Friday, 27 July 2012

If It's Different, It's A Trip and A Plastic Bottle Based Ode To The 80s

Get There Differently And Call It A Trip

If you normally get the train, try the bus; if you walk, scooter/cycle; if you always take the bridge, try the boat.

View from the Bristol cross-habour ferry
Not Quite A Lava Lamp - But It Is An Awesome Glitter Shaker

You will need:
  • A small plastic bottle with lid
  • Glitter/sequins
  • Water
  • Sticky tape
  • Pens
How to Make It:
  • Decorate the outside of the bottle with the pens.
  • Put a few scoops of glitter inside the bottle, then top up with water to almost totally full.
  • Put the lid back on and tape it down well
  • Shake it up!
Take it further:
  • What else could you put in the bottle?
  • Could you change the colour?
  • Can you make your own snowglobe?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

I Never Knew City Farms Were Cheap! Plus Bubbles Make Everything Better

My 3 year old with the Olympic Torch
Was running so late this morning that I was thinking of throwing the whole Six Weeks plan out - we popped into the supermarket and one of the London 2012 Olympic torch runners was there offering to let shoppers have their photo taken with it! Lovely surprise and an excellent motivation for me to keep the kids out and about. You never know what you'll find.

City Farm
Goat at St Werburgh's City Farm

Have a google for local city farms - you might be surprised to find that your local one is free, asks for donations only, or has a very low entrance fee as well as picnic areas - a more interactive version of the zoo, at a fraction of the price.

Bubbles Make Everything Better (Except Soap In Your Eyes)

You will need:
  • Buckets
  • Paddling pool
  • Water
  • Bubble bath
  • Paintbrushes
  • Bubble mix + blowers
Spice up water play in the garden by adding bubble bath to your paddling pool.

Take it further:
  • Try getting some paintbrushes and buckets of cold water too, instant out door paint to colour in the patio with.
  • Can you make your own bubble blowers? Do different shapes make different bubbles?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Some Days You Have To Wander and My Favourite Bit Of Science Ever

The Best Way To Find Something Exciting Is To Explore

Take a bus to the next district, town or village and ask at the Library or Tourist Information office for a local map, go somewhere you've never been before - a different park, library, garden, museum or family pub that you didn't know was there. Let your kids be your guide, buying tickets and reading the map.

Best Science Ever: Colour Changing Plants

You will need:
  • A white or pale coloured flower with a reasonably long and thick stem - a carnation works well.
  • A sharp knife
  • 2 hi-ball glasses, or other tall thin containers
  • Water
  • Food colouring
How to do it:
  • If your flower in shop bought, cut an inch or two off the bottom of the stem before you start.
  • Fill both glasses 2/3rds full with water, then add a few drops of food colouring to one glass. Put them next to each other in a sunny spot, as close together as you can.
  • Then cut the flower's stem in half lengthways from the bottom to about 2/3rds up the plant.
  • Put the flower into the 2 glasses of water, one half of the stem in each.
  • Leave for about 2 hours, then see what's happened.
Take it further:
  • What happens if you add food colouring to the other glass?
  • Can you use several glasses and flowers to make different colour combinations?
  • Do some types of flower work better than others?
  • Does anything else change how quickly it works?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

When It's Sunny All You Need Is The Beach And A Bucket (Spade Optional)


Even from Coton In The Elms in Derbyshire, the furthest point in the UK from the coast, sea water is only 70 miles away. Where there is sea there is beaches, sand, ice cream and kiddy heaven. There are several inland beaches in the UK too, so you might well be closer to a minimum effort day's entertainment than you think.

As it happened, I took the kids to Weston-Super-Mare and there was a beach-view airshow today. Just as the kids were starting to get a little restless a Spitfire and a Mustang shot across the sea in front of the beach! They were delighted.


You will need:
  • Sand!
  • Water
  • A tub of some kind
  • A scoop of some kind
  • Shells and pebbles
Make it last longer:
  • Add a moat, can you make it stay full of water?
  • Make sand sculptures of each other.
  • How much water makes perfect sand castle sand?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Love Your Local Park and How To Make Your Own Really Truly Floating Boat

Since the weather is going to be beautiful for most of the UK this week, this week's ideas are all about the outdoors and water.

Local Park

Get reaquainted with your local park. Make the most of the early morning quiet if your children are small and pack up your usual lunch in a coolbag for a picnic.


You will need:
  • a small, light waterproof tub (wash out a margarine tub, yoghurt pot of fruit tray with the holes covered)
  • a small stick
  • blu tac
  • piece of paper of fabric
  • scissors
  • sticky tape
  • pens or pencils.
  • string
  • fine wire
  • an electric fan
  • toys
  • small pebbles
  • hosepipe
  • plastic sheet
  • stream with a bridge and ford

How to make it:
  • Make sure the tub is waterproof by covering any holes with sticky tape.
  • Cut a sail out of paper of fabric and stick it to the stick with sticky tape.
  • Decorate the tub and sail with the colouring pens.
  • Put a blob of blu tac in the centre of the tub and push the base of your stick-sail into it.

Make it more fun:
  • Can you make your sail adjustable and your boat really sail?
  • Are your boats strong enough to carry cargo? How much?
  • Make more boats and race them - either drop your boats into a stream from a bridge and race them downstream to a ford, you should be able to collect the boats at the ford without entering the water but be prepared for lost boats! (WARNING: Please be sensible playing near water, even small streams can be deceptively fast flowing and riverbanks banks steep and slippy - never allow children to play in or near streams unless you are sure that it is safe.)
    • Or make your own stream, put the plastic sheeting down in your garden, position your hose at the highest point and turn it on so that the water flows down the plastic sheet. You can use this top position to set the boats off from, and the end of the plastic as the finish line. (WARNING: the plastic will be very slippery!)

Welcome to Six Weeks of Summer!

Nervous about six weeks of summer with no playgroups, rowdy toddlers and not much money for days out?

Introducing Six Weeks Of Summer! Two new ideas every weekday to stir up inspiration and fend off boredom based wall art (and emergency gin at 6am).

Activities planned around pre-schoolers but can be adjusted to make harder or easier to match different abilities.

We would love to see what you've been doing in the holidays, send photos to and we'll put them on the blog.

Enjoy your summer!