Friday, 25 July 2014

Super Easy Banana Ice lollies

During the holiday's I'm always amazed how much my children can eat, it seems like every five minutes the children are chasing me around the house for another snack. We do have a snack tin in house and sometimes its far too easy to let the children help them selves, especially when I have a house filled with children from my home day care. In my house I need to be organised when it comes to the holidays so I thought I would make some lollies for the children that are healthy and (so far have been) mess free. 

These ice lollies are super easy and have gone down a storm in our house and here's how we did it. All you need is Yogurt, fruit dried or fresh, lollipop sticks and banana's.

1. Cut a banana in half and place the lollipop stick in until they are half way up the banana. 

2. Dip each banana into the yogurt and place on a plate or tray covered in tin foil.

3. Sprinkle each banana with your choice of fruit and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours then they're ready to eat. 

Not only are they quick and healthy banana lollies are a great way of encouraging children that may be fussy eaters to eat their fruit.  Another great idea is using them as a pudding for teething babies, they work a treat! 

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots100 July challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest but really I would be happy to go to any of the parc's’.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The formula for finding family fun this summer

New report reveals arguments over what to do gets in the way of family days out – so reveals the ingredients for the perfect day

•    One of the main things getting in the way of family days is arguments about what people want to do – and keeping the harmony can actually prevent one in ten families spending time together

•    Five times as many families do what their children want rather than something for the whole family to enjoy together – with one in 14 families ending up doing something no one wants to do

•    So to offer a helping hand, Dr David Holmes has created the formula for the perfect family day, revealing a trip to the beach and a ride on a fairground is the ideal way to spend quality time together

•    Parents also feel guilty about not being able to dedicate the time they’d want (12 per cent) to family time together, wishing they could spend an extra five weeks per year together, despite the trials of a family day

As the children have broken up for the summer holidays, parents across the UK are striving to make the most of their time together.

However it’s not just worries about what to do with the children – although almost one in five (17 per cent) admit they lack inspiration.  New research among families reveals that one of the main things to obstruct that quality time is actually disagreements about what to do together (26 per cent). 

The research of 1,000 parents and 500 kids for the Butlins ‘Family Fun-damentals Report’ uncovers that over one in ten (12 per cent) find keeping the harmony within the family gets in the way of this time, and one in 14 families (7 per cent) end up doing something no one wants to do during their time together. 

So to give families a harmonious helping hand over the coming 42 days of summer holidays, Butlins has teamed up with leading psychologist Dr David Holmes to devise the formula for the perfect family day – based entirely on the research of 1,000 parents and 500 kids:

Perfect Family Day =  (FT+TP) x (TA+NA) - W2 

                                                     T           E

The research behind the formula reveals that – surprisingly - the whole family agree on what makes a perfect day together, uncovering that it takes place on a beach, with trip to a fairground, on a sunny day.  The ideal day would also involve 11 laughs, six cuddles and five kisses.

However where the generations differ is in how much time to spend together – the majority of children (21 per cent) would want to spend 1-2 hours with their parents, whereas the same amount of mums and dads want to spend 5-6 hours with their little ones – despite the potential differences of opinion. 

Despite this disparity on what to do during days together, the research found that a quarter (27 per cent) of mums and dads feel they do not enjoy enough days as a family – and interestingly their children agree, with two fifths (40 per cent) wishing they had more days to spend together regardless of the problems they involve.

One in ten parents (12 per cent) admit to feeling guilty that they don’t spend enough time with their kids with the average being seven days of quality time together per month.  Parents actually wish they could spend 10 days or more – which equates to an extra five weeks per year, the same amount on average that a working parent gets on leave.

When the family does get together, 26 per cent of mums admit they find it difficult to relax – with one in 20 (five per cent) taking at least half a day to relax so that they enjoy themselves fully.  It seems that mums are the ones to take family squabbles to heart, as a quarter of dads (26 per cent) slip into relaxation straightaway.

Another major difference of opinion on days together is around capturing those precious moments, with almost half of parents (44 per cent) wanting to snap at least eight family.

However almost two thirds (64 per cent) of kids would only tolerate up to seven; which could explain why almost one in ten (seven per cent) parents say that their family days are ruined by no one wanting to be in photos – and a similar amount (nine per cent) of children saying their parents taking photos gets in the way.

Dr Holmes said: “It’s clear that families want to spend time together – but the array of personalities and interests in any family dynamic means there is unlimited potential for people to disagree on everything from the weather through to what they eat.  This formula is designed to give families a helping hand to get the best they can from their time together – and what you learn from one day can help you make every other day together equally as special.”

Butlins MD Dermot King adds: “We’ve been helping families spend precious days together for almost 80 years – and we know that time spent together is a gift, which is why our resorts provide a wide range of things for families to enjoy doing together.  So with the holidays now upon us, the formula will come in handy to ensure there are harmonious times ahead and everyone can be kept happy.”

Visit for further information.

Breakdown of formula:
FT=Family interaction time (amount of time you spend together)
NA=Number of Activities you do together
TP=Types of Places to visit (TP)
E=Emotional Expression (number of times you laugh and hug as a family)
TA=What types of activities you do
W=The Great British weather
T=Amount of technology you use together (as a negative factor)

Butlins is running a competition across the summer for families to win breaks at its resorts.  Simply take a picture of you and your family enjoying a precious moment together, then choose your favourite social network to share it with us, using the hashtag #PreciousDays.  For further information visit

Scoring your factors

Family Interaction Time (FT)
Less than ten percent
Ten to thirty percent of the day
Over thirty up to fifty percent of the day
Over fifty up to seventy percent of the day
Over seventy percent of the day

Number of Activities (NA):
One is enough
Two or three in the day
Four or five over the day
More than six – the more variety the better!

Types of Places (TP):
Rather stay home
Beach location

Emotional Expression (E):
Maybe once or twice
Up to half a dozen times
Many more than six times for a family day

What types of activities (TA):
What would you be most likely to choose to do?
Watch TV or play video games
Go for a drive or walking
Cycling, bowling, novelty golf or similar
Beach activities including building sandcastles!
Fairground rides and funfair fun

Weather for your day (W):
Sunny warm with a little light cloud
Hot and cloudless
Cloudy cool but dry
Rain, wind and possible storms

Technology (T):
None whatsoever except the Sat-Nav and Mum’s watch
Phones and consoles etc for just an hour or two
Kids need to check their Facebook, play games and parent’s their phones whenever

What your perfect Family Day score means
How good will our Family Day be? 
Bliss! You will recall and talk about this for years
Over 79
This should be a really enjoyable Day for all
Could be better but will be fine by bedtime
Have a look back at some of your choices
Perhaps you are thinking as individuals not a family
Talk to the experts, holiday camps, grandparents, neighbours!?
Book in somewhere and let THEM choose your day
Less than 1

Disclaimer: I am a Butlins Ambassador and was sent this report by the social media team. I am sharing this post as I fit into this group perfectly and find it very interesting

6 Activities to Support Literacy Outdoors

Children love to play in outdoor spaces and this can be a great way to get children who do not concentrate well sitting down to learn to engage through active games. The outside is full of new and exciting experiences for children to take in and learn from. Listening to the sounds that they find in the garden and looking at what sounds they can make in the outdoors can be an early stage of learning about sounds and leading up to phonics.

Recognising letter sounds can be great fun for children. Here are some simple games to play outdoors with your little ones.

1. Extend the children’s awareness of initial letter sounds by asking questions, for example, ‘How many items can you find starting with the sound ‘s’? Putting up a alphabet line in the garden or using flash cards can also help them in recognising the use of the letter sound, the letter sound its self and the written letter. Challenge the children further by asking them to think of different words starting with the same sounds as ‘grass’ and ‘tree’.

2. Play a sound hunt in the garden. Hide flash cards round the garden and ask them to find that sound and only one at a time. You could hide these next to some thing that begins with that sound to make it easier.

3. Chalk drawing on the floor or on large chalk boards can encourage them to make letter shapes and practice hand eye coordination.

4. Label equipment around the garden to get them recognising words of objects which are familiar to them.

5. Get your children to collect things which interest them from around the garden. Place these objects in one area then get comfy and use these object to help tell a story. Older children could then help by drawing pictures to help retell the story later on, turning it into a story book.

6. Introduce written text through role play in the garden. Whether it's setting up a cafe in the play house or a garden centre using the flowers and herbs growing around them. Giving the children extra paper and pens to write their lists, prices and receipts on can also encourage them to have a try at mark making for them selves. 
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