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Please listen to the poem . My daughter wrote it

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since 23/09/2002


Creative Logic Blocks 28/10/2016

We had Logic blocks at school

Creative Logic Blocks Creative's Logic Blocks are another toy that we had at the special needs school Where I retired from last year. ~These logiblocks are suitable for a child aged 3 and over. ~ These logic blocks come in a strong recycled Card box which has a picture of these blocks on, so easy for a child to know what is in the box. ~ Inside the box are There are 64 block shapes. There are 4 shapes circle, square, triangle, rectangle. Each of these shapes comes in 2 sizes large and small. Each of these shapes also comes in thick or thin. I am sorry I do not have one here to tell you how big or small one measures but I can visualise them and think they were around 4cm. The size was good for my students to use. ~Made of These blocks are made of a strong plastic very durable. Easy to clean just need a wash in warm soapy water. ~Colours. The colours red, blue, yellow, green, nice and bright. ~~Learning These blocks can be used by children at an early stage just to practice their motor skills, to build up their muscles in their hands and arms to learn grips for picking things up. To help eye hand coordination, to help them to learn visual discrimination, to realise that the look and are different. You could just put these blocks on the table and let your child explore them. I have watched children just playing with these blocks making patterns, laying them out in a row, piling them up Start a patterning sequence off either colour or shape then let your child continue the pattern ...

Guy Fawkes Night: What does November 5th mean to you? 26/10/2016

I do remember, remember the 5th of November, many of them

Guy Fawkes Night:  What does November 5th mean to you? Remember, remember the 5th of November, being as ancient as I am I have had many bonfire night celebrations to recall. So what does it mean for ME.? Well apart from the historical fact that Guy Fawkes an explosive expert tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and failed it means bonfires and fireworks. I wonder how/if we would celebrate if he succeeded? As a child it meant excitement. Before bonfire night I would help dad stuff a hessian potato sack full of straw, make a head usually part of mums old tights stuffed with straw. We would find some old trousers for him and give him a hat often the hat would just be some fabric wound round the top of his head then we would push the guy in a wheelbarrow to the bonfire and put him on top. I always have the memory of a worried mum. We lived in a thatched cottage on the village green. The bonfire was lit on the village green and fireworks let off. Mum was always anxious that a rocket or other fireworks might land on the roof and set it alight. Before we left for the fireworks we would make sure our dog was safely in the house and put her in the bedroom at the back of the house. The fireworks went of at the front of the house and the bangs would upset her. Back in the late 50's and 1960's we did not have organised display just villagers gathered around the bonfire to let off their own fireworks. Sparklers held gingerly by children's hands rockets the stick in a milk bottle set of to soar across the sky. Catherine wheels ...

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle 25/10/2016

A visit to Carlisle castle

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle After we visited Bitts Park in Carlisle one morning we then visited the castle. The castle is on Castle Way Carlisle very near near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall. (Just a path left here now) We had gone to Carlisle on the train was staying in a hotel in the centre so walked there from our Hotel. Or the train station less than 1/2 hour walking distance. There is parking near the castle. The castle is a Norman style motte and bailey style castle castle The castle is open 7 days a week 5th March - 30th September 10am till 5pm 1 October - 12 Feburary 2017 10am till 4pm In front of the castle there is a grassy area and a small access road 5mph. This road goes over a speed bump and a bridge over the dry moat. We entered the Carlisle castle through the outer gate house and paid our entry fee. The castle is an English-heritage property so if you are a member it's free. An adult is £6.40, child £3.80, family 2 adults 3 children £16.60, concession £5.80. We were offered but refused a guide book. Once through the outer gate we could see a small tarmac parking and a few brick buildings I think these are still used as military offices and I think one is a cafe as there is one mentioned but we did not go there We turned to the left where the old castle ruins were. The castle and the more modern brick buildings are built of red sandstone. Where I live in the Chilterns every older building built of chalk so it was quite a contrast for me. Just as we got to the inner gateway we noted ...

Miniland Nuts and Bolts 24/10/2016

Let's get down to the nuts and bolts of these Nuts and Bolts.

Miniland Nuts and Bolts Let's get down to the nuts and bolts of these Nuts and Bolts. These Mini land Nuts and Bolts are toys. ~Age. They are suitable for children over 3 years old ~What are they? These plastic Nuts and Bolts are chunky nuts and bolts of different shapes and colours. The sets come with activity cards. I remembered we have a large set at school. (I retired last year) ~The size of these is good. Bolt about 6 cm nut about 5 cm about. They are ideal for small hands or larger hands to hold and grip. ~The colours of these nuts and bolts are red, green, blue or yellow. Each set having a mixture of colours but matching coloured nuts or bolts. ~The heads of the bolts are different Geometrical shapes there are square ones, circles, triangles. The nuts are also circles squares or triangles. Although what is desired is that the same coloured triangle nut is fitted onto the same coloured triangle bolt it is possible to mix and match them. The bolt shafts are circular screw fits With this set come some plastic activity cards where you match the shapes. Some of these cards have pictures of a car or maybe flowers with shapes for the wheels or the flower heads. The cards have holes the size of the bolt shaft through the shapes. You push the correct shape/colour bolt through the hole and put the nut on the other side to hold it in place. ~ I have known children totally absorbed in this activity for ages. Sometimes we did not use the activity cards but just let the children play with the ...

Bitts Park, Carlisle 23/10/2016

Exploring Bitts Park Carlisle

Bitts Park, Carlisle Having never been to Carlisle before we decided to would go and visit for a few days. As it was a dry morning one of those days we had a walk into Bitts Park. Bitts Park is almost next to the Castle we were going to visit the castle later. This park is not far from the shops we accessed it by walking under the busy ring road First we walked along the edge of Bitts Park by the river Eden on the Hadrian's Wall walk this was a narrow path that was easy to walk along. First we walked along the edge of ornamental gardens which had some beautiful trees just turning autumn colours. We walked right beside the river where there were long grasses and a few wild flowers. I think this area managed for the benefit of wildlife. As we walked along the rivers edge the other side of us was the cricket ground and tennis court. We did not walk very far very far and saw a stone sculpture running parallel to the river. This stone sculpture is part of the Eden Benchmarks. One from a group of ten stone sculptures which are at intervals along the river Dove starting at Malerstang the source of the river to where it joins the sea at Rockcliffe. There are 4 parts to this stone sculptures looking a bit like stone balls. Each part of this sculpture is slightly different the details describing the erosion of water. They are designed so that they can also be used as seats, I do not think they would be very comfortable. After strolling this short distance along the river with a small area of woodland ...

Giggler Hopscotch Play Set 21/10/2016

No chalk needed to play this hopscotch.

Giggler Hopscotch Play Set Trying to review toys that I supervised children playing with before I recently retired I am reviewing the Hopscotch Puzzle Interlocking Activity Play Mat Set- 14 piece by Giggler. ~Price, availability I just checked on line and you can buy this from for £9.99. EBay has some for about £7 ~Packaging This set arrived wrapped closely in thick cellophane with needs cutting or if fingers strong and you can tear a smell piece to get started it will tear open This set of numbers is suitable for using outside or inside. I have used them in both situations. ~ Pieces This set consists of 14 pieces including 10 number tiles and 4 counter disks. I have not seen our counters for a long time think they are lost. A small information guide comes with the set, Ours again is lost or thrown away. ~Material This set is made of dense foam. The top of the squares is slightly textured. ~ Size/shape Each piece is a square about 30cm square, about 1/2 a cm thick. Each side of a square has interlocking teeth along it. In the centre of the square are numbers they will push out/in. These pieces are fitted firmly. Ours still fit well after a couple of years. The 4 counters are circular pieces of foam. ~Colour and design The square is red, purple, and orange, blue, green or yellow each piece has a contrasting coloured removable number cut out of it. ~Use Now the fun learning bit. These squares do fit ...

Learning Resources Extra Long Hand Pointers 18/10/2016

Pointing with a plastic hand

Learning Resources Extra Long Hand Pointers When I was working in a special needs school there were a few of the Extra long hand pointers around also some of the shorter ones too Extra Long Original Hand Pointers . These extra long hand pointers are made of plastic. They have a white plastic hand with the index (pointy finger pointing) this is very firmly stuck on a coloured plastic pole I have seen a red one or green or blue one. I have seen shorter ones with coloured hands and white poles. I personally have not used these often but I know some shorter staff has. These pointy sticks get used to get a child's attention and point to items on the white board, they are handy as it means if you wish to point to something on white board you do not get your body in the sway you can stand to the side and use this hand pointy stick. Also useful if reading from a big book which is propped up at the side as then the pictures or words can be pointed at easily without obstructing the view. They are also good as you can give then to the children to point at the white board at something too. Handy for those in wheelchairs who have not got the height to point to things by their own hand. These hand pointers are more fun for the children than if you use a plain long stick This hand pointy sticks are quite durable one of the classes I visited often had one for a long time did not get broken. ~Cost. For a pack of 3 These cost £13.00 from £14.40 at ...

Learning Resources LER0134 Plastic Pattern Blocks 17/10/2016

Learn a lot with these thick learning resource shapes

Learning Resources LER0134 Plastic Pattern Blocks These Learning Resources Plastic Pattern Blocks are ones which we had at school for the children to learn and play with. They are suitable for both school and home. ~~Age These blocks are suitable for those over 3 years old. Children will put things in their mouths and these shapes can just go in and might be a choking hazard. So supervise those children you know still mouth everything ~Packaging These pattern blocks come in a clear plastic tub ideal for storage. These stand on a shelf at work with other tubs of bricks, cubes, shapes and its east to get the right one out first. ~Contents There are 250 blocks. Equal numbers of 6 different colours and 6 different shapes. I think a guide comes with this set, these learning resources sets usually do, I have not seen one though. ~Just noticed you can get a bag o50 Learning Resources Pattern Blocks cost around £5 or £6. I like these shapes they are thicker than another tub of shapes we have. These are .5 of a cm thick. Each side of the shape is about cam long. There are squares, rectangles, hexagons, trapezoids, rhombus, and triangles. ~Colours Red, yellow, blue, orange, l, brown and green . ~Material. Plastic not wooden we have wooden ones too but these are plastic very durable although we have a few with teeth marks on (parents do give your children breakfast). Washable, they need it after children have tasted licked, chewed on them, I have sometimes disinfected them. Use These are ideal for free play to let ...

Gowi Toys 558-46 Sand Set Princess 16/10/2016

A sand set from Gowi for your Princess.. or Prince

Gowi Toys 558-46 Sand Set Princess This Gowi Princess Sand Set is another set of sand toys which I played with alongside children at the special school I recently retired from. ~Age suitability This toy set is suitable for children from 1 years old and upwards ~Material Durable strong plastic. ~Pieces There are 6 pieces to this sand set a bucket, sieve, butterfly sound mould. , watering can a spade and a rake. The pieces in this set are a pink, lilac/ pinkie purple or green. ~Use These toys are suitable for use in the sand or pit/tray at home or school or at the beach. Let's hope we have a few sunny days at half term to take advantage of this. Coulds also be used in the bath. ~The bucket This bucket is pink it has a picture of a unicorn on it. The bucket has a lip to make pouring easier the top of the bucket. There is a rim around the top which you can get our fingers under this is good for getting a grip on the bucket. The handle fitted to this bucket is a light green. The height of the bucket 13.3cm its diameter 16 cm. This bucket is more popular with the girls than the boys, I do wish someone had not said pink is for girls too them. The bucket is great for making sand castles in the children experiment with dry sand damp sand and yes they do make the sand too wet. This bucket gets used by the children just for filling and emptying. It gets used in the water tray as well as the sand tray. I have also seen this bucket used by children to carry other small objects in around the playground. This ...

Bigjigs Toys BJ735 Wood Fishing Game 14/10/2016

Catch a wooden fish toy

Bigjigs Toys BJ735 Wood Fishing Game Today I shall be reviewing the Big jigs wooden fishing game. A fishing game similar to this has been available for many years from various manufacturers. I have played several different fishing games of this type in my life .I is sure a lot of you will also have done. This Wooden fishing game is one I played with at work (special needs school) with the children, I think I have played it elsewhere too but can not remember where. This wooden fishing game has been available now for quite a few years. ++Age This toy suitable for a 3 year old and over. ++Material. You have guessed correctly wood. Also cord and a little bit of plastic holding the magnet. ++ Pieces 18 pieces including 4 sides to the tank fish, 2 fishing rods 12 fish. ++size This fish tank is an open box it's about 22cm wide x 22 cm long x 10cm high no base. The fishing rods (wooden) about 14 cm long the line (the cord) is short about 10-12 cm could do with being a bit longer ++Looks. This fish tank is quite attractive the wooden fish tank has a base colour of a pale sea blue the bottom of the pieces has a small yellow sand coloured border. On the yellow sand there are a few shells pictures and some seaweed. In the blue sea pictures of a few fish and watch it fish there is a picture of a hook dangling with a worm on it. The wooden fish are flat, no not flat fish just flat. Each one is attractive coloured and pattered, they all have eyes and mouths. They are a real fish shapes also seahorses, crab, ...

Gowi Toys 558-55 Sandmould 13/10/2016

Make a sand boat. plane or car with these moulds

Gowi Toys 558-55 Sandmould I am playing in the sand pit again. This time with a set of 3 Gowi vehicle sand moulds. ~Material Firm strong plastic, not brittle. ~Design's There's a plane mould, a car mould and a boat mould ~Colour Bright red, blue and orange. ~Age, suitability, They are suitable for a child over year old so at 62 I should be safe playing with these. I think suitable from this age up to about 6 years old depending on your child's development and interests. These sand moulds suitable for the sand pit /tray at home or at school or the beach. ~~Size Height: about 3cm high/deep and 13cm long. These are a good size for little hands to hold and use. The sand shapes a good size too. ~Use My experience of these is at a special needs school. These vehicle sand moulds would be used in the sand pit. The children filling them up either by hand or using toy sand spade. Doing this helps develop those muscles in arms hands and fingers. Helps hand eye coordination If playing with/alongside others the children learning social skills, sharing the moulds and tools, not keeping all the sand to themselves. These moulds work best when used in damp sand the child (or me) filling the mould up turning it over patting it out. let the child play withy dry sand first to realise that a mould can not be made , then add water (not too much) by doing this they learn about the consistency of sand. The resulting moulds has window/ door markings on makes the mould a bit more realistic A maths aspect could be ...

Autumn: what are the top 5 products you just can’t do without during this season? 12/10/2016

5 products I really can't do without this autumn

Autumn: what are the top 5 products you just can’t do without during this season? Question Autumn: what are the top 5 products you just can’t do without during this season? Answer While I sit and muse on my thoughts about the top 5 products I just can’t do without during this season? read this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them -- The summer flowers depart -- Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone, Except your musing heart. To read the rest of this poem go to Now the dates of autumn do depend on whether you are talking about the Meteorological autumn or the Astronomical autumn the dates do differ a little Meteorological Autumn began on the first of September finishes on the 30th November 1st , Meteorologically the year is split in to 4 seasons these coincide with the Gregorian calendar which makes it easy for meteorological observation and forecasting . The Astronomical 1/4 of our year. The Astronomical autumn begins on the 22 September and ends on the 20th December the dates here are due to the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun The nights get longer the mornings get darker, the evenings too Well I have mused and here are the top 5 products I just can’t do without during this season. 1~~Spade The first item that comes to mind is my spade. This is a tool I shall be using quite a lot in the garden this Autumn. My ...

Little Tikes Princess Cosy Coupe 12/10/2016

Now your little Princess can have her own Cozy coupe.

Little Tikes Princess Cosy Coupe Yes we had a pink Princess little Tikes cozy coupe at work (special needs school) Little Tikes make many trucks and ride on's we have many zooming around the playground propelled by children's feet we have trucks police cars, taxi's fire trucks and many more. Little Tikes even make a pinker Cozy Coupe the one called rosy has a pink roof too. Little Tikes thought that girls would like a Pink cozy coupe. Personally I would not buy a pink one for a girl. They can do without being cosily stereotyped boys are not blue and girls are not pink. ~ Material This little Tikes princess cozy coupe is made out of plastic. The wheels are attached with metal. ~Age suitability 18 months and over up to the age of about 6 depending on child's size. ~Size The height of this vehicle is 84cm width 72 depth 44cm ~~Cozy coupe I have never had to put one together caretaker did that. This cozy coupe comes flat packed and the pieces pushed together. I believe this is not too difficult. Instructions come with the toy or on line see This cozy coupe has 4 sturdy black wheels these turn so the buggy can turn corners. . If you should have a Pink Princess cozy coupe which needs spare parts then these are available at This Pink Princess cozy coupe is very durable suitable for both home or play facility/school. Children really like to ride this coupe. When I was at work I found ...

Hape Sea Creature Moulds 10/10/2016

Hape sea creatures for sand or water play

Hape Sea Creature Moulds I love sand play both for the children and myself :- ) Playing with sand has so many benefits. see for info. These Hape Sea Creatures Sand Moulds are ones I remember well from the special needs school where I worked till recently. These moulds are suitable for children over 18 months old. I think more suitable to slightly older children safe for little ones. But I think better for older children who will have more idea about sea animals and sand mould making. There are 5 moulds a crab, starfish, fish, seahorse and shellfish. These are made of a strong durable plastic. Each one is around 13cm long about 3cm high. Each sea creature is a different colour the fish blue , the crab orange , starfish yellow seahorse purple, shellfish green, Each mould has marking ridges for the shell shapes, the fins the claws, the eyes , making these sae creature moulds look interesting. ~Use These sea creatures sand moulds are best filled with damp sand. Then turn the mould up remove the sand mould carefully. When the mould removed the sand mould is good it has the markings on it. These make really good little sculptures of sea creatures. These moulds can also be used in the water tray for general play. I have seen children trying to catch the fish with a small net which we have. These sea creatures are ideal for using when we are doing a seaside topic maybe when talking about holidays. Or if you are going to visit ...

A Friend Like Henry - Nuala Gardner 09/10/2016

The sequel All Because of Henry

A Friend Like Henry - Nuala Gardner I have just finished reading All Because Of Henry written by Nuala Gardner Unfortunately, ciao were unable to accept this suggestion. However ciao has a position for A Friend like Henry by Nuala Gardner which is the prequel to this book so I shall post my review here. All because of Henry was first published in 2013. This book is an autobiography by Nuala Gardener it is her story about her son with autism his dog and the struggles and joys of family life with Autistic children. About how a dog well trained are a help and a support, a friend. How a dog like Henry can help unlock a child's autism and help them succeed. Note Henry is not the name of the child but the dog. Henry is a golden retriever. Nuala has 2 children both with Autism. Dale whose dog is Henry'and Amy his younger sister. Not so much is written in this book about Amy. This book 239 pages long is written when Dale her son is 17 and continues the story of the trials and tribulations of family life. About the dog Henry, and other family dog's . How Henry makes a real difference to the quality of their lives. about how Dale goes to college and how he copes with work placements. Also about the work Nuala does with Autism dogs and families as another dog added to the family and the death of Henry. . There is not much mention of her husband although he does appear to be supportive of the children and their needs. There is certainly matrimonial disharmony and towards the end of the book. Nuala and her husband ...
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