30 April 2007

Reward Bands

Reward Bands are now available from Littlesheep Learning.

IdentiKids Reward ID Bands™ are brightly coloured, funky wristbands that young children simply adore! Reward your child with a star shaped sticker from the sheets included - there are lots of different designs to choose from including fairies, hearts, trains, footballs, clowns and ice creams so there is something for everyone! The IdentiKids Reward Bands also double as an ID band - simply write your contact details on the inside with any ballpoint pen!


Do you use libraries with your children?

A recent survey of children in Wales (see report
here) has shown that many children do not know how public libraries work or what they are for. The National Marketing Strategy survey for libraries in Wales found many children believed they had to pay to borrow books and when asked how they would sell libraries many primary and secondary pupils told researchers they would try a "buy one get one free" offer! Maybe these children are more used to spending time renting videos / DVDs and computer games from commercial stores and have never been inside a public library?

Libraries offer books on a whole host of subjects, including books on tape, in large print and in community languages. Mobile library services even bring the service to your doorstep. Libraries also provide music libraries, newspapers, magazines, reading groups, children's activities and other community information and events. Many libraries also offer CDs, DVDs and other items are also available for loan (sometimes for a small charge) and free computer / internet access. Joining public libraries is free and easy to do - in most cases you just need proof of name and address. You may even be able to collect your Bookstart packs from your library too.

So get using our public libraries and explain to children in your care how they work.

28 April 2007


We've had fun today playing with some balloons, so I thought I'd share some activity / learning ideas!

  • practice throwing, catching and kicking
  • pat the ball into the air and count how long it takes to float down to the ground
  • tie a string to the balloon and take it for a walk
  • blow up balloons of different colours to help your child learn their colours - can they catch the red one, find the blue one etc
  • play peek-a-boo behind the balloon
  • draw faces on a balloon and practice different emotions

Have fun! Be careful with balloons as uninflated balloons are a choking hazard. Don't blow up the balloon completely - if it isn't over inflated it is harder to burst.

26 April 2007

Encouraging Writing

One thing I am often asked is how to practice writing with a child who isn't very keen? The answer is to keep it FUN!

So here are some of my favourite ways to get children practicing writing / drawing skills without using a pencil and paper!

  • use a chalk board
  • use a whiteboard
  • paint with water onto a wall / path
  • chalk onto a wall / path
  • finger painting
  • use an Aquadraw
  • use a Magna Doodle
  • writing in 'gloop' (cornflour and water)
  • writing in playdough
  • writing in sand / mud using fingers or a stick

Let me know any other fun ways you persuade your children to write!

23 April 2007

St George's Day

The 23rd April is St George's Day. Saint George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag.

St George was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans' torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious. One of the best-known stories about Saint George is his fight with a dragon. But it is highly unlikely that he ever fought a dragon, and even more unlikely that he ever actually visited England. Despite this, St George is known throughout the world as the dragon-slaying patron saint of England. St George is always depicted as a knight carrying a shield with a red cross (or a banner with a red cross), generally sitting upon a horse and always killing a dragon.

Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. Very little is known about the man who became St George. It is thought that he was born in Turkey (in Cappadocia) in the in the year A.D. 270 (3rd century) and had Christian parents. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith. The Emperor Diocletian gave him many important missions, and it is thought that on one of these he came to England. It was while he was in England that he heard the Emperor was putting all Christians to death and so he returned to Rome to help his brother Christians. He pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. He imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith and eventually was beheaded at Lydda in Palestine on 23 April, 303.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced Edward the Confessor as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day .

St George is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine and Portugal amongst others, although he is celebrated on different days. St George is also patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis.

The Story of St George and the Dragon
St. George journeyed for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met a poor hermit who told him that everyone in that land was in great distress, for a dragon had long ravaged the country. 'Every day,' said the old man, 'he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The King's daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.' When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night in the hermit's hut, and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he drew near he saw a little procession of women, headed by a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. The princess Sabra was being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. Then he entered the valley.
As soon as the dragon saw him it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But St. George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it. The dragon's scales were so hard that the spear broke into a thousand pieces. and St. George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under and enchanted orange tree against which not poison could prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him. Within a few minutes he had recovered his strength and was able to fight again. He smote the beast with his sword but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet.

How does England celebrate St George's Day?
By tradition, April 23rd is the day for a red rose in the button hole, the national flower. However, unlike other countries, England does not really celebrate its national day and for most people in England St George's Day is just another ordinary day. Special parades and celebrations of St George's Day are gradually becoming more frequent in England.

Activities for St George's Day
  • make England flags by painting or colouring a red cross onto paper
  • have a traditional English cream tea - scones, jam and clotted cream

Hook and Loop Dots

We have added some new products and Littlesheep Learning - hook and loop dots in our Extras category. These dots are great for making your own resources including PECS cards, reading and writing boards, matching activities and many other teaching and learning items. Look out for more items to help you make your own resources here too.

Incidental Learning

Oh dear, I haven't written a blog post for ages - we had the Easter holidays and the weather has been so good we've been out and about enjoying the sunshine. New things at Littlesheep Learning are few and far between too as we've been so busy having fun!

As we've been out and about our children have been learning so I thought I would post some of the incidental learning that we've had going on.

  • looking at street name signs when out for walks - an excellent resource for learning capital letters
  • painting with water on the wall - great for upper body gross motor development / practicing writing / science of wet and dry
  • playing with objects in water - which ones sink and which ones float
  • playing making shadows - great for fun fine motor imitation practice
  • making and melting ice cubes - the science of water properties
  • growing beans
  • cooking - measuring good for maths, stirring / rolling / shaping good for fine motor development
  • labelling colours of cars when out for walks - easy method of checking colours
  • looking for minibeasts - we found ladybirds, spiders, beetles, snails, slugs, ants and worms

Let me know your incidental learning activities and I'll add them to the list!

04 April 2007

Easter Nests

Here's our favourite Easter Nests receipe - we're off to make them later so no pictures yet!

50 g butter / margerine

50g syrup
25g drinking chocolate
Mini eggs

Melt the butter and syrup in a large saucepan.

Stir in the chocolate powder.
Add the cornflakes to the mixture, stir well using a wooden spoon.
Place the paper cases in a bun tin.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the cases and shape into 'nests'
When cool, top with a few mini eggs.
Store in an air tight container.

Egg Decorating

Decorating your own Easter eggs is a fun way to celebrate Easter. You can decorate your eggs with as simple or fancy designs as you want! If you are decorating blown eggs you can keep them from year to year and build a collection. Younger children may find decorating blown eggs too fragile so it's also fine to decorate hardboiled eggs but be sure to dispose of them after Easter!
How to 'blow' an egg
To blow an egg you need eggs, a needle and a bowl. Using the needle, poke a small hole in the narrow end of the egg, and a slightly larger hole in the other end. Move the pin around to make sure you tear the membrane around the yolk. Now, holding the egg over the bowl, blow through the small hole. The egg will be forced out the larger hole and into the bowl. Then rinse the egg well with water.

Decorating your eggs
Your imagination is your only limitation on how you can decorate your eggs. Use paints, ribbons, sequins, glitter, lace, coloured foil, felt tip pens, fabric scraps, dyes and wax. You can make your egg into people, animals and even vehicles or foods by adding decorations, or draw and paint intricate pictures or patterns onto your egg itself.

Wax Patterns
Use candles to drip wax onto eggs - be careful it is very hot (or use a white candle or wax crayon and draw on the egg). Then dip the egg into some dye, take it out and let it drain.

Dying Eggs
To dye the eggs the put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, cover with water. Add about a teaspoon of vinegar. Add the dye and bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the eggs and leave them to dry. If you want your eggs to be a darker shade, cover them with the dye and leave them overnight.
Why not colour your eggs using natural dyes? It's possible to come up with a great number of colors using natural ingredients that can easily be found in almost any kitchen.

Red: Fresh beets or cranberries, frozen raspberries
Orange: Yellow onion skins Light yellow: Orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, celery seed or ground cumin
Yellow: Ground turmeric
Green: Spinach leaves
Blue / purple: Canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves
Brown: Strong brewed coffee

01 April 2007

April Fool's Day

I'm not clever enough to think about setting up an April fool 's joke today but I've seen some one from Rightmove about an "x-ray fly through" facility they are introducing from today whereby their satellites have taken photos of the interiors of everyone's house (if you weren't decent at the time of the photo they'll be blanking you out!) and by BMW about using RUSE particles embedde in the windscreen to allow instant messaging to drivers ahead. Let us know about the jokes you've seen or heard (or played on others!) by adding your comment's.

Unfortunately one thing that isn't an April fools joke is that Royal Mail prices are increasing again from tomorrow so we've had to change the postage rates at Littlesheep Learning we now have a special lower rate of £1.95 for orders under £5, with bigger orders now being charged at £3.95.