Activities · Recipes

Bitesize Pizzas Recipe!

One of my nanny charges (6 year old) favourite foods is pepperoni pizza! He likes to do activities with me after school so I planned on making some bitesize pizzas with him. Plus they would some tasty snacks!

Ingredients for bitesize pizzas:

  • Wraps
  • Tomato puree
  • Cheese
  • Ham

You could add a variety of different stuff though! You could use pepperoni, peppers, tomatoes, chicken, sweetcorn or mushrooms. My nanny charge is just a bit fuzzy with his food!

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c
  2. We used a small drinking cup to cut out small circles out of the wraps. Pop to circles into a muffin baking tray.
  3. Spoon some tomato puree onto the pizzas and using the back of the spoon, spread around.
  4. Grate some cheese and sprinkle it on top of the pizzas
  5. Add your toppings! As you can see we only used chopped ham. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any mini pepperoni.
  6. Pop the bitesize pizzas into the preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes
  7. Enjoy!

These bitesize pizzas are great snacks. They could be popped into the children’s lunch boxes for school too.

We didn’t actually pre grease the baking trays beforehand but as you can see they still came out fine!


These are so great as you can make them so different each time or but a variety of different flavours during each batch!

They turned out so yummy! Especially when they are still nice and warm. We may have left ours in there for an extra couple of minutes. Hence the tiny bits of burnt cheese!

These are really quick to make, they took about 10 minutes to prep and 10-12 minutes to cook. So roughly 22 minutes in total!

If you like this recipe why don’t you take a look at the others? Such as our mashed potato muffins or jam tarts.

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Activities · Nannying · Sensory Play

Dyed Spaghetti Play

Last week was a busy one. But our favourite activity last week was dyed spaghetti play!

This was the first time I actually tried it out and it’s very easy to make. You can make it in three easy steps.

You need these for dyed spaghetti play:

  • Spaghetti
  • Food colouring
  • Sandwich bags
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions
  2. Once the spaghetti has cooked, separate the spaghetti into separate sandwich bags and pop a few drops of food colouring in each separate bag
  3. You will need to seal the sandwich bags and using your hands mix the food colouring into the spaghetti. Leave for at least 5 minutes to let the spaghetti absorb the dye. The longer you leave it, the brighter the colours will be.
Tip: You can add a little bit of oil to stop the spaghetti from sticking together!

Voila! In three simple steps you have made some dyed spaghetti, perfect for sensory play. I gave the three year old some scissors to encourage him to cut the spaghetti. A great way to encourage his scissor and motor skills. The dyed spaghetti will last for a few days, however the colouring will fade a little. So you get to reuse it again!

You could make the dyed spaghetti at home or it could go down a hit if you work at a nursery! Could you imagine all those happy little faces when they see this?!

Sensory play is beneficial to children because:

  1. It is important for your child’s learning and development
  2. It stimulates all your child’s senses at once
  3. Sensory play encourages your child to play, explore and investigate
  4. It can be a calming influence on children and can be therapeutic

If you have enjoyed dyed spaghetti play why don’t you try my Dinosaur Ice Excavation activity or sensory bottles next?

Activities · Baking · Craft Activities · Nannying

20 ideas to do with your children when it rains

When it rains we all know as parents, grandparents, nannies, childminders or other childcare professionals it can be a pain when to rains. Being stuck inside all day can send you all a bit crazy! So I have put together a little list of rainy day activities for you all 🙂

Don’t threat though. There are still PLENTY of things you could do to stay entertained.

See below for 20 rainy day activities

  1. You could just brave it and play out in the rain! Stick your welly boots on and your rain macs and go and explore outside! Make a mud cake, go on a bear hunt, search for creepy crawlies and splash in those puddles! However, this could not be for all of you out there. Which is fine because there are still plenty more ideas.
  2. Junk modelling! Get your recycling box out, some sellotape and your craft box and encourage your child to build something! A space rocket, a car, binoculars, a fairy wand. Anything!
  3. Painting – if you haven’t got any of your own paints in the house, you can make you own. You use half a cup of flour, half a cup of salt and half  cup of water. Divide the mixture up into pots, bowls or even sandwich bags and add a little bit of water colour or food colouring. If you don’t want to get paint everywhere or you have a child who doesn’t like getting dirty try out this Mess Free Painting Activity.
  4. Play with play dough. Make your own play dough – or use ready made play dough. You can use play dough cutters. You could even get out some candles, your pretend tea set and make some play dough food!
  5. Baking – bake some cookies or a cake. Baking is one of our favourites, it’s fun and it encourages the kids to practice weighing out ingredients and practice their numbers. Take a look at some of my previous blogs to find some various baking activities such as Banana muffinsJam TartsGingerbread men or Cake trains.
  6. Make your own homemade bird feeder – we made these last week and it was so much fun! The birds are loving them too.
  7. Cooking – Similar as above and I encourage my nanny children to help cook or bake even when it’s not raining. Encourage your child to help prepare and cook dinner. A good way to promote healthy eating and your child’s cooking skills.
  8. Build a fort. Grab some blankets, cushions and snacks!
  9. Make your own puppets. You could sew your own or you could use some old socks. We all know we have a couple of random socks with a lost mate. Once your puppets are finished you could put on your own puppet show.
  10. You could make you own candles. I have made them with my nanny children before and they loved it. It made a wonderful Mother’s Day gift too.
  11. Watch a film together – perhaps a good old Disney film?
  12. Good old fashioned colouring. My nanny children (the twins) love a good colouring in book
  13. Put on a show. I have introduced ‘shows’ with my nanny children. We dress up using the fancy dress clothes, wigs, jewellery and turn off the lights and grab some torches. They hide behind the curtains and I shine the torches on them as they come out to sing, dance or act out their favourite stories.
  14. Pretend play – my favourite would have to be pretend food. Such as playing shops, pretend cooking, playing restaurants or even having a tea party!
  15. Play a board game. My nanny children’s favourite ones are ‘guess who‘, ‘pop to the shops‘ and of course the legendary ‘hungry, hungry hippos‘! pop to the shopshippos
    guess who
  16. Another easy one – gloop play. Gloop is so easy to make and you only need two ingredients. Water and cornflour. But if you want to add colour just pop some food colouring in. I suppose paint could work too for colour. Pop two cups of cornflour into a bowl and one cup of water. Mix together – get your child to help! It’s messy, but so much fun. Plus a great sensory activity.
  17. Water/sand play. Get your kitchen bits out too, jugs, measuring jugs, measuring spoons, cups and different sized containers. A great activity as meets your child’s learning needs in so many ways!
  18. Make your own sensory bottles – click the link to view how to make them.
  19. Make music. Whether you use your own musical instruments, you take out the pots and pans from your kitchen or you could always make your own – such as your own rainmaker or guitar.
  20. Make your own jewellery. You may have some old beads and some string lying around the house to use. Or you could hand dye some penne pasta or macaroni and thread that onto some string.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and if you want more ideas let me know!

Activities · Nannying

Homemade bird treats

This week my nanny child and I made some homemade bird treats. It’s very simple and you don’t need many items at all. It’s a nice little activity to do with children to encourage them to be interested in wildlife.

You need these items for the homemade bird treats:

  • Unflavoured gelatine powder
  • Wild bird feed
  • Water
  • Cookie cutters

Method:

  1. First you need to mix the gelatine powder in a saucepan with a little bit of water. I used two sachets of the picture above. 
  2. Once the gelatine and water has blended together, it’s time to mix in the bird feed. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
  3. Meanwhile, you could pick the cookie cutters you would like to use for the bird treats. We picked a car, a train, a gingerbread man, a teddy bear, a star and square. Once you have picked the shapes you want, set the cookie cutters flat on a plate.
  4. Once the mixture had cooled enough, I let my three year old nanny charge spoon the mixture into the cookie cutters. We used a straw to poke a hole at the top of each bird treat so once dried we could add some string through to hang up.
  5. Once you have spooned the mixture into the cookie cutters just pop the plates into the fridge for at least an hour for the mixture to set.
  6. Once the mixture has set you can use some string to thread through the little hole made. Tie up the string and hang up outside for the birdies!

I think they look really sweet! Let me know how it goes for you and feel free to share what shapes you decide to pick!

If you like this post why don’t you take a look at other activities I have done with my nanny children. You may enjoy our Dinosaur excavation activity or my post about Harrypottermous!

Activities · Days out · Nannying

Easter Break: Part Two!

Easter Break Part two!

We have finally finished the first Easter half term week! And breathe… If your a parent or in childcare make sure you try and have a rest over the weekend for the second week.

Thursday

Thursday was a lovely and sunny day. The perfect day to visit the zoo! We visited Port Lympne Zoo in Hythe. I took the boys and one of the six year olds friends from school. They had a school project to complete over Easter to find out 5 facts about an African animal. My charge decided to pick a Giraffe and his friend picked a Cheetah. If you haven’t visited Port Lympne before, it’s worth it. Half of the zoo includes a safari – land rover trucks drive you around open safari zone. You can spot Giraffes, Rhinos, Ostriches,  Zebras and more. I have visited Port Lympne’s sister zoo before – Howletts – which is on flatter land which makes it easier to walk around.

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School project time!

As we were on the safari truck the children got their notepads out and started writing down notes about what facts to use! My nanny charge liked the fact that Giraffes have blue tongues.

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After we went on the safari we stopped off at the cafe to grab some lunch. Don’t attempt to try and find the restaurant on the map – it doesn’t serve food any more! Just stick to the cafe by the buggy park, it serves hot and cold food and is right next door to the children’s play area.

We finished up our lunch and finished the walking route and the maze. Well I say we finished, We couldn’t find the dinosaur trail section. By this time it was almost 4pm and I knew the safari trucks would soon to stopping and it was getting late, so we had to call it a day. By the time we made it back up to the top of the zoo and had the kids face paints done and spent what felt like an eternity in the gift shop, we made it back to the car an hour later! Then after dropping off the six year olds friend we made it back home for 6pm. By 7:20pm I had cooked tea, the children had eaten, I had given the boys a bath and got the three year old to sleep. I think I deserve a medal.

Friday

Today we visited the trampoline park again with another one of the six year olds friends. We booked two hours this time round because one hour never seems enough for the boys. We had pizza for lunch and ice lollies to cool down. After we finished bouncing we went back home and played out in the garden to enjoy the rest of the sun before we had to take our little friend home.

Friday was a lot more relaxed day. I still got home and was fast asleep by 9pm though…

Enjoy the rest of your Easter Half term!

Come and look at what we got up to the first half of our Easter here.

Activities · Craft Activities · Gifts · Mother's Day · Nannying

Mothers Day Crafts

Hiya everyone, Mother’s Day is almost here!

This week I have been busy with my nanny children making some Mother’s Day crafts.

With my first nanny family we baked some shortbread cookies and I had the trio decorate a banner saying ‘Happy Mother’s day’. I then got them to pose with it so I could take a picture. Then I went to get the nicest picture developed (organising three children who are five years old and under in a photo is harder than it looks!) I then bought a pretty frame to put the photo inside. Mum loved it and keeps it on her desk in her office.

With my second nanny family (the boys) we bought a decopatch box to decorate with some decopatch tissue paper! The box would be a little jewellery box. We also made some jewellery for her new jewellery box made from air dry clay. See below what items we used and click the links to view more!

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boxes.jpgWe also made a heart shaped necklace by using air dry clay. We used a cookie cutter to get the shape and used metallic purple paint too. If your choose to use metallic paint just be aware it can stain clothes so just be careful. You can use any type of paint though. If you see closely I got the boys to put their thumb print in the shape of the heart too, how sweet!

We also decided to make the same as the heart necklace but just make it into a keyring instead!

I hope you have enjoyed all of our Mother’s Day Crafts and that your Mum has a lovely Mother’s Day!

If you didn’t read my previous post about what the children made for mothers day last year for Mother’s Day then take a look here… Candle Making.

Activities · Nannying

Imaginative play: Cooking

My three year old nanny charge loves his trains and cars and often uses imaginative play with those. But although he has pretend food and a play supermarket he just doesn’t play with them. So I thought I would give it another go and change things up a little to encourage him to play with it!

There was a little bit of cardboard that was on top of the recycling pile so I just used that. I used two different sized saucepans and drew around them on top of the cardboard to resemble cooking hobs. Then found a child height chest and popped the cardboard on top.

Time to get cooking!

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I provided saucepans, cooking utensils, wooden spoons, cutlery, plates, cups, bowls, pretend food and a little bit of real food.

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My three year old loved it. He started to pretend to cook, dish up food, pour drinks and eat!

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If you don’t already own some pretend food you can find it here. This pretend food set is great because it comes with a pretend knife and chopping board so you can cut the food up, how fun!

If you have enjoyed this imaginative play activity why don’t you try my dinosaur ice excavation activity!

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?

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!

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