Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: School Days

  1. What Makes a Great School Playground?

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    As the end of the year draws near, many of us reflect on the good bits, the bad bits and all the bits in between. When it comes to schools, we as parents tend to look at the essential bits. How well is the school performing from a grade perspective? What is the local opinion of the school? What facilities does the school have? Whilst all of these questions are extremely important and very valid when making a decision, one of the things we tend to overlook is the quality of the playground.

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    Nobody knows your child better than you and I’m sure we can all agree that a good playground can do wonders for our children, helping them grow and develop in ways that we often don’t notice. So, this post is dedicated to highlighting the key activities and factors to look out for when judging a school playground. The hardest part is trying not to be swayed by your own childhood playground memories!

    Physical Challenges

    The first point to consider is the physical challenges that your child should be undertaking in the school playground. Physical activity has been proven to have a positive effect on classroom learning, so for your child to make the most of their time at school, they must have room to push their physical limits and expend energy.

    In particular, you want to keep an eye out for physical challenges that encourage healthy competition or interaction like agility trails, climbing apparatus and themed equipment (depending on the age of your child of course). A good school playground will have a variety of different physical challenges for children to enjoy and use based on their personal tastes.

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    Socialising Opportunities

    The second essential feature to look out for is socialising opportunities that encourage the school children to interact with one another. Humans are social creatures and a massive part of child development is directly linked to speaking, picking up social clues and generally interacting with others.

    Social opportunities can be presented in a variety of different forms. Meeting places and seating is always a great way for children to come together and interact but equally, large thematic equipment can be great at encouraging children to engage with each other.

    Brain Teasers and Discovery

    The final key points we’re going to look at is the inclusion of brain teasers and discovery. This is particularly important in nurseries and primary schools, where the children are still full of imagination. The brain behaves just like a muscle - it needs practice and continual use to become more efficient. Giving children the equipment and materials to let their imagination run free is a great way of helping them develop. For older children, riddles and mental challenges are more appropriate for developing critical thinking and problem solving.

    In general, discovery can be incorporated in school playgrounds for younger children through moving parts and physical puzzles. In particular, puzzles that involve walking or moving are really good, which is why lots of school playgrounds feature mazes on the floor. Keep an eye out for this when you’re visiting a school playground. On the flip side, trying to put tougher brain teasers into a playground is much more difficult, though there are still some puzzles that might be appropriate.

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    Overall, the key to a healthy and positive school playground is variety. No playground should focus on a single goal, whether that be physical growth, mental challenges or social opportunities; instead, they should combine all of these targets into one and have equipment that works towards this overarching goal.

  2. 10 Fun Christmas Ideas for Under 5's

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    Ever since they start walking and talking, kids love to help their parents and ask to participate in all happenings around home. Even small kids, like toddlers and preschoolers enjoy crafting and baking with mommy as we approach holiday season. Same goes for Christmas! Invite your toddlers and preschoolers to help you with Christmas crafts and decorations. And they can even make Christmas gifts for family members and friends!

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    1. It’s fun when your Christmas tree is twirling and whirling on the wind! Invite your kids to create Christmas tree twirler from paper plate and decorate it as they wish. Then attach it on your ceiling and let them spin!

    1. We always keep a stash of paper rolls in our recycle bin for crafts. This inexpensive crafting medium is so versatile and we love reusing them to recreate different items. Like this lovely toilet paper roll reindeer! Adorable, isn’t he, with his red nose!?

    1. Little ones enjoy sensory play and while you’re busy preparing for Christmas holidays, prepare for them Christmas themed sensory bin to occupy them and let them explore different textures and senses.

    1. Is your child looking forward to white Christmas? As years go by, we are lucky if snow really falls on Christmas. But you can still let them have a sense of white Christmas if you make with them homemade snow recipe.

    1. Do you have buttons laying around your home? We always have some spares for crafts and one of crafts we made with them are lovely button snowflakes. If you are looking for more easy Christmas decorations, you can take a look at collection in Handmade Ornaments book.

    1. Gingerbread man is one of my children’s favorite Christmas themes. We made many gingerbread man crafts over years and we still have gingerbread man cards we made years ago as keepsake!

    1. Thinking to put together a Christmas party or you need a larger scale Christmas decoration for your classroom? We love how kids get to collaborate to make handprint Christmas tree. Looks wonderful displayed on bulletin board!

    1. Crafts that can be completed in super short amount of time, when you need something to quickly distract and occupy little ones are sometimes hard to find. Let them create their own personalised easy solstice lanterns as last minute project before Christmas.

    1. Christmas crafting comes as good practice for your toddlers and preschoolers fine motor skills. One of the crafts where they can use their little fingers and practice waving are yarn Christmas trees. Love how each and every one of them is different and unique!

    1. Every child is looking forward to Santa coming on Christmas eve! As they wait, invite them to make their own paper plate Santa! Easy craft to make after reading your child’s favorite Christmas story!

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    Christmas is one of those holidays every child loves. We also love to spend time over Christmas holidays crafting and baking together. Perfect opportunity to spend time bonding as family and create memories for years to come! You can start new Christmas tradition this year with your kids too!

  3. Baby Annabell : Milly Feels Better

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    Have you had to endure needles and injections for your little ones? Let's be honest, no one really likes having any kind of procedure that involves a needle, but it can be more of a problem for some. Fear of needles can be worrying for parents, particularly if your child needs regular injections or blood tests, there are ways to improve the situation and for children, this can come in the form of the fun and educational Baby Annabell doll, Milly Feels Better. 

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    Make Milly feel well again with the 5 Doctor accessories included. Milly's cheeks will turn red when she needs attention. Check her temperature with the thermometer and her heartbeat with the stethoscope.

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    With a budding doctor in our house, this is the perfect gift choice for her (and her baby doll addiction). At £34.99 it is reasonably priced and more affordable than a lot of dolls in this market and has the added benefit of being in the Baby Annabell range so can share lots of the other products, such as clothing and accessories.

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    When it's time for her medicine, put the medicine spoon near her mouth and Milly will start to feel better again. If she is still poorly, she can also be given an injection. Milly also features sleeping eyes when she is laid down, and will also laugh when tickled. (Note to self : turn her off when the children are asleep as you don't want night time giggles!)

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    Milly Feels Better encourages great role playing and can help children over come their own fears of getting injections or going to the doctors.

    If you think Milly Feels Better could help your little one feel better then we are delighted to be able to give you a chance to win one just before Christmas. All you need to do is enter below.

    Baby Annabell Milly Feels Better  

    The Prize: Baby Annabell Milly Feels Better Doll
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Gleam and notified within 7 working days by email
    There is no monetary equivalent.
    Little Lilypad Co take no /responsibility for loss or damage in the despatch of prizes
    If the prize is unclaimed within 7 days we reserve the right to redraw the winner.

    UK Entrants Only

    End Date 15/12/2018 at 12am

    This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

     

  4. 21 Random acts of kindness for kids

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    No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’ Aesop

    A random act of kindness is basically an act of kindness for no particular reason or reward. You can do these for people you do or don't know.

    RAOK ideas for kids

    It is a brilliant idea to involve children in random acts of kindness as it teaches them so much about giving and how absolutely wonderful giving is for both the giver and receiver.

    Here are lots of lovely ideas for random acts of kindness. Why not encourage your child to pick ones they would like to have a go at or help them come up with an idea of their own. Maybe this could be a Friday thing, a project for each day of the holidays or just, perhaps, an occasional activity for when the mood takes them:

    • Take flowers from your garden (or the shop!) to a local older person care home
    • Donate your pocket money to a charity
    • Feed the birds
    • Tell someone a joke
    • Say something lovely to your teacher
    • Ask your grown up if you can do some chores for them
    • Leave a book on a park bench with a note inside saying ‘Enjoy this book and once finished pls place it back on this bench’
    • Make your grown up breakfast in bed
    • Put enough money in a vending machine so they next person gets a freebie
    • Put together a little photo album for a relative
    • Smile and say good morning to someone new
    • Litter pick for 15 minutes in your local park
    • Read a story to someone
    • Offer to make everyone tea
    • Start a collection for your local food bank at school or on your street
    • Make a bookmark and leave it in a library book
    • Give someone (you know) a big hug
    • Paint rocks with kind messages and leave them hidden in your local park
    • Make a handmade gift for someone
    • Take some pet food to your local animal shelter
    • Run a second hand stall and donate the money to charity
    • Ask someone new to you if they want to play

    They could also keep a little journal documenting how their acts of kindness went if they wanted too to record their kindness journey.

    If you have any ideas of your own for random acts of kindness kids could do please leave them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other about the joy of giving.

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    This is an extract from Create Your Own Happy – an interactive book filled with happiness boosting activities for kids age 7-12 written by Becky Goddard-Hill and Penny Alexander (Harper Collins, 2018)