Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Potato print Halloween bunting - a step-by-step guide


Did you see the Halloween bunting in our list of Halloween activities to do this half term?


Norland’s Sewing Lecturer, Kate Jaeger, has provided step-by-step instructions so you can create your own spooky bunting for your house this Halloween!

Remember, making Halloween bunting is lots of fun, but make sure that a child is always accompanied by an adult.

Step 1

Create a cardboard template from a cereal packet or something that is a similar size to the size of bunting you require. Buy or find some fabric – old sheets are ideal.  Lay your cardboard template on to your fabric, draw around and cut out.  You will need two fabric triangles per piece of bunting.

Step 2

Find some inspiring Halloween images and draw, with a small kitchen knife, onto a cut surface of half a potato. Carefully carve spooky shapes out of your potato.

Step 3

Put on an apron and get out some child-friendly paints. Fabric paint is ideal, but any paint will work if it is not going to be hung outside. Find an old sponge and dab paint onto the potato shapes. Press shapes onto scrap fabric until you are happy with the print.

Step 4

Print the fabric triangles creating fun Halloween effects. After you have printed the fabric triangles, leave them somewhere to dry.

Step 5

Place printed triangles together with plain triangles, right sides together.  Sew the triangles together along the two longest sides. Turn triangles to the right side and iron. Top stitch if you have time.

Step 6

Sew triangles into bias tape or onto ribbon.

Step 7 

Hang up somewhere and enjoy your spooky Hallwoeen bunting! 


Have you made this Halloweem bunting? Send your images to us on social media by tagging us @NorlandCollege.

Monday, 21 October 2019

10 spooky activities to do you with your children this Halloween


We have asked some of our fantastic students, staff and Norlanders for some tried and tested activities that children will love this half term and Halloween! 


Remember: it’s important to enjoy these activities together but stay safe! Younger children should always be supervised by an adult. Please ensure that older children are supervised and practising safe techniques when using sharp implements such as scissors and knives. All children should be accompanied by an adult when trick or treating.

Halloween activities

1. Pumpkin apple prints 

There are so many activity ideas on the theme of pumpkins. A simple activity is to print apple pumpkins. For this all you need is an apple, orange child-friendly paint, a black marker, googly eyes, non-toxic PVA glue and paper. Then you cut the apple in half, dip it in the paint and print onto the paper, wait for it to dry and decorate. Perfect for creating invitations for a spooky Halloween party.

2. Pumpkin painting and carving

For painting, all you need is a small pumpkin for each child, paint brushes, child-friendly paints and a cover for the table. Each child paints their pumpkin however they wish and then they are left to dry before they’re used as Halloween decorations. Older children will enjoy helping you to carve a pumpkin by drawing the face pattern for you to follow and younger children can assist by pulling out the seeds, which adds a sensory experience. Add a lighted tealight and pop on your doorstep.

3. Pumpkin bowling

Collect plastic bottles and paint them with white and black child-friendly paint to look like ghosts. Find a small round pumpkin or orange ball. Roll the pumpkin at the ghosts and knock down as many as you can.

4. We’re going on a leaf hunt

See how many different coloured, shaped and sized leaves you can find, along with any other treasures you discover, on a nature walk. Ask the children to place their leaves and treasures into their buckets. You can make the leaf or treasure hunt as simple or as detailed as appropriate to the ages of the children, and it’s great way to develop language and observation skills. For example, try spelling out words with conkers with children that are learning to read, or create a face with conkers for younger ones. 

You can add sticky sticks for variety by covering sticks you’ve found on previous walks with double-sided tape for the children to stick the leaves and other things they find onto. After your hunt, bring everyone together to show each other what they have found. You can use the different leaves you’ve found to create leaf prints – just dip them in paint and press onto card – or stick the leaves onto card using non-toxic PVA glue to create a beautiful pattern or add some marker pen features to create leaf-hedgehogs.

5. Throw a Halloween Party

Children of all ages will love to get involved in planning, preparing and throwing a Halloween party. If half term falls ahead of Halloween, then planning and preparing for the party will keep small hands busy. You can create invitations, craft decorations such as Halloween bunting or pumpkin wool pom poms that you can hang onto string, or draw scary faces using a black marker onto orange and white balloons to recreate pumpkins and ghosts. 

Get creative in the kitchen ahead of time by drawing with a black non-toxic marker onto the skins of satsumas to create little edible pumpkin faces. Cook brownies together and decorate them to create little graveyard brownies. Red or green jelly makes perfect slime and turning olives, tomatoes or pepperoni on a pizza into spiders using little slices of olive or red pepper will create a creepy pizza. Then use the activities listed here for the party itself, ask your guests to dress-up in a spooky costume and add fun with an age-appropriate creepy music playlist. Trick or treating as a group with parents is always lots of fun for children, especially if you forewarn your neighbours ahead of time!

6. Cotton wool ghosts

All you need for this creative task is to cut out some ghost-shaped pieces of white card, lots of cotton wool balls, some black card cut into eye and mouth shapes and lots of non-toxic PVA glue. Older children can help you to prepare the materials beforehand. Then children can stick the cotton wool balls to the ghost shapes and add the eye and mouth features on top, to make their own ghosts. Pop a hole and some string in the top, and you have another homemade decoration. 

7. Spaghetti worms

A simple and effective Halloween game and sensory activity that children of all ages will love. All you need is cooked and cooled spaghetti and age-appropriate prizes to hide in the spaghetti, such as foil-wrapped chocolate eyeballs, ping-pong-ball eyeballs, spider toys. Children can rummage around in the spaghetti worms for surprises, younger children can just play with the ‘worms’ in the bowl.

8. Potato-print bunting 

Why not make some Halloween-themed bunting using potato prints? All you’ll need are some images of simple Halloween shapes, potatoes, orange and black non-toxic paints, and plain white material (an old white sheet or scrap fabric would work well for this) cut into triangles using a cardboard template. You will need two triangles of material for each piece of bunting. Cut the potatoes in half and then cut out the shape on the potato – older children can help adults with this as part of knife safety awareness training – then children of all ages can sponge the paint onto the potato and then press onto the material. Leave to dry, then place two printed triangles with the plain side facing and sew the longest sides together, before turning them the right side around and ironing them. Sew the triangles onto bias tape or ribbon, then hang up and enjoy. 


Want to make this for yourself? Follow these step-by-step instructions for your very own Halloween bunting!

9. Witches potions and scented gloop

Have fun making witches potions with coloured water using food dyes, slices of lemon and orange, fresh aromatic herbs. Let the children combine baking soda and vinegar for exciting bubbling results. Use saucepans as cauldrons along with mixing spoons and whisks, and plastic bowls for the magic ingredients. Or make scented gloop together by mixing 2 cups of cornflour to 1 cup of water and adding various scented materials, such as lemon juice, vanilla or almond extract. Put the cornflour in the centre of a base – this could be a tray, plastic box or across a wipeable table – and pour the water (slowly!) into the cornflour, stirring gently. When you pour the water, you will feel the mixture changing as you mix! You can also add different colours (using food extract or children’s paint), fake spiders or a sprinkle of glitter - to add an extra sparkle! Please remember to keep reminding young children that gloop is not edible.



10. Monster making 

Express creativity by making monsters using lots of arts and crafts materials, such as crepe paper, animal-patterned wrapping paper, googly eyes, monster heads cut-out from card, feathers, spotty stickers and clothes pegs or lollipop sticks and non-tox PVA glue. The resulting monster puppets are perfect for performing a homemade Halloween puppet show. 

Or you could turn monster-making into a sensory activity by playing ‘guess what’s inside the monster’s mouth’. Together, decorate a box to make it look like a friendly monster, with a hole for its mouth. If you use kitchen roll or newspaper and glue as a papier-mâché, you can smooth over any stickers on the box or create features such as eyebrows. Attach some string or material to the hole to prevent children being able to see inside. Then put different everyday objects from around the house in his mouth, so that children use their senses to guess what’s inside the monster’s mouth by how it feels. Object ideas include a metal spoon, a toy car, a small musical instrument, a toy bug, a whisk, a banana, a wooden yo-yo and so on. For older children, who are less likely to be spooked, you could stick to the Halloween theme with spooky objects and children can be put into teams and given 20 seconds to guess an object. Add cooked and cooled spaghetti for a heightened sensory experience.


Did you enjoy one of these activities? Share your pictures with us on our social media channels by tagging us @NorlandCollege! 

Monday, 19 August 2019

From bubble snakes to an ice age fossil dig: a selection of children’s summer activity ideas

Take inspiration from our selection of tried and tested summer activities that children will love - whatever the weather!

Remember: Enjoy the summer together but please stay safe! Don’t underestimate the power of the sun (even on a cloudy day) or the heat whether you’re at home or abroad. Keep well-hydrated, avoid going outside in the hottest part of the day and stay in the shade where possible. Children (and adults) should wear a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat (babies should be kept fully protected from the sun at all times). The NHS recommends factor 30 with at least 4-star UV radiation protection, and regular re-application.

Outdoor activities

1. Find a fossil: Dinosaur archaeological dig
Fill a sandcastle mould - or any moulds you have that would make suitable fossils - with salt dough, and then bake the resulting dough shapes. Once it’s fully cooled, place it underneath sand in the garden or in a sandpit and use garden forks, old spoons and toothbrushes to completely uncover the ancient sandcastle or prehistoric fossils!

2. Bubble snakes
For this you will need a clean plastic bottle, an old sock, bubble mixture (washing-up liquid will work well), an elastic band (a hairband will also work well), and a bowl to put the bubble mixture into. Cut off the bottom end of the plastic bottle (not the drinking end) and cover it with the sock. Put the band onto the sock to hold it in place. Dip the sock-covered end into the bubble mixture and blow through it from the drinking end of the bottle. It creates a great chain of bubbles.

 
3. Magic painting
An activity as simple as magic painting with water is a fun, low-cost and simple outdoor activity that young children will love. You only need paint brushes and water, then you can paint the patio, stones or a fence outside and watch the paintings disappear. Add a roller for further excitement. This is a fun activity for reinforcing letter and number formation with older children and early discussions about evaporation. Tip: if a child has spent time on their painting make sure you take a photo so that they can talk about it later and add the picture to their scrapbook.

4. Chalk drawing
Take some washable child-friendly chalk outside to draw on the patio. On a sunny day, you could draw each other’s shadows and talk about the sun and why some shadows are bigger than others. For older children, draw a hopscotch grid and teach them to play or try drawing numbers into different spaces on the patio, and when you call the number out the child has to jump to that number as quickly as possible. Both games are great for numeracy skills and physical development.

5. Grow flowers or plants from seeds
Plant some seeds, wait patiently and measure as they grow. You could keep a growth chart together. This helps children to understand the needs of living things and how to care for them, as well as providing an opportunity for number recognition. Nasturtium and marigold flowers are quick and easy to grow, are good for wildlife, and both are edible. Sunflowers are perfect for nurturing and measuring. Grow cress seeds on a windowsill indoors by sprinkling them onto damp cotton wool inside a decorated empty eggshell to create hair for egg characters, e.g. humpty dumpty, family members or friends. Fun, decorative and delicious!

6. Water gun painting
For this, you will need a water gun each (you could also use a spray bottle for watering plants or a clean spray pump cosmetics bottle), paper, child-friendly and washable play paint, a water jug and a funnel. Fill your water jug up with a mixture of paint and water. Pour it into your water guns using the funnel if necessary. Hang your piece of paper up outside, then use your water gun to spray paint onto the paper. Please be aware, for this or any similar activity, that small containers with water can heat up significantly if left in the sun and could pose a burn risk to children’s skin, this includes water left in hose pipes.

7. Treasure hunt
Make a list of treasures to find, then ask the children to go and find these objects and place them into their bucket, for example a brown leaf, a yellow flower, a stone, something that makes them smile, etc. Once they have found everything on their list, they come back in a circle and show everyone what they have found. You can treasure hunt in different locations to see if you can find a variety of treasures. You can make the treasure hunt as simple or as detailed as appropriate to the ages of the children, and it’s great way to develop language and observation skills.

8. Eye Spy
Make an everyday walk or activity more interesting by playing eye spy. On a piece of card, write down or draw items and objects that your little one needs to spot on their outing. They can then tick this off as you go along. This is a simple way to make a walk to the park more exciting, or to kill time while waiting at the airport!

9. Nature walk
Using double sided sticky tape on a piece of card, you could go on a nature adventure through the park or woods and see what interesting bits and bobs you can pick up to stick on. You can also do a bracelet version, great for smaller items! You could turn a nature walk into a bug hunt by taking a magnifying glass (or by taking a pair of binoculars made from kitchen roll tubes) and turning over a log or large stone and see what you discover. This will encourage children to explore and investigate their world and stimulate a conversation about the needs of different living creatures to enhance their learning. When you get back from your walk, encourage children to draw pictures or create models of their favourite creature from the day, stimulating creativity and imagination, as well as content for your summer journal or scrapbook. In late summer, you can enjoy picking blackberries together to turn into healthy compotes, or frozen smoothie lollipops.

10. Fly a plastic bag kite
Re-use tired plastic bags by asking each child to select and decorate their own plastic bag – they can use pens, stickers etc. Then tie the handles together with a piece of string that they can hold onto while they run around. The wind catches easily in the plastic bag so you don’t even need a gusty day or hill (although that all adds to the experience) and voila, you are kite flying! Please remember to always supervise younger children when playing with plastic bags.

11. Make a bug hotel or raise some butterflies
Collect little twigs, leaves, old cardboard tubes and plastic or broken terracotta plant pots. Stack them up (more layers the better!) and leave in a quiet corner of the garden. Watch the bugs move in! Great for bug hunts. Consider investing in a butterfly raising kit to encourage natural nurturing skills and to learn about the fascinating development of these beautiful creatures, a perfect activity to accompany a read of The Hungry Caterpillar or to stimulate some creative butterfly making.

12. Make your own Olympics
Turn a trip to the park into a fun Olympic-themed event with family or friends. You could prepare gold, silver and bronze medals before you go, using different coloured card or drawing the medals with crayons or paint, create a hole in the medal and then tie some string or ribbon through. Together you can create some sporting events, like an egg and spoon race, a relay, use a frisbee for a discus, a three-legged race and so on. You could create a little podium area and play the national anthem for the awards ceremony; share the awards out so that everyone wins a gold medal.

Rainy day or cooling down indoor activities

1. Homemade ice lollies
These are great fun to make, you know exactly what’s going into them, and they’re cheap too! You could use water, milk, fruit juice, or mush age-appropriate pieces of fruit into lollipop moulds (or ice cube trays) and then freeze! If you have a blender, you can make smoothies together from fruit and vegetables. Children will enjoy watching the ingredients blend with milk, yoghurt, coconut water etc, and then you can freeze into moulds or ice cube trays. Great fun for all the family, good for learning about new foods, and a fun way of sneaking in extra fruit and vegetables. Children can help prepare the fruit to practice their fine motor skills (chopping with supervision and a child’s knife!).

2. Bubble painting
Add bubble solution (or washing up liquid and water) together with a large squirt of paint. Put a piece of paper over the top of a cup/ bowl/ pot with the mixture inside. Put a straw into the pot and blow, creating a bubble effect which will be apparent when you have finished blowing and the image you have created will be seen on the paper.

3. Ice-age excavation
You can freeze small animals or toys - or other everyday objects such as pebbles, shells, leaves and flowers - in ice cube trays or containers with water. Once they’re frozen, children will love to excavate them using a range of various age-appropriate tools (spoons, masher, paint brushes etc) to try and break them free! You could extend development for older children by talking about the science of freezing.

4. Scented gloop
This is a very easy activity! You simply mix 2 cups of cornflour to 1 cup of water. You will also need a spoon, a base, and various scented materials such as vanilla and peppermint extract. Put the gloop into a base – this could be a tray, plastic box or across a wipeable table. Put the cornflour in the centre of the base and pour the water (slowly!) into the cornflour, stirring gently. When you pour the water, you will feel the mixture changing as you mix! To make this mixture scented, just add peppermint or vanilla extract. You can also add lemon juice, a sprinkle of cinnamon (perfect for Christmas time too!) different colours (using food extract or children’s paint) or glitter - to add an extra sparkle! Please remember to keep reminding young children that gloop is not edible.

5. Create a miniature garden
Create a tray or paper plate miniature garden. Fill the garden with objects you have found outside, such as pebbles and sticks, make tiny flowers from tissue paper, make and bake salt dough creatures or animals, add in small toys, and so on. Great for encouraging creativity and for practising fine motor skills.

6. Make a flower bouquet
Create a pretty flower bouquet by placing two circular pieces of tissue paper in different colours on top of each other, then screwing them up into a rose or flower shape. Attach a pipe cleaner to the base (doubled over for strength if needed). You can put them in a vase or tie them like a bouquet. A great alternative to real flowers, and they last forever!

7. Make a summer journal or scrap book
Ask the children to choose a scrap book (a plain paper book ready to fill with summer adventures). Encourage older children to write a piece about their day, younger children could use a disposable camera to take lots of pictures when you are out on various adventures and during structured activities at home together. Then choose your favourite pictures and have them developed. Children can illustrate their journals with drawings, photograph caption and stick in small treasures, younger children can decorate their photographs with stickers, different materials, and paint. This is a great way to ensure that older children keep up their writing and language skills in the holidays too!

8. Recipe for simple-to-make salt dough
Making salt dough is a fun and easy activity for children and you are very likely to have the ingredients ready and waiting in your kitchen cupboards. Please remember to keep reminding young children that salt dough is not edible. All you need to do is mix together a cup of plain flour with half a cup of table salt and half a cup of water. Stir until it comes together into a clean ball. You can add food colouring dyes to create different coloured doughs. Use a floured surface to create any shapes you want with your dough, then pop your finished items onto a lined baking sheet and pop in the oven on its lowest setting for about 3 hours Once your creations are cool, you can paint them.


Thursday, 25 July 2019

Keeping babies and young children cool in the hot weather

Why does it matter? 
Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable in hot weather as they can’t regulate their heat and they can’t communicate how they feel very easily. They can become ill during very hot weather and their health may be seriously affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and sunburn. Keep a close eye on babies and young children during hot weather.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Degree awarding powers – what does it mean for Norland?

In March 2019, Norland College was granted taught degree awarding powers by the Privy Council. This announcement is a major step towards Norland’s ambition to become the first specialist early years university in the world. Mandy Donaldson, Vice Principal, Head of Quality and Standards and Registrar, explains what this decision means for the College. 

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Practically Perfect Guide to Christmas

Christmas is a magical and exciting time, and having children brings lots of extra enjoyment, but it can be a little overwhelming at times.

Mary Poppins Returns is released in UK cinemas on Friday 21 December 2018

From creating unforgettable moments for the whole family to conquering fussy eaters and keeping tantrums at bay, four Norland Nannies from Norland College have listed their practically perfect tips for a Christmas that’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

What is a Grandparent?

Sarah Davies-Walters, Early Years Lecturer

I have just completed arguably the most exciting year of my life.

It all started with a small envelope placed under the Christmas tree in December 2016. I had hoped my daughter had bought me tickets to see Andre Rieu – she hadn’t. It was much, much better – a little card read: “You had better start knitting!” and so my journey to grandparenthood began and in September 2017, I became a Granny for the first time.