October 2016 News Archives

On 20 October, 2016

Spending time with your kids during the half term school holiday is fun, but keeping them entertained isn't always easy.

While it's good for everyone to get a break from school, half term can be just as stressful if you don't make any plans. It's a good idea to think of some fun activities you can do together with the children, so you don't get stuck for inspiration.

Fortunately, it's not difficult to come up with a list you can fall back on. Even if your original plan doesn't work, you can always pick something else out of your list. Try one or more of the following activities this half term for a fun-filled week!

Look for Local Events

When the holidays come around, it's always a good idea to look at local events. Businesses and organisations know that it's half term, so they're ready to entertain you! There are typically all sorts of events available around half term from treasure hunts to ghost tours (it’s nearly halloween after all) fun fairs and more!

Parenting websites such as www.netmums.com or local ones like www.mumsintheknow.co.uk are a great place to look for local events. Facebook is also a great resource as well. Check out your local council’s website as well as local press and specialised listing sites such as http://www.eventbrite.co.uk.

With these web resources at your disposal, you should be able to find a fun event for your children in no time!

Useful websites:

Visit a Fun Museum

If you’re thinking that museums can’t be fun then think again!

For example, the National Space Centre www.spacecentre.co.uk in Leicester offers over 150 interactive experiences and 6 interactive galleries that make finding out about space for children fun!

There’s also Dickens World www.dickensworld.co.uk which is a reconstruction of a real victorian town with boat rides and a themed restaurant.

For Roald Dahl fans, there’s the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden where there are free story telling sessions and craft activities.

There are many more museums for kids to enjoy, just check out the list below for more ideas:

Try a free Martial Arts Class

Half-term is a great chance to try out something new. There's less pressure, and if the kids like it, they might want to continue in term time. One of the things available is the option to try out a martial arts class. The best part is that they can do it for free!

Martial arts is a great way for children to exercise and have fun. Some schools offer family classes so parents can give it a go too alongside the kids.

To book a free class go to our martial arts classes page

Spend a Day at the Park

The autumn half term is the best time to see the changing of the seasons. The leaves are changing colour, and your local park is sure to look beautiful. It might be a little wet on some days, but that only means more chances to jump in puddles. There might be conkers too!

Go to the Cinema

The cinema can feel expensive sometimes, but it's easy to find great deals for families, with cinema chains such as Odeon and Vue offering family tickets and offers.

With two fantastic animated children’s films on release at the moment in Storks and Trolls half term is a great time families to enjoy the cinema!

Cinema listings:

Go on an Outdoor Adventure

The (hopefully) crisp autumn air is a perfect opportunity to get involved in some outdoor activities.

There are many outdoor adventure parks around the UK that offer activities like bike riding, climbing and beautiful nature trails for kids to run and explore.

Outdoor parks uk:

Have Fun in the Kitchen

Most children love cake so why not teach them how to bake one? It’s not only fun and educational, it’s a brilliant way for families to spend more time together. It can be a bit messy though!

Cake ideas:

Get Crafty

Kids who love art will enjoy some arts and crafts sessions during the holiday. You could look for an event to participate in, or just get out some craft supplies at home.

Combine craft making with the outdoors by visiting a park or woodland to collect bark and leaves to use in the children’s craft making when you get home.

Craft ideas:

Visit a city farm

There are many city based farms around the UK so you don’t have to get into the countryside to visit one!

City farms are a wonderful opportunity for children to see and interact with different types of animals. For example, at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield, alongside the sheep, rabbits and pigs, there are more exotic animals such as snakes, chipmunks and tarantulas.

Further down south in London, Mudchute Farm in the Isle of Dogs (mudchute.org) , is one of Europe’s largest city farms with giant rabbits, ponies, horses and llamas to name but a few.

For a full list of UK city farms see below:

Build a Den

Whether you're inside or outside, den building is an age old practice that every child needs to experience. If you need to create some spontaneous fun, it's a great way to get creative. If you're inside, find some blankets and sheets, and use the furniture. Outdoors, you can search for hiding places and construct shelters from branches and foliage. You can join in with the kids, or just sit back and let them get on with it.

Children’s den ideas:

So there you have it. We hope that we’ve given you plenty of half term activity ideas and we wish you a happy and fun half term!

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On 31 October, 2016

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that can affect a child’s ability to learn reading, writing and spelling.

With one in 10 of the UK population estimated to have dyslexia, this means there’s a potential 6.3 million people who might have the condition, according to http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/

But dyslexia not only affects children academically, it can also be the source of great frustration for a child, which in turn can affect their self confidence whether that’s at school or at home.

The typical signs of dyslexia can include:

  • Slow reading and writing
  • Writing letters the wrong way round
  • Inconsistent spelling when writing
  • Difficulty understanding written information
  • Finding planning and organisation challenging or difficult

Fortunately there are ways that parents can help their child cope. Read our guide below to help you find ideas and inspiration to helping children manage dyslexia.

Explore other learning methods

While dyslexia can be challenging, having the condition shouldn’t prevent children from learning how to read, write and spell.

It is still important to encourage children to learn,which is why it’s helpful to look at alternative methods of learning, which can help make the learning process less stressful for a child.

There are essentially three forms of learning that dyslexic children can benefit from:

  • Visual learning using pictures, videos, and other visual aids to support learning.
  • Audio learning using audiobooks or rhyme and song.
  • Kinaesthetic learning where children learn through activities such as improvised games that can encourage data retention.

Whichever method you choose to use, it’s important to make sure that there is a good dialogue between you and your child’s teacher. Above all else, your child needs consistency to help them through those problems. Combine these learning methods with reading and writing, and your son or daughter should see positive results.

Think outside educational learning

Learning through traditional methods isn’t the only crucial part of a child’s development.

Evolving as a person is equally important, and encouraging your child to build a positive and confidence mindset can be crucial.

Dyslexia can apply pressure on a child. Taking them out of a pressurised learning situation can be extremely beneficial. Learning in a fun environment that promotes positive encouragement such as a martial arts for example, which is built on a foundation of recognition and reward, can help dyslexic children build up their confidence. Similarly, reading up on their new hobby can encourage improved reading without the need for exams and tests.

There are other activities too. For example, music can be a useful communication tool for overcoming personal issues, and learning with dyslexia is one of the most common. Again, learning a new skill can work wonders for self-esteem and confidence.

These ideas not only teach crucial self-development skills. Perhaps more importantly, they allow kids to make friends more easily. Given that this can be a challenge for some dyslexia sufferers, this is a great benefit.

Reassure Them

Dyslexia has the potential to slow a child’s progress in the classroom. This can become a source of embarrassment but reassuring children that we all face different challenges in modern life, can help them cope better.

Regularly encouraging a child to embrace other strengths can help reassure them that their progress is great, no matter how slow it may it be. Don’t be afraid to share stories about problems you had learning either. Let’s face it; that connection can go a long way to making them feel less vulnerable.

There are many cases of famous dyslexia sufferers who gone on to achieve great things in their careers for example, the great scientist Albert Einstein. Using examples like this can help children understand that they are still capable of achieving their personal goals.

Most of all, the support and understanding of key people around children is important to helping children overcome the difficulties of dyslexia.

Be Active

Perhaps the most important factor for parents in this challenge is to being able to stay pro active. Identifying the problem is positive start but will require ongoing support and activity to help a child cope with their condition.

Reading with them, and making them feel comfortable with their problem, will give them a far better chance of battling it. Not only can it boost their drive and confidence, it crucially gives parents to the opportunity to track progress and change strategies accordingly.

Once again, ensuring that you have a positive relationship with teachers and tutors is vital. After all, consistency is a key element in any child’s educational development.

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