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Sunday, 27 November 2022

Christmas Playdough Mats | Free Download

There are so many benefits of playdough play, whether your children prefer lots of structure or to mix the colours of the playdough it is a great way to release inner creativity and to keep little ones (and big ones!) busy and entertained with an activity over the holiday season. These free christmas playdough mats are ready for you to download and laminate....


christmas playdough mats free download


These xmas playdough mats were originally a free download over on my shop childledplay.co.uk to be used alongside my playdough. I am now posting them here for my blog readers to benefit from too. You can also find a home made playdough recipe here. 

Friday, 25 November 2022

'The Snowman' Tuff tray ideas and activities

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...oh yes! It's that time of year again folks, and based on the fact we have already been watching The Snowman on DVD and reading The Snowman by Raymond Briggs since November, I have been busy putting together 'The Snowman' Tuff tray and activity ideas for you - including a link to a blog post and video of how to make your own Snowman squeezy-oobleck sensory ball!

The Snowman sensory ice melting tuff tray ideas and activities
You'll have probably noticed by now that I love a good Tuff Tray Activity, and whereas I usually resort to posting them straight to my Instagram page, this time I shall provide you with  a little bit more information! Carry on reading below for information on how to put together this fab, snowman melting tuff tray activity...

Thursday, 3 November 2022

10 things you don't know about me

I've had quite a few new followers recently, so in the interest of you all getting to know ME a little better, I am veering away from my usual type of post and diving head first into this one - 10 things you don't know about me!

Blogger Sarah Arthurwears sitting with her children Charlotte and Arthur caption - 10 things you don't know about me


Those who do know me well know that I'm not really one for putting myself in the spotlight, or tooting my own horn - it's taken me a while to get used to having photos of myself (rather than just my children!) on my Instagram feed, but I think I've made good progress there, so here you go.....

Monday, 24 October 2022

Paj finder GPS child tracker review

Have you ever thought you’d lost your child? Or thought that your child had gone missing? We have been in that situation and nothing prepares you for the absolute panic that washes over you. It’s like the world suddenly moves in slow motion, everything goes quiet apart from the deafening sound of your own heartbeat banging hard against your chest. Your brain loses the ability to process your actions as you focus on your one objective of finding your child. In that moment, you wish that you had a sense of where they were, that you could just look on your phone and track them via their phone…except little children don’t have phones do they?

 paj gps child vehicle tracker review

Disclosure: Paid partnership in return for an honest review

When Paj got in touch and asked me if I would like to try out their GPS tracker for children, which can also be used as a GPS vehicle tracker,  I jumped at the chance. I’ve always wondered how well they work, and if they’re worth it. Arthur is now wanting a little more independence too so the timing was perfect. I’ve been given a 6 month subscription to the tracker, which I’ve been testing and will give you a little more info below…but first, back to the story of how we (thought) we’d lost Arthur when he was 3 years old…

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

10 Questions to ask when choosing a Primary School

Are you currently looking around Primary Schools for next September ready for your child to start in Reception class, or, Foundation stage 2? Are you wondering what questions you should ask when choosing a new school? What things you should be looking for when looking around a new school or classroom?

 I found it really hard to approach this task with my 'parent hat' on, rather than my 'Teacher hat'. As many of you will know, I am a Primary School Teacher who specialised in the Early Years (EYFS) and I am extremely passionate about active, free-flow, play based learning. 



10 questions to ask when choosing a primary school

I have compiled a list of questions to ask when trying to choose a primary school below, some of which I asked when looking around the schools...some that I wish I had asked! Anyway, here is the benefit of my hindsight, carefully set out for you to use when researching schools for yourself... and once you've chosen, you can pop back and read my post all about school readiness and how to help our children prepare for Reception class. 

Friday, 7 October 2022

Sensory Tray Play Ideas

Are you looking for ideas and activities for your tray play, tuff tray and sensory play? This blog post links to LOTS of sensory tray play activities for you to try. Simply scroll down, find the activity you like and click on the link to go to the full blog post with all of the information and resources needed. 

sensory tray play ideas


Friday, 9 September 2022

Best Ways to Document Your Child's Life


Have you ever looked at your child and realised how fast they are growing up? The hardest part of being a parent is seeing your child growing and knowing that you can't pause it, even just for a moment. You don't get to go back and give those cheeky rolls a squish for one more day once their limbs are long and slender. You can't rewind to their newborn days and refresh your memory on their eye colour... However, our generation is fortunate since people in the twenty-first century have access to a wide variety of digital devices. You can use them to record your child's first steps, first words, and funny or lovely events. You can also share your child's accomplishments on other social media platforms.

 
Disclosure: This is a collaborate post

Most of us associate our childhood with our hometown, relatives, holidays, and parents. Imagine your adult child being able to see many videos from their childhood after many years. Videos and photos can help people to plunge into their memories. For example, it could be a video of a family celebrating Christmas or a child's birthday...how many times do you take a photo and think, "I'm saving that one for their 18th birthday!".  Furthermore, with the growth of technology, children might pass videos and photos from generation to generation. Unlike when many of us where young - your memories don't have to be put on a shelf because photos and videos can easily be stored in the cloud.

Since memories are valuable, nothing is more important than recording your child's life. This article will teach you the finest ways to document your child's life.

Saturday, 20 August 2022

First Day of School Poem

It's here. Now’s the time. I tell myself I’ll be fine
Its your first day of school, a new book, a new line
But one day you were here every day of the week,
playing with toys, reading books, hide and seek
Now those little legs skip on the pavement to class, as your hand fits in mine - but I hold it like glass...


A Poem for your First Day of School ...

Friday, 12 August 2022

School readiness – preparing your child for Reception Class

School readiness…its something you’ll probably hear quite a lot if you have a child who is preparing to start Reception Class in September, but what does it actually mean??

school readiness - preparing your child for reception class

How can we, as parents, make sure that we are helping and not hindering when preparing our 4 year olds for big school?

Most of my Teaching career was spent teaching Reception, and so this is something I thought long and hard about when passing on information to Parents. What would I hope, as their Teacher, they could do already? What sort of things would I discuss in the Parents meetings for new starters? Where would my expectations be bearing in mind I don’t yet know the children or what level they are at?

Its not what you might expect….

Friday, 15 July 2022

10 ways to cope with exam stress

As exam season approaches, students can often feel overwhelming levels of stress that can hinder their revision preparation. Exams can feel like a lot of pressure as students need to get certain grades to get into their chosen University.

 
10 ways to cope with exam stress

 Disclosure: Paid Partnership Collaborative post

Students often feel anxious and nervous when approaching this time, so we’ve devised a list of some handy tips on how to manage exam stress...

Thursday, 16 June 2022

New Baby Essentials gift guide

Are you having a new baby soon, or know of someone who is? It can be hard to work out just what to buy as a gift for a new mum or a newborn baby - making sure your gift is useful or meaningful is key, as you don't want to be adding to the amount of 'stuff' that new parents seem to acquire once a baby comes along! Some parents may be starting out with nothing, and so helping out by purchasing the 'essentials' rather than something more luxurious may be your preference. You may wish to treat the parent to a useful gift, rather than the baby...after all, they have likely spent 9 months growing a baby (and all that goes along with that!), to then be faced with labour, birth and sleepless nights. Whatever your prefer, this new baby essentials gift guide has a range of ideas for every budget and preference...
 
New Baby Essentials Gift Guide

Disclosure: Paid partnership - some of these items are affiliate links or gifted items for the purpose of an honest review. 

From purchasing the newborn essentials, to making sure you have new mother and baby well-being covered, this blog post gives some suggestions and honest feedback on a range of products for both parent and baby...

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Home office essentials for dealing with back pain

 Back pain is no laughing matter, and unfortunately if you have a sedentary job which requires you to sit at a desk or be in an office for a large number of hours during the day, you may find that this low level of activity combined with poor posture can have a big impact on your back health. Whether you already suffer from debilitating back problems, which your current job exacerbates, or whether your current set up is leading to back issues - there are a number of things you can do to help deal with back pain at work...
 home office essentials for dealing with back pain

Disclosure: Paid Partnership. Contains affiliate links
A few years ago, my husband ended up with a herniated disc in his lower back, we had a 2 year old toddler at the time (I'm sure picking him up and lifting prams and pushchairs etc probably didn't help!) and he found the pain debilitating. Regular physio and visits to see an osteopath were not successful in treating the problem. A dalliance with strong painkillers to help with the pain lead to severe withdrawal symptoms (I'm talking about you Tramadol!) and the injection at the hospital to try and numb the pain in the nerve next to the spine was unsuccessful. Eventually, the only option was surgery to 'shave away' the offending protrusion pushing into his nerve, and remove part of the bone. Thankfully, the operation was a success BUT there are measures that needed to be put in place to help manage his condition and recovery moving forward, and to make sure that he did not end up with more back problems. Here are a list of things to help with back pain at work...

Friday, 1 April 2022

Why Poetry?


NB: Words are subject to copyright and must not be copied and pasted or used elsewhere without permission. If you would like to share this poem you may use the URL of this post to share.

You may enjoy some of my other poems here

Sunday, 27 March 2022

EYFS Writing | Success Criteria grid for Self Evaluation

Help children to be more independent when self-checking and evaluating their writing, by offering an EYFS success criteria grid with visual prompts of sentence writing steps. Children can mark their own work before asking a friend to peer review...

EYFS success criteria grid for writing with self evaluation and peer review

This blog post includes a video demonstration and a free print to download (including a cursive option) so that you can use this sentence writing success criteria grid within your setting, or at home with your child for home-learning. I introduced this to my own Reception class towards the end of the year in the Summer term, and have done the same for my own Reception aged child at home...

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Covid symptoms before vaccines vs after when pregnant

Back in March 2020, at the start of the first lockdown I contracted Corona Virus, or, Covid19 as it is more commonly known. This was before vaccines were available, and even before routine testing - although my symptoms were all in line with covid and became severe enough to warrant a visit from the emergency services. 10 months later I was also diagnosed with 'long covid' as my symptoms and the after affects took such a long time to improve. 
 
covid symptoms before and after vaccines and whilst pregnant

At the time, I quarantined in my bedroom away from my family for 7 days as per the rules at the time. I have since had both vaccines and a booster jab at 12 weeks pregnant making me 'fully vaccinated'. I am currently 25/26 weeks pregnant with my third child and have (along with the rest of my family) contracted covid again.

During my first bout of covid I started a video diary of my symptoms. I never did publish this video to my YouTube channel as my recovery took such a long time it seemed pointless by the time I felt better! However, looking back at this video has enabled me to create a comparison of day by day symptoms which I have listed in the post below....

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

DIY Sensory activity mat for babies

DIY baby sensory play mat

This blog post gives you some ideas, inspiration and links to buy resources in order to make your own DIY sensory play mat for your baby or toddler...


Thursday, 17 February 2022

Mixing the colours of the Playdough

Mixing the colours of playdough - is it really THAT bad? Why do so many struggle with this and are we actually missing out on important learning opportunities by forbidding this to happen??

 mixing the colours of playdough - a lump of playdough colours mixed together


A couple of years ago, Hannah from hi baby blog shared a Facebook photo by Tom Fletcher showing an image of playdough that had been squeezed and mixed together, and the reaction from most parents was that of utter horrification. The need to keep the colours separate appears to be very, very real and the calming down techniques needed when it all inevitably ends up in one big colourful heap are vast.

I'm going to lay my cards on the table early - I love everything that the metaphorical mixing of playdough colours stands for. Not just the metaphorical mind you, the ACTUAL mixing of colours too. I'm not going to sit here and wax lyrical about the parallels we can draw between colour mixing playdough and other, much bigger issues in the world relating to race, religion, politics etc whilst refusing to actually let my children mix the colours of their own playdough - they can genuinely mix all they want....but the focus of this post is why should you let them, and why does it matter??

Monday, 14 February 2022

We bought a rat infested house

There. I've said it. Our new house had a serious rat infestation and we didn't have a clue until after we moved in. In this blog post I'll explain how we came to discover the rat issue, the damage that has become apparent since and why we didn't know about the rats before we bought the house. I'll also explain how we have rectified the rat problem and the measures and repairs we have had to put in place to get rid of the rats since moving in. 
 
we bought a rat infested house


There were lots of things I wanted from this house move - an extra bedroom for our future arrival (I was 6 weeks pregnant when we moved), a bigger garden, more storage space, a utility area. I had accepted that we would have to modernise the house and redecorate and I'd made peace with the fact that we could only make this move if we were mortgaged up to our eyeballs and made a few sacrifices along the way....but i didn't expect THIS...

Monday, 10 January 2022

Playing Catch Up | Helping With Your Primary School Child’s ‘Lost Learning’


“Lost learning” is a term that has been thrown around a lot for the past year. Since being in lockdown, the government have been very keen to stress how important it is to help the millions of children catch up on the lost hours in the class room. A lot of valuable time has been lost and this generation, particularly the younger ones, have suffered setbacks in their academic progress, their social development and most importantly their mental health.
 
Whilst most of my regular readers will know and understand the importance of learning through play, planning to children's interests  and making sure that we are planning and teaching creatively in a child-led way in order to make learning fun, (and therefore more memorable!) rather than focusing on rote learning and memorising of facts - it is part and parcel of the current education system that there are certain skills that children will need in order to progress smoothly throughout their school life. 

Today, we have a guest post from Daniel Grabowski, a qualified Teaching Assistant who is currently working alongside primary aged  children in the aftermath of the covid lockdowns, helping them to make sure that they are having positive learning experiences at school without unnecessary added pressures. In this post, Daniel discusses how you can help your child at home....