Activities · Nannying · Sensory Play

Sensory Play: Dinosaur Ice Excavation!

It’s a Dinosaur Ice Excavation!

I recently found this dinosaur ice excavation activity online and in my opinion it looked pretty awesome. So I may have planned it for my own selfish reasons. But luckily the three year old actually enjoyed it and I wasn’t the only one playing!

It’s so easy to prep too. If you already have little plastic dinosaurs – perfect – if not, there is nothing saying you have to use dinosaurs. You could use any figurines really.

I found some tuberware in the cupboard, popped a couple of dinosaurs in each container and then filled them up with water so the dinosaurs were only just covered. I put them in the freezer and once completely frozen we could then play!

Let’s dig for Dinosaurs!

The three year old already had a builders kit containing a pretend saw, hammers, drill and pliers. So he used these to try and break the ice. When he had almost broken the dinosaurs out of the ice he tried biting way through the ice!

I also placed the ice in a meal baking tray as the ice cubes are going to melt!

Toward the end I showed the three year old what happens if we pour warm water over the ice cubes so he could watch them melt!

Enjoy!

If you have liked this activity why don’t you take a look at other posts of mine? Why don’t you try mess free painting activity or make a Star Wars Lightsaber?

Baking · Nannying · Recipes

Jam Tarts Recipe

The three year old and I made some yummy Jam Tarts! They were delicious and so easy to make. You only need four ingredients and you should find all of them in your kitchen already. So lets get baking!

You need:

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • Strawberry Jam
  • 125g Butter
  • 3-4 Tablespoons water

Method to make Jam Tarts:

  1. First preheat your oven to 180C and grease your muffin tray! We just used a little bit of butter
  2. Weigh out the flour and then sieve it into a mixing bowl. Then add the butter!

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3. Rub the flour and butter together using your fingertips until you make breadcrumbs

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4. Add the water a little bit at a time and knead together until it makes a dough

5. Sprinkle some flour out onto the table and start rolling out your dough to about 5mm thickness

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6. Cut circles out of the dough and place them into the muffin tray

7. Insert some jam into each tart

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8. Using the left over dough cut out some shapes – we cut out some stars. Then place them on top of the jam tarts. They look great already don’t they?

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9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven or until the tarts are a nice golden brown colour. Remember the oven should be preheated to 180c!

10. Let them cool before eating!

 

If you liked this recipe why don’t you take a look at my others? Such as dairy free banana breadcake trains or gingerbread men?

Also remember to subscribe and share!

Activities · Craft Activities · Nannying · Sensory Play

How to make sensory bottles

Yesterday one of the twins was off school sick but as she started to feel better we decided to get crafty. We made some jewellery, did some colouring and we made some sensory bottles. We made two different kinds, one made with vegetable oil and the other just water.

For the ocean sensory bottle you need:

  • Plastic bottle
  • Food colouring
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water

Method to make ocean sensory bottles:

  1. Fill the bottle 1/3 approximately with water
  2. Add several drops of food colouring – we used blue
  3. Cover then shake to mix the food colouring and water together
  4. Top the rest up with oil (we put a little too much oil in and not enough water though!)
  5. Seal the lid back on – we used sellotape to seal the lid shut but you may want to superglue it.

For the normal bottles you need:

  • Plastic bottle
  • Food colouring
  • Glitter
  • Glitter glue/glitter paint

Method:

  1. Fill the bottle with water
  2. Add drops of food colouring and/or glitter glue/glitter paint (any colour)
  3. Cover then shake to mix the food colouring/glitter and water together
  4. Add extra glitter for more shine!
  5. Seal the lid back on – we used sellotape to seal the lid on again but you may want to superglue it

Sensory bottles are great for babies and young children. You could even add them to a treasure basket. To find out what a treasure basket is go to my previous treasure basket blog here Treasure Baskets – Heuristic Play. Another reason why sensory bottles are great is they can work quite well calming down children who are angry or upset. They are also sometimes used with children who have special education needs.

Have fun!

Craft Activities · Gifts · Nannying

Parent Gift Guide

When I first starting working as a nanny I struggled for ideas of what to get the parents for their Birthday or Christmas. Whether it was a gift from the children or a gift from myself. So I thought I would put together a little gift guide to give other nannies some ideas or even parents to struggle thinking of gift ideas for their significant other from the children.

Christmas 

  • As always homemade cards are always a nice gift
  • Every year I like to make a personalised photo calendar for the following year filled with pictures of the boys I had taken that year. It’s really special and sometimes a surprise if they haven’t seen particular photos. I usually use Visaprint. I have always found them really good and they often have promotional offers on.
  • This Christmas just gone I made my bosses a hamper. They weren’t expecting it and they loved it. I added in some wine for mum, some ale and cider for dad, various cheeses, crackers, cheesy biscuits and some wild boar pate. I ordered the hamper set off Ebay too. The set came with the basket, straw for inside the hamper and the plastic wrapping with a bow.
  • Baked goods – gingerbread men, peppermint creams

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Birthdays

  • Last year I got a photo of the boys holding a chalk board with ‘We love Daddy’ written on it. I got the photo printed and bought a lovely photo frame to put it in. Dad loved it!
  • Homemade birthday card from the children
  • Homemade candles for mum! You can buy all the bits from Hobbycraft or online. See my previous blog on homemade candles and you see a step by step on how to make them and all the ingredients needed.
  • Homemade jewellery. I plan on getting the boys to make a homemade necklace for mum on Mother’s Day this year. I found this really cute necklace online at  http://www.thatswhatchesaid.net/heart-thumbprint-charm-necklaces/

          necklace

 

  • Flowers! My mum boss loves flowers. Every week she gets new ones so flowers are generally a good shout
  • A homemade coupon for a night of free babysitting!
  • Baked goods, why not try baking a birthday cake?
Activities · Heuristic Play · Nannying

Treasure Baskets – Heuristic Play

Treasure baskets are a great activity for young children, and doesn’t have to cost any money as you can use items from around the house. In case your not sure what treasure baskets are they are a basket or box (hence the name) filled with different objects for babies and toddlers to explore.

The main objects used inside treasure baskets are items from the real world. Heuristic Play describes the activity of babies and toddlers exploring these items. Treasure baskets can encourage babies and toddlers to use all their senses and provides rich mental stimulation.

Things you could include in your treasure baskets:

Wooden items

spoons, pegs, door wedges, egg cup, curtain rings, wooden massager. wooden beaded necklaces, rolling pin or coasters.

Metal items

measuring spoons, whisk, metal spoon, a slinky.

Brushes

hair brush (soft bristles), scrubbing brush, toothbrush, make up brushes.

Natural objects

sponges, shells, pine/fir cones, pumice stone, large pebbles.

Paper/Cardboard objects

egg boxes, kitchen roll tube.

Fur/ leather/rubber objects

bean bags, ribbons, flannel, leather purse, spiky bouncy ball, bath plug, door stop.

Other objects

an old CD, a dried orange, musical instruments, small piece of bubble wrap, feathers, smelly bags (different scents and aromas), cotton wool, a mirror.

The great thing about treasure baskets is that you can mix it up and change over the objects. Also you can organise your treasure baskets into 9 different baskets:

  1. Mixed basket
  2. Nature basket- pine cones, sponges etc
  3. Noisy basket – musical instruments
  4. Colour basket – you could even colour theme!
  5. Food basket – include food that the children can explore – smell, touch as taste
  6. Stacking basket – things children can stack! Cardboard boxes, curtain rings on kitchen roll holders, wooden blocks
  7. Play/action based – such as cooking pans and utensils to pretend to cook, cutlery, jugs and cups to serve drinks.
  8. Kitchen basket – again using kitchen items such as various utensils. But you could also add in some dried pasta, rice or lentils (inside some clear pots)
  9. Soft basket – cotton wool, flannels, baby brush, a soft toy

If you wanted to buy you own sensory basket filled with items already you can get one here

You can buy lots of different items on amazon such as feathers, a honey drizzler and other wooden items. You can also find baskets and various sensory toys. Take a look here

You could also add some sensory bottles and you can easily make them at home. I have written a post on how you can make them. Take a look here to take a look.

Photo source

Activities · Craft Activities · Nannying · Sensory Play

Sensory Play – Mess Free Painting Activity

Take a look at this amazing mess free painting activity. Plus you wont even get messy. Sounds amazing right?

All you need is for the mess free painting activity:

  • Cling film
  • Sellotape
  • Paint

This is such a quick and fun activity to set up and mess free!

To set up:

  1. Roll out your cling film over a table and then cut to size. Then you will need to sellotape the cling film to the table.
  2. Once the cling film is sellotaped to the table, squirt some paint on top of the cling film. The more colours the better!
  3. Next get some more cling film roll it out over on top so it covers the paint. Cut the cling film to size and sellotape again on top of the paint. Make sure you seal all of the paint in and there are no holes for it to leak!

Encourage your children to mix the colours together!

When you are finished mixing and exploring the different colours all you need to do is peel the sellotape off and throw it away. All of the paint will stay inside of the cling film so no mess is made! Sounds perfect right?

This activity is very fun to play with. It could be a good activity idea if your child doesn’t like getting dirty.

If you like this post why don’t you take a look at some of my other posts such as our monster plate craft activity or our halloween decorations?

Don’t forget to subscribe and share!

Activities · Craft Activities · Gifts · Nannying

Valentines Day 

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow so it’s time to start making some cards! My 3 year old nanny child made three. One for his parents, one for his brother and one for his little girlfriend! (Ok, not his girlfriend but they are like best friends!)

We used:

  • Red card – bent in half (foil card)
  • White card
  • Red paint
  • White paint
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue

Step by step:

  1. Bend the red foil card in half to resemble a card.
  2. Cut the white card down to size to fit on top of the red card.
  3. Using a pencil draw a love heart on the white card (or get your child to draw one.)
  4. Get your child to finger paint! Using red and white pain inside the heart. Set aside to let dry.
  5. Inside the card write something special and emcourage your child to sign their name or draw some kisses.
  6. Glue the white card with the love heart ontop of the red card.
  7. You have a Valentines Day card!

Nannying

Nannying vs babysitting

Quite a lot of people often get these two mixed up. It’s probably just an accident as some people may not actually know that there’s a difference. Only around 3 or 4 years ago I learnt that nannies actually existed and there are people like Mary Poppins and Nanny Mcphee out there. It wasn’t just a made up profession.

The very definition of a nanny is ‘a person, typically a women, employed to look after a child in its own home’. The definition of a babysitter is ‘a person who looks after a child or children while the parents are out’. They are very similar definitions so there’s no wonder why some people get these two very different professions muddled up.

Babysitting

Babysitting usually occurs a few hours an evening. Babysitters do not have to have any childcare qualifications, maintain a first aid certificate, a DBS check and can sometimes be young workers. I started off babysitting at age 13-14, I didn’t have any childcare qualifications and wasn’t first aid trained. I charged £5 an hour and my first babysitting family I cared for a 6 month old baby and a 4 year old. I turned up and the children were usually asleep. I spent my evening sitting eating snacks the family had provided for me and watching a bit of television. Babysitters often turn up to care for children during an evening while the parents go out. The children are often asleep on arrival.

Nannying 

Nannying is a job, a career. A nanny or manny (male nanny) is a person usually with special training who is employed to care for children in the child’s household. Nannies are expected to have childcare qualifications, first aid training and have a clean DBS check. Nannies are expected to care for children all day while their parents go to work, some nannies work 60+ hours a week. Nannies are a big support system for the family. Nannies not only take the children to school/nursery, we take the the children to toddler groups, arrange playdates, take them out to parks, museums, libraries. We cook, clean, do washing, iron and dog walking. On top of that we plan activities, teach and encourage the children in our care to thrive, be entertained and be happy. We help with homework, school projects and run errands such as collecting parcels and grocery shopping. We do the bedtime routine, we bathe and put the children to bed.

Nannies are employed by the parents. We get a monthly pay check, we pay taxes and National Insurance. We are professionals who run a house while the parents are at work, we work as part of a team to help raise tiny human beings.

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Nannying

10 Things to include in a nanny portfolio

When you go for an interview it is always important to go prepared. Obviously you need to dress the part, be punctual, polite and professional. But attending nanny interviews I always find taking a portfolio my biggest asset.

Things that you should have inside a nanny portfolio:

  1. Your qualifications –  any childcare qualifications is a must. I have also added my GCSE and A levels too. Just that added language certificate just may make you stand out.
  2. Your DBS, formally known as CRB. You must make sure this is constantly up to date and clean.
  3. First aid training certificate (EPI pen training certificate if you’ve got one). Also make sure you get your  first aid training renewed every 3 years. Epi pen training is after every year.
  4. Oftsed certificate if you have one. Being Ofsted registered is a bonus to some parents as they will be able to pay some of your wages by using childcare vouchers.
  5. Any training certificates you own – health and safety, safeguarding, food hygiene, nutrition, child behaviour etc.
  6. Your updated CV
  7. References – any written references from previous nanny families, work experience, babysitting or previous employment in the childcare sector. All of the nanny interviews I have been to all parents and guardians are always looking for previous childcare experience.
  8. Nanny insurance certificate – I am with Morton Micheal but I also know of Pacey.
  9. Policies – Where I have been previously Ofsted registered I have written my own policies such as a medicine policy.
  10. A personal touch – you could add your accomplishments working with children, the sort of activities you enjoy planning for the children in your care, the places you would be interested in taking your nanny children. Or even better, having photos of the previous crafts you have done with your previous nanny children to prove  you are a creative and fun nanny.
Nannying

The hardest thing being a nanny is leaving

A few months ago I was informed by my nanny family of almost two years that in a year or two they plan on moving away to Scotland. Dad is Scottish and they have family up there, including one of their offices for their business. They have already found and bought a beautiful family home.

At first my 5 year old was so excited. But recently he has been struggling. He doesn’t want to go to the new school and on top of that he found out I wouldn’t be his nanny anymore.

He has been quite emotional about it, even asking me if I could move up to Scotland with him because he wants me to be his nanny forever. I’ve been open with him. I’ve told him that I love him and his brother and it hurts me too that they will be moving away but we still have a year or two together. Even when we are not together they can always phone, message me, write and I can even come and visit.

I’ve not left a long term nanny family before but leaving your nanny children is painful. You grow attachments, care for and love these children. Almost be like secondary parents to them. It’s got to be the hardest part of being a nanny because eventually we are no longer needed. Children grow up or circumstances change.

I decided to buy a book to help. It’s called Nanny and Me by Florence Ann Romano. A beautiful book about a nanny and her nanny children and about all the memories they shared. If you are interested in purchasing this book yourself you can find it here Nanny and Me.

I wrote a poem and a special message inside so when they read their book they think of all the happy memories we’ve shared.