Sunday 29 October 2017

Project 7: Sunderland and the North-East

The 'Sunderland and the North-East' project spanned two weeks as it incorporated a five day trip to Sunderland to visit Solomon's grandparents.The project involved visiting multiple local attractions, and then creating a 'Visit the North-East' tourism poster.

We visited Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books in Ouseburn, Newcastle. There are seven floors of interactive activities relating to children's books, with a special exhibition on comic books when we went. There's plenty to fill a whole day, and really engaging staff who are great with children. Solomon was particularly taken by the Attic floor at the top, generally used for storytime but with lots of dressing up boxes scattered around.
The "Can't You Sleep, Little Bear" bear cave
We visited Hylton Castle in Sunderland, the gatehouse-tower of a castle. An impressive building from the 14th century, although unfortunately the castle was fenced off as part of its ongoing refurbishment. There was, however, a really good park next to the castle.
Hylton Castle
We also visited Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, and Sunderland's illuminations which are on each October.
Cheshire Cat at Sunderland's illuminations
We also watched a number of videos about Sunderland's coal mining, ship building and glass making heritage.

Finally, Solomon brought together some of the different features of the North East into a 'Visit the North East' poster.

'Visit The North East'
The poster incorporates the Angel of the North, a car (representing the Nissan car factory), Hylton Castle, a toadstool from the Alice in Wonderland part of the Sunderland illuminations, a glass vase and a ship to represent Sunderland's shipbuilding and glass making heritage.

Next week's project: Space and the Planets!

Sunday 15 October 2017

Project 6: Nutrition

We started the week by learning about the six main food group, using the NHS Eatwell Guide categorisation: protein; dairy; fruit and vegetables; carbohydrates; oils and spreads; and high fats, salt and sugar foods.We then organised all the toy foods in the house into those categories.

Playfoods categorised
We also watched some videos about a balanced diet from the Tesco Eat Happy Project, to learn why we need the different food groups (the videos are refreshingly non-commercial):
Then we learnt about portion sizes, the traffic light food labelling system, the importance of five fruit and veg a day, and utilised a cut-and-stick food pyramid activity.
Food Pyramid
Finally Solomon searched through some recipe books and picked a healthy balanced meal which he then helped to cook. He chose to make a pizza and a fruit layered yoghurt bombe, although his mum may have defrosted the bombe for a bit too long!
Making a pizza
Overly defrosted fruit-layered yoghurt bombe
Next weeks' project: Sunderland and the North East

Sunday 8 October 2017

Project 5: English Civil War

As the Oliver Cromwell museum is just down the road, we decided to do a project on the Civil War this week.

We got some books out of the library on the subject, and watched the Horrible History sketches about the Civil War on Netflix:

  • Series 2 Episode 7 (16 mins 30 secs – Charles I)
  • Series 1 Episode 11 (20 mins 30 secs - The start of the civil war)
(Unfortunately the Horrible Histories Civil War song is in series 3 - which isn't available on the UK's Netflix)

The Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon is a small museum, just one room, but holds a significant number of artefacts about Oliver Cromwell and the Civil War. The staff were very helpful and there was plenty for the kids to do: worksheets, dressing up, and games from the period. We spent about an hour there in total.

The children's favourite exhibit was undoubtedly the Lego reconstruction of a Civil War battle, although there were many other items of more historical interest.
Lego Civil War Battle

Roundhead Uniforms
Oliver Cromwell's Hat

Following the BBC's Are you a Roundhead or a Cavalier? Solomon decided he was a Cavalier, and created a Cavalier recruitment poster.

Solomon's Cavalier Recruitment Poster
Next week's project: Nutrition!

Sunday 1 October 2017

Project 4: Flags

This week we learnt all about flags, and then Solomon designed his own flag for the family.

We started by watching some videos about flags, including a good overall introduction from the Well...Actually channel on YouTube:
We also talked about how countries can change their flags, and what the British flag might look like if Scotland had left the UK.

Following the advice of a TED talk on the design of flags*, Solomon made his own flags on 1 by 1.5 inch pieces of paper. The theory is, if it looks good on a piece of paper that size, it looks good on a flag pole in the distance. The designs also took into account flag advice from the UK's Flag Institute.
Solomon's Flag Thumbnails

Finally, Solomon painted the family flag. We cut up and hemmed a pillow case, as we couldn't find any suitable plain white tea-towels, and bought some Dylon fabric paints. The paints are quite expensive, and not necessarily the best choice for small children as you have to put a lot on your brush. If you have young children you may just want to paint your flags on paper with poster paints.

Solomon's Flag
Solomon's younger sister also made a flag.
Monica's Flag (aged 3)
We had also planned to have a flag hunt - trying to find as many flags as possible around town - but time got away from us this week.

Next week's project: The English Civil War.

* a bit long for young children and some very mild swearing.