Families North East Magazine January/February 22

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Education Family life New Year, New You

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January/February 2022

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Coming back in 2022 Families North East Awards! sponsored by Dame Allan’s School

Star Teacher o r Childcarer

ut

Best Days O

Best Childcare ses Best Clas

for Kids

If you are a local business and would like to be involved in our awards, we would love to hear from you. Applications & nominations open March 2022 DON’T MISS OUT!

CONTACT US NOW TO FIND OUT MORE! CLICK HERE 2 January/February

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CONTENTS

In this issue

Welcome

4 10 14 16 17 20 22 23

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope 2022 is an easier year for everybody.

Education Family life Tween Winter warmers New Year, New You Early years Classes & clubs Activities

Competition winners from our September/October issue Sally Garbutt, Joanne Banks, Petra Dias, Frankie Salter, Nichola Woad, Cindy Baldwin, Alina Ali, Cherelle St Hilaire, Gemma Lovegrove and Farrah Orr who received a Tales of Me book and to Hina Wajahat, Claire Goodfellow and Fran Dobbins who received an Art Lab Pouring Studio. And, for the recipients of plasticine gifts or Equazen family packs, click here.

If you’ve made a resolution to prioritise your health this year, then plan to change ‘just one thing.’ Find inspiration in our New Year, New You feature. In Education, discover how children learn to write and download our free practice sheets. Concerned your child may not be ready for SATs? Find out how to help. Plus, in this issue, we are launching our new ‘Meet the Head’ feature. Learn more about James Miller, Head of the Junior School at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. And cheer up the dull winter months with some great activity and entertainment options. Finally, with our children’s mental health always at the top of our priority list, we have Happiness is…Mental Health Activity Packs for kids to give away. So don’t forget to apply! And sign up HERE to receive every issue of this magazine free to your inbox.

Carla & Laura Get in touch @FamiliesNorthEastMag @FamiliesNEMag @familiesnortheastmag

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January/February 3


Meet

EDUCATION

Meet James Miller, Head of the Junior School at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle What inspired you to teach and later to become a Head? I was actually very apprehensive about the idea of teaching all the way through my own schooling and through university – in fact I almost dropped out of my course because there was a module about presenting to people and I was so full of fear that I wanted to run away! After university I found myself immersed in the world of cricket coaching and I was delivering a session at a school in Hexham and one of the teachers, very kindly, asked why I wasn’t a teacher as the primary sector was crying out for men. Coaching cricket had helped to allay my fears about talking in front of people, so I decided to go for it, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Whilst I’ve always been ambitious

Head the

Sponsored feature

in terms of trying to do my best, I never had designs on becoming a Headteacher. The path to becoming head was probably created for me by Mr Roly Craig, my predecessor, who, bit by bit, over an eight-year period gave me more and more experiences that would set me in good stead for taking over when he decided to step aside. I have much to thank him for. It was never a given, of course, that I would get the job but all he could do was prepare me as best he knew and let fate take control of the rest of it. I’ve become more and more inspired to be a head now that I am one because it is an incredibly privileged position to be in – the opportunity to shape a school the way you want it to be is something that makes me leap out of bed every morning. READ MORE

4 January/February

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EDUCATION

Is your child ready for SATs? By Jemma Zoe Smith SATs have been cancelled for the last two years but this year they’ll be going ahead. If you’re a parent of a child who will be sitting SATs this year or even next, you might be concerned about how the disruption to their education during the pandemic may affect their exam performance - a worry which is doubled for those If the situation is causing you stress, parents whose children are also it’s important not to transmit that sitting the 11+. to your child, whose performance won’t be improved by exam nerves. The good news is that if you’re addressing these concerns now, So what are the next steps? you’re doing so in good time. There’s plenty of opportunity for READ MORE your child to make up any gaps in their learning before the exams roll around. The first thing to do as a parent is not to worry too much! While your child’s schooling has been disrupted, so has that of all their peers. It’s likely results will be poorer across the board, which is reassuring if you’re considering a selective school for your child’s secondary education. What’s more, any teacher looking at your child’s exam results in the future will consider the extraordinary situation in which their studies took place.

Win a Gingersnap Balance Bike Ages worth 2 to 4 years £119! Perfect to get little adventurers started! APPLY HERE

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January/February 5


EDUCATION

Ground, Grass and Sky Handwriting Guide

Help your child practise their handwriting and learn to make their letters the correct size with this activity from PlanBee. Download the instructions and practice sheets to get started.

Handwriting practice sheets Use the example on the previous page to show your child how each letter should look in relation to the ground, the grass and the sky. Get your child to write the letters of the alphabet using the dots below.

Handwriting practice sheets Use these sheets for your child to practise their handwriting and learn to make their letters the correct size. Below you can see an example of how each letter should look in relation to the ground, the grass and the sky.

Handwriting practice sheets Once your child has joined the dotted letters on the previous sheet, let them have a go at writing their own on the ground, grass and sky lines below. Give them the example letters on the first sheet to help.

Using this example as a guide, get your child to trace the dotted letters on the next sheet and then move on to writing the letters themselves on the final sheet.

DOWNLOAD FOR YOUR KIDS HERE!

6 January/February

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EDUCATION

Show your child how to hold a pencil Watch video!

Developing handwriting skills

By Catherine Lynch

The three main skills in learning to write are the physical ability to make marks on paper, knowing that print conveys meaning and knowing what to write. Before children start making marks on paper and learning to write, they need to strengthen their gross and fine motor skills. But how? READ MORE Familiesonline.co.uk

January/February 7


EDUCATION

New children’s books for 2022 Winter’s a great time of year to enjoy some fantastic children’s fiction. Here are our recommendations.

Also

by E B Goodale Ages: 4-7

Invented by Animals

by Christiane Dorion Ages: 7-12

Rita Wants a Ninja by Maire Zepf Ages: 3+

8 January/February

Little Horror

Crocodile Hungry

Big Wig

Atlas of Amazing Migrations

by Daniel Peak Ages: 8-12

by Jonathan Hillman Ages: 4-8

The Smeds and the Smoos Board Book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler Ages: 0-2

by Eija Sumner Ages: 3-7

by Matt Sewell Ages: 7-10

Aaron Slater, Illustrator by Andrea Beaty Ages: 5-7

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Build a brighter future. Limited availability in some year groups for 2022. Applications are now being accepted for 2023. Book a visit at dameallans.co.uk For further information please contact the Head of Admissions on 0191 275 0608.

RATED EXCELLENT BY THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE

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January/February 9


FAMILY LIFE

Family tech ideas The latest in technological innovation – maybe you can find a bargain in the January sales?

Symfonisk Picture Frame with WiFi Speaker Your favourite sounds from your favourite picture! £179

Bonaok Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone Enjoy family karaoke at home. £29.99

Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset

Use headset and app to jump into VR. £299.

Facebook Portal - da Vinci miniMaker Illuminator Light Up Smart Video Calling Drone 3D Printer Video call others on their devices with WhatsApp/ Messenger, even if they don’t have Portal. £60.

First-time users 3D printer. Great for young minds and STEM learning. £284.40

Philips NeoPix Easy Heated Throw Perfect for snuggling up Home Projector

For cosy winter nights in. £99.99 10 January/February

with the family. £53

Delivers an amazing light show. USB and batteryoperated remote control. £29.99

Nanit Smart Baby Monitor

Peace of mind. A crystalclear overhead view of your baby’s cot. From £199 Familiesonline.co.uk


FAMILY LIFE

How is divorce law changing? The long awaited no fault divorce is anticipated to come into force in April 2022 and will remove the need for parties seeking a divorce prior to a period of at least 2 years separation to “blame” the other. The current divorce laws can increase the acrimony at the outset, requiring a spouse to prove unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion unless they wait for 2 years from separation and the other spouse provides their consent, or 5 years if that consent is not forthcoming.

unavoidable. You may particularly wish to avoid delaying proceedings in relation to finances if there are fears that one party may be seeking to move, hide or dissipate assets out of the other parties reach.

To not be able to move on with your lives, especially if you have no option but to remain under The new divorce law will the same roof until the finances instead allow for a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ and a joint are resolved which can be very uncomfortable or even dangerous application for divorce to be made for some. without a finger being pointed at either spouse and without having to wait for a period of separation to To avoid administrative delays once the new law comes into elapse. effect. There could potentially be delays whilst the court and all those We are often asked ‘should I wait involved in the process get used until the new law comes into force or proceed now?’ This can depend to the changes and resolve any teething problems. Additionally, it on individual circumstances but there can also be advantages to not may be that the Court experiences a higher demand on applications to delaying: issue as a number of people may be choosing to wait. In cases where there is an agreement as to how to divide If any of the above applies to you and deal with the finances/ and you would rather not delay, assets of the marriage, this will we can advise on the content of only become legally binding on a petition under the current law the parties once approved by the and if required, assist in terms of Court. It cannot be approved by the Court until after the decree nisi progressing in a manner as noncontentious as possible. of divorce has been pronounced. Therefore, delaying can result in the For further information on any risk of one party looking to renege matter concerning relationship on an earlier agreement. breakdown, please contact Where there is no scope to agree Mincoffs Solicitors’ family team on 0191 281 6151 or email and finances and parties require marketing@mincoffs.co.uk. resolution sooner rather than later, Court proceedings become Familiesonline.co.uk

January/February 11


FAMILY LIFE

Protect your child online

Try Storytime, the world’s best story magazine!

The internet is a fantastic place to learn, play and contact friends and family. However, just like the real world, it’s not safe for children to navigate alone.

Special Full of fairy tales, adventures, myths Reader Offer and legends, tales from other cultures, real life stories and awesome animals, Storytime is the world’s best story magazine.

Save 15% on complete guide to parental controls (E-book/PB) Welcome to the new book, which aims to make it easier to protect our children online!

Leading children’s charities and parent groups agree that parents need more help to understand potential online dangers and understand how best to react when our children are upset or disturbed by something they have seen online. Protecting children of the digital age contains over 130 pages of information, advice, tips and step by step guides to setting parental controls on the most popular devices, Apps, platforms and games. Use code FAM15 at check out here to obtain the e-book for Special just £5.94 or the Reader paperback for just Offer £13.59.

Save 50% off your first 4 issues - just £9.99!

It’s packed with wonderful stories for children and parents to read, love and share, as well as puzzles, activities and games. All 52 pages are beautifully illustrated and printed on quality paper so they can be treasured, read and re-read. No adverts, plastic toys or packaging and each copy arrives in a specially illustrated envelope, so your child has all the excitement of receiving their own mail. Plus, each month, there are free home learning resources and fun activities to bring the stories to life. More info and apply for offer. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

12 January/February

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FAMILY LIFE

Moving on after separation and divorce By Adele Ballantyne At Only Mums and Only Dads, we get many emails expressing concern at the way an ex-partner has introduced their new partner to the children. Often these emails report that the children have become upset as a result. So we asked Adele Ballantyne for her advice on getting this right.

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Many parents use the time whilst their children are with their other parent to start socialising, keeping it separate from their parenting role initially. Of course, it’s okay to tell your children, especially older ones, offering reassurance if you meet resistance.

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But, of course, you will want to socialise.

Never want to miss another issue?

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Before dating, I would say that it’s important to take time to heal, to reflect and think about who you are and what you want going forward.

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So, what happens when you want to start socialising and even dating again?

definitely worth discussing and agreeing a plan with your ex-partner about how you would manage the introduction of any new, long-term partner to your children.

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Separating when you have children isn’t easy but as a new ‘normal’ begins to emerge, you may find yourself or your ex-partner starting to think about moving on with the ‘adult’ part of life.

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Magazine January/February 13


TWEEN

Best skincare products for tweens We asked our friends at wearetwixt for their round up of some of the best, tween-friendly zit-zapping cleansers that avoid chemicals that can be abrasive on young, delicate skin. TROPIC Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum (£42) A gentle serum with pre-biotics builds the skin’s defences and fights acne. Olivia (12) says: ‘I put this on twice a day. It cleared my spots completely. Absolutely amazing!’ Olivia’s mum says: ‘Pricey but a little goes a long way.’ Pixi Glow Tonic (£10) Lightweight, gentle exfoliating serum which hydrates and boosts radiance. 100% chemical-free and beautifully gentle for young skin. Olivia (12) says: ‘I use this every evening and it makes my skin feel completely clean.’ Olivia’s mum says: ‘‘This has been brilliant for Olivia’s skin.’ 14 January/February

LUSH Tea Tree Water (£6) and LUSH Grease Lightning (£8) Tea tree water cleanses and helps banish spots. Grease Lightning cleanses and helps combat infection and further redness. Olivia (12) says: ‘I love how fresh these products are and how clean they feel.’

TROPIC Clear Skin BlemishFighting Mask (£20)

Designed to control the levels of sebum in the skin, preventing spots forming. Kills bacteria, draws out toxins, closes pores and soothes sore skin. Olivia (12) says: ‘My skin is sensitive and can get dry and this is so gentle and soothing. It lasts for ages too.’ Familiesonline.co.uk


TWEEN

Why Aiyven and Kirsten are Happier Every Chapter Sisters Aiyven (12) and Kirsten (13) love writing stories and both published debut novels in 2020. Families talks to them to find out more. What made you start writing stories? Our parents read stories to us every night when we were young, which opened up whole new worlds to us. From around the age of 4 or 5, we were folding pieces of paper into cards and writing stories inside them - and just never stopped! What do you like best about writing stories? The best thing is how in a few hours, a new universe can sprout out of thin air. How many stories have you written? Many of our early stories were on laptops we don’t have any more but every month we write short stories for our book subscription box, Happier Every Chapter. Over time, we’ve written at least thirty stories each. That’s excluding our books. Do you make a plan for your stories? When we were younger, we often just typed whatever came to mind, which can result in an unusual plot and a storyline that doesn’t flow very well. Now, we plan Familiesonline.co.uk

the beginning, build-up, climax, resolution and ending. Once you have those five factors planned, it’s just a matter of connecting the dots. Interested in Aiyven and Kirsten’s advice on story-writing? READ MORE

FREE Mental Health Activity Pack from Storytime for your child* 14 pages of fun activities

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*while stocks last. T&C’s apply.

January/February 15


FOOD

Winter warmers Get your big bowls and mugs out and make some of these fabulous, hearty seasonal soups and hot drinks with the kids.

Real tomato soup

Hot butter beer (no alcohol!)

Alphabet soup

Green pea and ham soup

Mini cob loaf sweet potato soup

White hot chocolate

Hot chocolate snowmen

Kids’ minestrone soup

Child-friendly hot toddy

16 January/February

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NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Just one healthy thing

At this time of the year, we are bombarded with unrealistic health advice. So how about setting yourself an easy target of changing just one thing this New Year?

Consider cold water swimming

Get a fitness buddy

Take time to meditate

Start with cold water showers and build up with the Wim Hof method.

Accountability works. Find out more.

10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Find hundreds of free meditations.

Take Vitamin D

Try forest bathing

Get quality sleep

10mg daily for adults in autumn and winter compensate for lack of UK sunshine.

Time in forest/woodland boosts your mood, health and wellbeing. Find options here.

If your nights are disrupted, try going to bed earlier. Discover the benefits.

Go veggie

Give up alcohol

Practise gratitude

For one day a week, skip meat. Follow MeatFreeMondays. Familiesonline.co.uk

Try mindful drinking with Keeping a daily gratitude Spirited Euphoria! 100% diary can make you feel more optimistic. natural, non-alcoholic, endorphin-releasing alternative. January/February 17


NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Health & fitness products for parents Getting fit when you are a busy parent can be a challenge. Here are some great products to get your health and fitness mojo back in 2022.

Groov-e SportBuds

TOFOTL Cordless Jump Rope

The Leg Master®

Wireless Stereo Earphones, perfect sound, snug ear hook fit and sweat-resistant. £39.99

Practical, clever weighted, cordless skipping rope. £10.60

Improves pelvic floor health and posture through classic strength training. £89.95

Claude Leggings, Pocket Sport

Eco-friendly Yoga Mats Inspiring, colourful, sustainable. Earth & animal-friendly. £40+

The Zeno Running Pushchair

The ZENO: for push or pull running; the AVI: ‘hands free’ stroller. From £819.95

Twelve South ActionSleeve 2

Breathe Deep, Seek Peace Flower Essence

Grounded Protein Shakes

Maximum comfort, flattering, breathable fabric, quick drying. Hidden pocket. £55

Wear on upper arm and workout with Apple Watch, monitoring your progress. £34.99 18 January/February

Awarded ‘best better sleep’ product. £12

Dairy free, sustainable, plant-based protein shakes. 20g of plant protein. £19.95 (6 pack). Familiesonline.co.uk


NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

New Year, new me ticked off. I want to compete in an Olympic distance As the festivities of Christmas finally triathlon. I was come to a close and the kids return booked on one in 2020, however to school, it is the perfect time for obvious to keep up with those New Year reasons it was cancelled. Actually, Resolutions, right? taking part isn’t really the goal for me. It is getting back outside and Nah! Not me. training that I want to do. I’m not big on the resolution front. Over the past lockdowns, my Not because I have no willpower (although I don’t). Moreso, because motivation dropped considerably to such a point that I can’t remember I personally think they are rubbish ideas. Why set yourself up for failure the last time I went for a run, ride or swim. For me, it is not only the at the start of the new year? exercise part either. It really helps my mental health. It clears my mind. I am 46 years old, I still drink one And more importantly, it makes me too many glasses of wine each week, still haven’t given up smoking feel better. About everything. and certainly don’t exercise as So, number one. Book myself onto a much as I would like each week. triathlon event in the summer. Train weekly. Feel better. Plus having a birthday in January hasn’t helped the cause. Anyone, Up next on the list is to actually with a birthday in January will finish the book that I started about confirm, they suck! As a young three years ago. The same book adult, most of my friends partied that has been loitering, unfinished, way too much on NYE and had unloved in a folder on the laptop very little disposable money left to even consider going out again this since 2019. Again, this one isn’t solely to finish something that I month. As adults, people tend to have had planned for years. That hibernate in the first month of the part is easy. I need to find time to year, leaving your birthday out in finish the job at hand. I need to the cold (as it were). make space in my already busy schedule of work and parenting. I Instead, I prefer to set myself yearly goals, personal challenges need to use my time more wisely. if you like. I like to be in it for the long haul. Go big, or go home. This There are more, but I won’t bore you with them all. Put simply, my way, if you do slip up, there is still plenty of time to make amends and goals for 2022 are to watch out for my mental health and get more still hit your target. organised. Simple really. Things I should be doing anyway. First up on my list is something that has been on there for the last READ MORE few years, but sadly has not been

By Ian Northeast

Familiesonline.co.uk

January/February 19


EARLY YEARS

Sensible safety supplies It’s a great time of year to check that you have all the right protection to keep your children safe at home.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Essential if you use gas, LPG, oil or wood at home. £14

Cable Tidy Unit

The easiest way to keep cables away from children. Click-lock lid. £17.90

Bath & Room Thermometer

Flashes/beeps when water is too hot/cold for your child. Floats in bath. £11.49 20 January/February

St John Ambulance Travel First Aid Kit Important at home and when away. £18.60

Stove & Hob Guard

Protects from stove-top dangers. Adjustable. Suitable for gas and electric. £37.99

Magnetic Child Locks

Corner Protectors

Oven Door Guard

Door Slam Protector

No DIY skills required. Fit lock and catch simultaneously. £19.95

Prevents little hands from opening the oven and getting injured or burned. £6.49

Easy to install. Larger than others. Soft protection from sharp corners. £6.99

Protects fingers from door slamming and children from getting locked in. From £6.99 Familiesonline.co.uk


EARLY YEARS

Getting more involved with your child’s development Volunteering at your child’s childcare setting is a great way to become more involved with your child’s learning and development. If you’ve previously worked with children or in childcare, that’s invaluable but you don’t actually need any experience. You may be interested in formal roles like a nursery assistant where you will receive lots of support including an induction or special training. Other roles may be more informal with flexible arrangements such as joining outings to the park, helping with a fundraising activity or running a toy library. Your child’s setting is likely to be open to ideas. Volunteering at your child’s setting can help you: Increase your enjoyment and understanding of the way your child learns; Learn new skills, gain confidence and practical experience; Make new friends and meet other parents; Develop and become part of a parent forum; Take up free training opportunities to help you progress into paid work; Get to know your child’s friends better; Explore new career opportunities in childcare; Give something back to your local community. Familiesonline.co.uk

Children learn a huge amount while in quality childcare but parents remain their most important educators. Find out how to continue developing your child’s learning at home. READ MORE

Protect your child online! Get a free and complete guide to parental controls*

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Magazine

January/February 21


CLUBS & CLASSES

Unusual class and club ideas Kids looking for something a bit different to try in 2022? Check out our ideas.

Chess

Rock climbing

Fencing

Trampolining

Parkour

Archery

Table tennis

Sailing

Skating

22 January/February

Familiesonline.co.uk


ACTIVITIES

Winter boredom busters Virtual fun

Take a ride on a virtual roller coaster. Check out 10 of the best virtual rides. Go on a virtual tour of a zoo, aquarium or science centre. Here’s some of the world’s best. Explore breath-taking scenery with a virtual visit to America’s greatest national parks. Drop in on London - visit a museum, Brick Lane, Houses of Parliament and more. Take a plunge and swim with wild dolphins. Marvel at the magic of nature’s beauty by gazing at the Northern Lights.

Kitchen capers

Try a new cookie recipe, suggestions here. Bonus idea: Set up a camera or smart phone and film a cooking show! Make ice cream in a bag, recipe here. No need for a fancy ice cream maker! Make slime, instructions here. Make some DIY play-dough, recipe here. Have a pizza party, DIY pizza recipes here. Throw an afternoon tea party for the family, see children’s tea party ideas.

Game time

Educational

Learn and play a new card game, here are 12 classic card games.

Conduct a science experiment, find 31 easy science experiments using common household items.

Play family charades. Choose from 100s of ideas with this online random charade’s generator.

Put on a family magic show, here are 13 easy tricks to learn. Dice games teach maths and other skills. Here are some great options. Two truths and a lie. Play two truths and a lie, See some childfriendly examples. Have a bingo tournament. Try this online Bingo Card Generator.

Familiesonline.co.uk

Check out the National Literacy Trust’s list of podcasts here.

Have an extra Amazon box laying around? 32 fun, creative, and educational things to do with a cardboard box. Create a message for the present and the future with a Sustainable Development Time Capsule.

Practise a new life skill with your kids, here are 19 life skills you can teach your child at home.

January/February 23


ACTIVITIES

DIY board games from overseas Fed up with the board games in the cupboard? Make and try these fascinating alternatives curated from overseas by www.whatdowedoallday.com

Watermelon Chess Country of origin: China

Kaooa Country of origin: India

Nine holes Country of origin: England

Fighting Serpents Country of origin: New Mexico

Lu Lu Dice Country of origin: Hawaii

Picaria

Country of origin: American South West

Fox & Geese Country of origin: Scandinavia

Shisima Country of origin: Kenya

Tapatan Country of origin: Philippines

24 January/February

Familiesonline.co.uk


ACTIVITIES

Chinese New Year crafts Chinese New Year falls on 1 February this year and offers the perfect inspiration for kids to get crafty!

Year of the Tiger paper bag puppet

Chinese lantern

Chinese New Year candle holders

Tangram puzzle

Mr Panda craft

Fortune Cookies

Chinese New Year’s pinwheel

Rattle drum

Paper plate Chinese dragon

Familiesonline.co.uk

January/February 25


ACTIVITIES

Wild winter activities Playing outside is important for kids, even in winter. Here are some great outdoor activity ideas to keep them busy.

Build teeny tiny twig rafts

Rain paint

Make a muddy water filter

Make a mini pond in a pot

Do some wild weaving

Make a magic potion

Make a wormery

Create frozen sun catchers

Build a bird box

26 January/February

Familiesonline.co.uk