Activities · Craft Activities · Father's Day · Gifts

Father’s Day Crafts for Children!

Father’s Day is this Sunday so this week I have been doing some Father’s Day crafts ready for the weekend! With the three year old we did some modelling with some air dry clay.

I got my three year old nanny charge to mould the air dry clay into a small coaster for his daddy for his cups of coffee. You may need to help your child with this. I gave my three year old a pen to poke some holes around the edge as decoration but you could use their fingerprints instead. I helped him poke some letters that said ‘we’ and ‘daddy’. We left a space in the middle between the letters to print his thumb prints to make a heart shape.

We let the coaster dry out in the utility room which is the hottest room in the house. The drying out only took overnight for us but it can take a couple of days. Some people like to put their air dry clay into the oven to speed up the process. The oven method is OK but it can be risky. You don’t want your model to dry out too much and crack or bubble.

Once dried out you will need some paint. We used black and tangerine as they are their daddy’s favourite colours! We used a little bit of red to paint the heart.

My six year old nanny charge painted a canvas for his daddy. My six year old nanny charge has been learning about Africa at school so he painted a picture of Africa. When he had finished he painted ‘I love daddy’ to make it extra special.

The three year also came home with a Father’s Day card and gift from nursery today too. The gift he made was his hand print. Either made from salt dough or air dry clay again! The handprint was moulded round to make a bowl. How cute is that?

I hope you all enjoy Father’s Day this Sunday and I hope you try out some of these craft ideas. I have planned a Father’s Day/birthday BBQ for the family and my other half. So in total we have 17 people coming over to our new house!

If you have enjoyed this post please SUBSCRIBE and SHARE! Don’t forget to look back at some of my other posts too. Such as coloured shaving foam paintinghow to make Oobleck or Mother’s Day crafts.

Activities · Play · Sensory Play

How to make Oobleck! 

This post is how to make Oobleck! Making Oobleck is so easy and quick to make and you only need two ingredients! The ingredients are probably in your kitchen cupboard already too 🙂

You may have noticed from my previous post on coloured shaving foam painting that I bought a book called ‘150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids’ that you can buy here. I used the same book again to get this recipe 🙂 there are so many recipes in here. Including different types of Oobleck you can make including glow in the dark Oobleck!

You only need cornflour and water. You can mix some food colouring or paint in too to make it colourful. If you don’t use any food colouring though it’s edible – although it wouldn’t taste nice I presume. But that means babies would be able to play with it and if they eat it, its ok.

Oobleck is a great mixture for kids. The texture is rather strange, it’s like liquid but when you squeeze it, it hardens. Then it melts again! Oobleck is gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free and soy free too! If you use tapioca starch instead of cornflour it will be corn-free as well.

We mixed a little bit of cornflour and water up inside three bowls and added a little bit of paint in each one. We used red, blue and yellow. Although the red turned out more like a pink colour. I allowed my nanny charge to mix the Oobleck to reveal secondary and tertiary colours 🙂 he was able to recognise green!

I set out baking pans for him to experiment with. He said he was making some cakes.

As you may remember from some of my previous posts I have spoken about my nanny charge not liking getting his hands dirty. Recently he has been more comfortable getting dirty and experimenting with different textures. After watching me squish the Oobleck, he started copying me. He started grabbing handfuls of the Oobleck and watching the mixture turn solid when he squeezed it and turn back into liquid when he held it loosely.

I hope you have enjoyed this post why don’t you take a look at some of my other posts such as toilet training tips or dyed spaghetti play.

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Childcare · Nannying

Toilet Training Tips

One of my 3 year old nanny charges is now completely toilet trained! I thought I would write a little post on some little tips that I find helpful toilet training. I have helped toilet train so many children over the past 5 years working in nurseries and nannying that I have lost count. So this is what I have learnt so far!

Readiness for potty training

Make sure that the child is ready! You shouldn’t force your child to toilet train when they are too young and just not ready. Your child’s confidence may be affected if they are toilet training too early as they may not have the bladder control and just not developmentally ready yet.

Stick to it

If you are going to go for it and have considered the above, my advice is STICK TO IT! Don’t try for two days and give up and put your child back in nappies and try again a few days later. In my personal opinion this is confusing!

Buy the right equipment

With my nanny child we introduced the potty and the toilet. The toilet also had a special insert added – just an extra toilet seat clipped onto the normal one. This toilet seat was a little smaller so he didn’t fall down. However, my three year old preferred the adult toilet seat. I also found there were less ‘misfires’ with the normal toilet seat.

Boys can (in my experience) take longer

I have found in my experience girls are a lot easier to toilet train than boys. Boys are generally, not always, toilet trained a bit later and sometimes can take longer.

More on boys

Boys can be a bit trickier in other aspects. You will sometimes need to adjust them to make sure they are aiming into the toilet bowl. Sometimes this doesn’t always work – sometimes you will just be peed on. Sorry.

It is best to teach boys to have sit down wee wees first before standing up. Trust me, it could get messy otherwise.

Pull ups vs pants

Some families like to use pull ups and some like to go straight for pants. There are many debates about what is best. To be honest, I have good and bad experiences with both. So I feel it just depends on the child.

For example, with pull ups I have found they can be good to start out as your child can get used to pulling down the nappy just like pants. Pull ups are also supposed to be thinner than normal nappies to help your child recognise when they are using it. However, sometimes your child could just associate the pull up with a normal nappy. With my nanny child we started off using pull ups and then just put him in pants when he started going to the toilet more frequently. At first there were many accidents, but that’s fine. He got the hang of it in the end.

Try, try and try again

There will be accidents, and that’s ok. You will need lots of spare clothes on hand. Make sure that you pack lots of spare clothes if your child attends a nursery setting and make sure the staff know so they can carry on!

Reward chart

Think about using a sticker or reward chart. You could also offer a smartie for every time your child has a wee or poo! Make sure you praise your child, praise is key!

Books

Buying books on toilet training can be helpful for children. I have found ‘Pirate Pete’s Potty‘ and ‘Princess Polly’s Potty’ to be good books to use!

Take your child frequently at first

Go to the toilet frequently just to ‘have a go’. I encouraged my nanny child, and previous children in my care, to go to the toilet around every 20-30 minutes.

 

Leave the night time nappy, for now

Don’t ditch the night time nappy just yet. My nanny charge still wears a night time nappy even though he wears pants in the day. Wait until the nappy is dry in the morning to start thinking about that!

Be patient

Be patient with your child. Every child learns differently and at different paces.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you take a look at some of my others? Such as bedtime routine or coloured shaving foam painting.

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Activities · Sensory Play

Coloured Shaving Foam Painting

I have just bought a new book from Amazon and it’s amazing and I highly recommend it! It’s called ‘150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids’ and you can buy it here. The first activity we did from tis book was coloured shaving foam painting!

All you need for coloured shaving foam painting:
  1. Shaving foam
  2. Food colouring – however we didn’t actually have any… so we just used a little bit of ready mixed paint

I used a muffin baking tray to put the shaving foam paint in. Just squirt a little into each section. We used the gel shaving foam so we stirred the gel to make a foam. Add a few drops of food colouring or paint into each section and mix together.

It only takes 5 minutes to set up and you probably already have the items at home.

I did this activity with my three year old and my six year old nanny charge when he finished school. I used to same foam paint too.

The three year old loved this activity. At first he started using the paintbrushes I provided but then he started using his hands.

I think the three year old enjoyed the feel of the foam. He was squishing it in his hands and rubbing the foam all over his picture. He has never been one for getting dirty but he made an exception for this foam painting!

The six year old also enjoyed joining in. He was very careful and very precise where he wanted to paint. When he had finished he called it his ‘masterpiece’. He was showing me the outcome when he tried mixing the various foam paints.

Once the boys were finished it was so easy to clear up to! I wouldn’t recommend doing this activity with babies though. Just because the ingredients aren’t edible and babies may eat the mixture!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to go and check out the book on Amazon and possibly think about buying it. It’s worth every penny. It’s perfect for nurseries and schools too.

Please go and check out some of my other posts. You may like dyed spaghetti play or mess free painting activity. I would love it if you could subscribe and share my page too!

*Please note that this post does contain an affiliate link but all views and opinions stated are my own*

Animals · Days out · Nannying

Our Trip to the Rare Breeds Centre!

This week I took my nanny boys and their friend to the Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford! If you haven’t heard of it and live near by, I highly recommend visiting. Even if you haven’t got children – I’m sure you will still enjoy yourself.

As you enter you are faced with the children’s barn straight away. Inside you have horses, goats, pigs, cows, rabbits and more. There are various animals that are out so your children are able to pet them. We petted a rabbit, a guinea pig and a cockerel. There was also an area where the children can climb into to pet the piglets!

rare breeds centre

As you venture out one side of the children’s barn, there are some pig sties and the Creepy Crawly World. Don’t be fooled though – there isn’t just creepy crawlies inside but also reptiles! I LOVE reptiles and used to own bearded dragons and leopard geckos. So I was able to tell some more facts about them! Your child will also have an opportunity to touch a snake!

*This photo was cropped so my nanny child isn’t identified so the quality isn’t great!*

rare breeds centre

rare breeds centre

The other side of the children’s barn there is so much more. There is a Birds of Prey centre, various animal pens and plenty more animals! One of our favourite sections was the Butterfly tunnel! We spent ages in there trying to spot the various breeds of butterflies.

rare breeds centre

rare breeds centre

rare breeds centre

We decided to stop off for a bite to eat so we visited the Granary Restaurant. The kids all had a lunchbox each where they chose 7 items each to go inside. Surprisingly there was plenty of healthy options which was great. I have found quite a lot of places have just crisps, chocolate and biscuits. But there was fruit, yogurt, Soreen loaf and cheese that was shaped as dinosaurs! Obviously they had sandwiches, crisps and biscuits too but it was nice to have a healthy option. There was hot food too – I choose the healthy option too as you may know I am on Slimming World.

After lunch we played in one of the play areas while we waited for the birds of prey display to start. The bird of prey display was very good. The instructor encouraged the children to volunteer to be part of the demonstration.

There was so much more you could do like tractor rides and pig racing but we didn’t get around to do that. The tractor ride had a massive queue and the 6 year olds didn’t want to spend their time queuing. The was another section of the farm that contained another play area and a walk you could go on. But we decided to visit the soft play before leaving.

Of course before leaving we went into the gift shop! My 6 year old nanny charge bought a new wallet and another dinosaur egg. (The dinosaur egg is something you put into water. The egg will hatch and will have a dinosaur toy inside). My three year old nanny charge bought yet another tractor toy! The 6 year olds school friend bought herself a toy horse.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Why don’t you take a read at some of my other ones? Such as our bedtime routine or read about our trip to Drusillas Park.

Childcare

Bedtime routine for a 3 and 6 year old

I feel like a good bedtime routine is important. Especially on school nights.

The facts

It’s been proven that getting a good nights sleep is equally as important to eating a balanced diet and exercise. If your child doesn’t get a goods night sleep this can affect their overall mood and concentration the following day. Those who don’t sleep well are more likely to become overweight. This is because they eat more food throughout the day for extra energy. The three year old I nanny wants to eat all day long. He is usually after chocolate, crisps or something carby like pasta or biscuits. This is probably due to him still not sleeping through the night so he needs the extra energy!

Children aged 3-5 years should get between 10-13 hours sleep a night and children aged between 6-13 should get between 9-11 hours. Now, the boys I nanny for the 3 year old especially still doesn’t sleep through the night. So I try to get them to sleep by 7pm on school nights.

Our bedtime routine:

4:15pm – we get home from the school run. The boys will play for a while. I potter around sorting out the 6 year olds book bag and start sorting out tea.

4:30ish-5pm – Homework. Wednesday evenings is spellings and Thursdays is reading. Spellings always take longer, but reading is usually completed within 5 minutes! So we get some playtime.

5pm-5:20pm – Dinner time. The boys eat well and generally only take about 20-30 minutes max.

5:30-5:50ish – the boys play or watch a little television. I tidy up! Washing and drying up. Hoovering up dropped food. I Start running the bath and set out the pajamas. ‘Set up the rooms’ – turn down beds and close blinds and curtains.

5: 50ish-6:20 – bath time. After bath the boys clean their teeth and have their last wee wee before bedtime.

6:30 – all three of us snuggle down in the six year olds bed and the boys get to pick a story book each. I read their bedtime stories to them and kiss and cuddle the six year old and tell him goodnight! I take the 3 year old to his room and cuddle him to sleep. Then stealthily crawl out of bed to go downstairs to tidy up any remaining toys.

7pm – by 7pm I usually have the boys fast asleep!

On Friday evenings are a bit more relaxed. I don’t usually put the boys to bed – unless the three year old is falling asleep! I try to keep the boys up so mum and dad can spend time with them 🙂

If you have liked this post why don’t you take a look at some of my others? Such as rainy day activities or birthday present ideas?

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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Blog

Nanny Jenni is Back! 

I have finally completed the switch to a self hosted blog! It took some time but I am finally there.

My site still needs little tweaks but my posts will be more regular now!

Make sure you stay tuned and subscribe to my page to stay connected and receive emails to notify you when there is a new post 🙂

Also remember to share Nanny Jenni’s blog!

Craft Activities · Nannying · Play

Junk Modelling: How to Make a Star Wars Lightsaber

Yesterday the three year old and I decided to do some junk modelling. The three year old being a Star Wars fan I suggested that we could make a lightsaber!

You only need a few items which is even better. Plus you can raid your recycling box.

How to make a Star Wars Lightsaber

We used:

  • Two toilet roll tubes
  • One wrapping paper tube
  • Sellotape – however I suggest using masking tape
  • Red paint
  • Black paint

 

Step 1

First you need to tape the tubes together to resemble a sword – this is going to be Kylo Ren’s lightsaber! We used sellotape but I recommend using masking tape instead. This is because when it comes to painting the lightsaber the paint wont look as good over sellotape. It would look much better if you used masking tape in my opinion.

Step 2

Second you need to paint the lightsaber! We used red and black paint. Although it dried more of a browny colour. I let the three year old to mix up the three primary colours himself to make the colour black. He loved mixing up the colours to make a new one!

Step 3 

Third you need to let the lightsaber dry and then play with your masterpiece! If you wanted to you could also design some buttons to your lightsaber to make it look a bit more realistic. You could do this by either painting some on or by making some.

At the weekend the three year old dressed up and used his lightsaber for a fancy dress competition – he didn’t win but he enjoyed dressing up and showing off his lightsaber 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this post! Enjoy making Kylo Ren’s lightsaber and maybe even other lightsaber designs.

If you didn’t want to make a lightsaber though, there are plenty more things you could make still. Junk modelling offers room for imagination!

Baking · Nannying · Recipes

Dairy Free Banana Bread Recipe

On Monday I was with the trio and the three year old and I did some baking. The three year old is going dairy free this week due to him having a constant cold! His mum wants to see if going dairy free helps him. So we made some dairy free banana bread (also to use up the old bananas!)

I like to set up all the ingredients and bits we need first to hand when I bake with kids – trust me it’s so much easier! See below what you need…

Dairy Free Banana Bread Recipe

You need:

  • 3 bananas – the riper the better!
  • 1 cup of soft brown sugar
  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Sultanas (or you can use raisins or other dried fruit – my mum has added apple pieces before!)

Method

  1. First you need to mash the bananas in a large bowl using a fork
  2. Then you need to add the sugar to the bananas and mix well
  3. Next add the eggs and mix all together – it will be very runny! 
  4. Fold in the flour and sprinkle in the cinnamon and mix well until the batter is smooth. Add the sultanas or any other dried fruit you desire. My mum sometimes used to add bits of apple to the mix 
  5. Pour the batter into a pre greased or in our case a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper
  6. Bake at 180c for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown
  7. Poke the middle with a fork – if it comes back clean the mixture is cooked inside!
  8. Enjoy! It always tastes best when it has just come out the oven and is nice and warm

 

The kids had some of the banana bread for pudding and it was still warm! The twins had their banana bread with a little bit of butter on top! I told them that it is how I ate it when I was a child when my mum used to make it for me 🙂

Why don’t you take a look at my previous post on Banana muffins? You could use the same recipe here for dairy free. Banana muffins are a great grab and go snack!