, depression, attention-deficit disorder and, of course, obesity. Describing the idea of children spending time in nature as a “fundamental part of their humanity”, it can help to set children up for the rest of their lives.

Better grades

This is one that will probably grab the attention of most out there! An academic paper from 2006 pointed to a study conducted in 2000 of children in California as evidence that learning outdoors can improve children’s grades. Students from 11 schools scored higher than students of traditional systems in 72% of assessments, ranging from science and maths to overall attendance, after studying on an outdoor curriculum.

Dennis Eaton also published findings in his book “Cognitive and Affective Learning in Outdoor Education” the same year that students’ cognitive abilities are better developed outside the classroom than inside it.

Improved memory

A proven way to remember is to experience something which is new and unfamiliar. When this happens, dopamine is released into the hippocampus and memories are created. When children sit in the classroom day in day out, with the layout, lighting and temperature always the same, it does not have much to offer in terms of being different.

However, moving outside opens up a whole new environment, containing stimuli for all the senses. These stimuli have the power to lock into the brain, helping it to process and remember information that was being learned at the time.

Better behaviour

Getting children outdoors more often not only improves their environment behaviour (awareness of the environment and how their actions affect it) but also their ability to behave in an educational setting. Studies have found that group cohesion, social adjustment and self-concept – all potential areas that can result in poor behaviour – improved in an outdoor education setting. Many teachers have also noted that handling poor behaviour becomes easier when it occurs outside of the traditional classroom.

Increase in new skills

The most effective means of learning skills is by doing; Curtis in 1998, Hutchinson in 1999, Long in 2003 and Wells in 2005 are just some of the studies which have proven this. In 2006, Martin, Cashel, Wagstaff, and Breunig stated that learning outdoor activities can only come with experience, and this experience can only be gained through outdoor learning.

Whether it’s problem solving from teambuilding activities, or learning to paddle a canoe, kids soak up these new skills when they are out in the open-air classroom.

Improved communication skills

By putting students in situations where they mostly work as a team to solve problems or to work together for a common goal, it pushes them to communicate with each other. Individuals need to contribute their ideas by making their voices head, provide feedback to their peers and even resolve conflicts.

Of course, these activities can all be done in a traditional setting, but a 2006 study found that the impact is more significant when the consequences are real rather than “just because”.

Decreased stress levels

Serotonin has the nickname “the happy hormone” and for good reason. When it is released in the brain, it gives a warm feeling of safety and well-being. There are many activities which can cause this to happen, such as listening to music, receiving praise, and the most relevant at this time, hearing the sounds of nature.

Dopamine, or the “pleasure chemical” is released by repetitive actions where progress can be seen, so learning new skills and monitoring progress can do wonders for stimulating the production of dopamine. With the known effects of stress on a child’s body, doing everything we can to protect them should be key.

Increased confidence and self-reliance

Although it is difficult to definitively prove a change in self-reliance (the ability of a person to rely purely on their own abilities), studies have found outdoor learning has increased self-dependence. A 1983 study from Wichita State University in Kansas found that boys with behaviour problems seemed to become more self-reliant after taking part in three two-week outdoor educational trips. Outdoor learning has also found to improve children’s confidence and self-esteem, helping them to grow into more well-rounded young adults.

Giving children the best possible start in life is important, and by helping to provide solid foundations for them to build their lives on, the possibilities for what they can achieve are endless!

Boy on top of mountain image by ShutterStock

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Thursday 23 February 2017
8 Proven benefits of outdoor learning

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