Weather Myths

The last two days have been such fun days but long, fill days for the kids.  So this morning after we all woke up rather late I decided to change my plans for their learning activities for the day.  I thought something a bit different and something we could do together around the kitchen table (while I baked) would be good.  I was not sure at first what to do so I had a quick look at the latest Activity Village newsletter and started going through the new content on the website when I remembered the Weather Myths.  We have been looking at some weather lately and the kids have been reading quite a few books about Myths and Legends (my son was given a stunning new book which he loves and keeps reading – but that is another post) so I thought the Weather Myths might be a good Friday activity for us.

I started by printing out the Weather Myth flashcards.

Weather Myth flashcards from Activity Village

I liked these because we could look at the picture and the main sayings together, discuss what we thought it meant (and yes in case you are wondering my kids came up with some very creative explanations) and then turn over the card to see the real explanation.

Weather Myths flashcards from Activty Village. One side has the picture and quote and the other side the explanation on it

Weather Myths flashcards from Activty Village. One side has the picture and quote and the other side the explanation on it

And I must admit these worked better than I initially expected.  My son loved hearing the logic behind some of the them and then “talking it out” – he would expand on the explanation and discuss it to come to his own conclusion.

He was enjoying discussing all the explanations so much that I suggested he might like to create his own one.  He initially agreed and selected the Swallow colouring page to use.

Weather Myth Colouring page from Activity Village

But once he started colouring it in he declared that it was just so logical – the swallows flying high because the insects were high that there could not possibly be another explanation. His dad was actually working for home so he charged upstairs and informed him of how we no longer need to check the weather forecast he is now going to use the Myths to forecast the weather for us.

My daughter opted to write a story based on one of the Weather Myths.  And she really did.  She created her own story about a little girl who was out walking when a thunderstorm started.  I was really impressed with how the one little saying inspired her to create her own story.

Weather Myth writing pages from Activity Village

We really enjoyed reading about the different weather myths and learning a bit more about British Weather along the way.  It ended up being a great Friday activity for us.

Weather Myths pages from Activity Village. Great to go along with a weather unit

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Books Everywhere

Sometimes I feel like we just have books everywhere.  They are often piled up high next to the couch, on the couch, scattered on the floor in the kids play area, in their bedroom and even on our kitchen table.  We have two big bookcases but somehow the books never seem to be inside the bookcases.  But if I stop myself from worrying about the mess and look at what it means, it is just the way it should be.  The kids are enjoying their books, whether it is fictional or fact based they love getting lost in a book.  The thrill of seeing what the character is going to discover on the next page or the knowledge that this particular spider likes to eat a certain insect.  Books open up their world.

So why are our kids so into books ?  I think it is a combination of things.  We have always read books together both in the house and while we are out and about (yes I do mean out – at the local park, coffee shop or on a train trip – I always have a book stashed somewhere so we can read.  We don’t take iPads out the house unless it is for a specific learning activity.  If they need to occupy themselves while waiting we have books.)

reading a How to Train Your Dragon book on the train

And we have always made sure that they have access to good quality books.  For me this is important.  I don’t like books which simplified something to the point of actually not being correct.  Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.  So why not teach them something correctly from the beginning.  And when a child is reading a book and realizes they have “dumbed down” some fact they actually stop believing anything else that is written in that book.  So NO over simplified books.  Sorry.

Libraries – We love our local library but I am finding the book selection more limited for their current age (Daughter is 10) so we are making good use of their reservation feature.   It really comes in handy when the kids start to read book series as we can reserve the next book in advance so they don’t miss out on any.

The other way that we like to bolster the kids reading is by buying series from The BookPeople. It has become a bit of a tradition that every Birthday and Christmas they each get a new book series.  We have had such a huge hit with this. Last Christmas my son was given the How to Train Your Dragon series and boy oh boy it has been so loved and read so many times. (Cannot recommend these books enough)

I know people are quick to point out but the kids can just use a computer or device to read.  And yes that it true and we do.  But there is just something more magical about getting lost in a book, turning that page, hearing the sound pages make and feeling the paper in your hands.

Reading their BIG CAT readers together

(Just for reference the Books in the picture above the BIG CAT readers – Little Women: Band 18/Pearl (Collins Big Cat) and Roman Life in Britain: Band 12/Copper (Collins Big Cat)).

This is NOT a sponsored post in any shape, just me rambling about books.

I have included Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

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Phases of the Moon Visual Aid

My youngest has a newish interest in the Solar System and I must admit I am enjoying the new topic.  We have had fun learning about the different planets, looking at clips showing the size difference and talking about the huge distances in space.  He recently started talking about which planets had moons and I immediately thought it would be a good time to learn a bit more about Earth’s moon.

One of the things we read about was the different phases of the moon so I printed out the Activity Village Phases of the moon page for him.

Phases of the Moon Poster from Activity Village

And then I spotted the Phases of the Moon Mobile and the Phases of the Moon matching cards and wondered if we could use the matching cards to do a similar type mobile.  My thought was I wanted to show the phases of the moon but I wanted to attach the words to each picture (I keep forgetting which is which so I thought it would help the kids to have something which shows the names of each phase together with the picture).

So I started by matching the correct words to each picture of the moon’s phases and glued them together.

Phases of the Moon Matching cards from Activity Village

Then I used our hole punch to create 8 holes in a paper plate and I cut 10 strips of string – 8 pieces for each for each moon phase and 2 pieces for the mobile “handle”. (Just fold the paper plate in half 3 times and you will have equal spacing for the 8 holes)

paper plate folded 3 times to get 8 equal lines

I first created a simple string handle – using two pieces of string – I attached one to what would be the North and South hole in the plate and the second string to what would be the West and East hole of the plate. And then I used the hole punch to create holes at the top of each moon phase card and tied each card to the paper plate using our string.

Phases of the Moon mobile. Created using the moon phase matching cards from Activity Village

But my youngest pointed out that we need an earth and sun.  And I totally agreed.  My son had the idea of using the earth and sun from his orbit model   (And let’s be honest – this is a visual representation of how the moon phases change so the moon and the earth and the sun are not in Proportion but he wanted to show where the Sun and Earth would be).

Creating a mobile showing the different phases of the moon as it travels around the earth

Phases of the Moon visual aid. Perfect for a learning at home activity. Home education

I must admit I think it ended up being a great visual way of showing how the moon changes based on its position in relation to the sun and earth.

Phases of the Moo Mobile mad using matching cards from the Activity Village site. Great as a visual aid for home educationThe Activity Village pages used are part of their subscription package which currently costs around £15 for 12 months.  If you have any queries regarding the Activity Village website please contact them directly


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Collective Nouns

My kids love learning the different collective nouns that you get (especially the animal ones) and they often find them strange and funny – eg a parliament of owls.

So we thought it would be fun to make some posters to hang up in the house with a few of their favourite ones on them.  I searched online and found this set of Collective Noun Matching cards from Twinkl Resources (part of their paid for subscription). The set comprises of a fair numbers of animals so each kid could select their favourites for their own poster.

Collective Noun Matching Cards from Twinkl Resources

Each animal has a matching phrase that the kids need to find.  And for each phrase the kids need to add the correct animal word, but the set does come with the answers at the end so you can always double-check to make sure you are on the correct track.

selecting the animal and finding the correct matching phrase from the Collective Noun Matching set from twinkl resources

We chatted about how the kids wanted to create their poster – did they want to use flaps or just stick the labels underneath the picture and also how could they fit all their animals onto their piece of card.   We actually set out the pictures and the labels onto the card before the kids started glueing to make sure they could all fit.

Creating his own Collective Noun Poster using the matching cards from Twinkl Resources

matching the phrase to each picture

We ended up with a couple of different posters, and the all look really great hanging up in the house.

Collective Noun Poster made using the matching cards from Twinkl Resources

My youngest likes the idea of the flaps.

Using the Collective Noun Matching Cards from Twinkl Resources to create a poster with flaps

And I must admit the flaps do work really well as the kids can guess what the corrective phrase is and then lift the flap to see if they were correct.

Home-made Collective Noun Poster made using the matching cards from Twinkl Resources

We also printed out the Collective Noun Loop Cards (also part of Twinkl Resources paid for subscription) and the kids set up a loop on one of their notice boards.

Adding the Twinkl Resources Collective Noun Loop Cards to a notice board

All references to the resources that we used are correct at the time of me writing this post.  I do not work for Twinkl and they do from time to time change their subscriptions and links on the site.  Please contact Twinkl directly for any queries regarding their subscriptions and/ or resources

Easy to make Poster for Collective Nouns. Perfect for learning at home. Made using pages from Twinkl Resources

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Learning about Tornadoes

We always seem to do our Weather learning in bits and pieces.  We find a good book or an interesting clip to watch and the kids learn something new but then we seem to quickly move on.  However recently the topic of weather, rather I should say Extreme weather has kept them interested and they are both starting to really get to grips with the different weather events.

One of the activities that really got them interested was our 4M “KidzLabs wrapper Tornado Maker Kit (Multi-Colour).  They both found it fascinating to see the tornado effect (and I must admit it was really easy to set up for them).

Watching the Tornado maker really helped my youngest.  Up until that point he kept getting Tornado, Hurricane, Typhon all mixed up and never knew which was which.  But once he saw the swirling tunnel in the Tornado maker it totally clicked what a Tornado looked like.  And now whenever you say the word Tornado he immediate starts talking about a funnel of spinning air.

I also found a few clips on YouTube for the kids to watch – their favourite one is this one – Tornado Facts for Kids and I really liked this clip – Hurricane vs. Tornado.  There are lots of other great clips on YouTube but my kids really seem to like the ones that Mr DeMaio does – I think they like the way he adds some humour into the clips.

I found a fact Sheet on Activity Village which was really useful (Extreme Weather is definitely one of those topics that I am learning about together with the kids).

Tornado Fact Sheet from Activity Village

Activity Village also have a bunch of Extreme Weather Clozes.  I have been itching to print some out so we tried the Tornado one and my daughter gave it 5 stars.

Tornado Cloze from Activity Village

And I always say you know the kids have understood something when they can explain it – does not matter if it is verbally, in written format or even a diagram.  If they can create something that explains the topic in their own words, that is when I know it has really been understood.

Drawing her own picture of a tornado

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Victorian Railways

My daughter recently borrowed a number of Victorian books from the library and she is loving them.  But as much as she is finding History interesting, her younger brother is just not that interested.  He is definitely more interested in how things are built than what happened a long time ago. So when we heard about a Channel 5 documentary series called – How the Victorians Built Britain I was immediately interested.  I think there are 4 episodes and so far we have watched the first two – The first one was about the Railways and the second about the Sewerage systems in Britain.  And both the kids are loving it.  My daughter is learning more about the Victorians which compliments the books she has been reading and my son has found an interesting History angle – from the view of what was created and built in that time period.  And I must admit it is really fascinating to see what was built in the Victorian area and is still being used today.

He has always been interested in trains and the railways so I already had a BIG CAT reader called the The Railway Revolution: Band 16/Sapphire (Collins Big Cat) at home and after watching the Victorian series on Railways and seeing how interested he was in it (and subsequently deciding to design his own version of the first ever Victorian Railway, complete with a special way of digging tunnels using a converted steam engine) I knew it would be a good time to read our Railway Revolution book together.

BIG CAT reader The Railway Revolution. How the Railway ane the Steam Engine developed in Britain

My son has found this book really fascinating.  It starts by talking about life before the trains and how the canals were used a lot (something which he especially loved as we spent a day on a barge in the Summer and he loved the entire experience).

It goes on to talk about how the stream engines were developed really from the “Miners’ Friend”.  There is a fair bit about George Stephenson (someone who my son is already familiar with but he still learnt some new and interesting facts in this book).  He loved the section about the Rainhill Trials and the difference engines that were entered especially the idea of Cycloped the horse powered locomotive.

BIG CAT reader The Railway Revolution includes section on the Stephenson Rocket

He was also very intrigued by some of the “strange” thoughts back then – like the fact that they were concerned that the trains would cause eyesight problems (The documentary also spoke about this and both kids found it very interesting that they were happy for stream engines to go underground but worried about eyesight). And oh just so much more about the different tickets, the navvies that worked on the lines, really lots of information.

The BIG CAT reader The Railway Revolution. Filled with lots of historical facts about the Railways in Britain

The book ends by briefly talking about what came after steam engines.

BIG CAT reader The Railway Revolution.  How some of the Railway Engineering ideas came from canals

Really an interesting read for kids who find the development of the stream train and the railways interesting.  The book is in total 55 pages long.  And although the documentary focused on the underground trains and this was more about how the steam engine and how the overground rail network was developed they both really did go well together.

reading the Railway Revolution BIG CAT reader

(And Yes he is reading his Railway book to his toy snake)

You might find this interesting – BBC History Victorian Technology

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Lines of Symmetry

The kids and I have been talking a lot about lines of symmetry while we  have been looking at our Geometry and as part of that I have tried to include the idea of symmetry into some of the “arty activities” that we like to do. (Very simple explanation – A line of symmetry is a line on which you can fold your piece of paper / shape and both sides will be identical).

I spotted these Rangoli Pattern colouring pages on the Twinkl website (part of their paid for subscription) and I immediately noticed how symmetrical they were.  So we printed out 2 copies and the kids had a go.

Using the Rangoli Pattern colouring pages from Twinkl to work on lines of symmetry

They started by deciding where their line of symmetry was – this was the main reason that I liked these colouring pictures so much – in each picture there are multiple lines of symmetry – so both kids could end up colouring in the same picture but they could select a totally different line of symmetry.

Using the Rangoli Pattern colouring page to explain lines of symmetry

Rangoli Patterns line of symmetry picture

I also happened to order these mosaic foam coaster kits from Baker Ross (when I ordered them I was not thinking of Maths I actually thought it was something that I could take in my bag for my youngest to do while we wait for his sister to finish her dance class).  But as often happens one of the kids spotted them and actually commented how the patterns that they had included in the pack where symmetrical. So naturally we unpacked them and they had a go.

Baker Ross Mosaic Foam Craft kit

Now you can copy the patterns that they include – there is nothing wrong with the patterns they are nice but after just copying 1 pattern mine wanted the challenge of creating their own.  Each little set comes with a different combination of coloured mosaic foam squares and you could open them all up and mix  all the coloured squares together if you wanted.  However I gave mine the challenge of trying to create their own patterns with the coloured squares provided in each set (of course if they ended up 1 or 2 squares short we did borrow from one of the other sets).

Creating his own designs with the foam craft kits from Baker Ross

But the challenge was really good because not only did they end up thinking about making the pattern symmetrical they also had to do some quick maths to make sure they would have enough of each colour.  Straight forwarded addition practice but also some multiplication.  My youngest quickly spotted that the mosaic foam stickers were cut into blocks of 3’s so a quick way of working out if he had enough squares was by using his 3 times table (Yiphee – practicing times table without me quizzing him and more importantly seeing how useful knowing his times tables can really be).

If you are wanting to know more about Lines of Symmetry have a look at the Khan Academy website here – Lines of symmetry

This is not a sponsored post in any shape of form.  These are just two activities that we did and which the kids enjoyed doing.

Lines of Symmetry explained used Rangoli Pattern colouring pages. Pages from Twinkl Resources

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