And we’re off!

The start of a new year and back to work.

The playroom has undergone a good clean, the high chairs are back out, the nappy changing area set up, the book shelves organised, the toys cleaned and set out, the carpets and furniture vacuumed and vaxed, the garden tidied and tired outdoor toys hosed down and cleaned all ready for a new year of fun and play. Happy New Year everyone!




In the news…tax-free childcare scheme delayed

I am signed up to the new tax-free childcare scheme but have also signed the petition to keep childcare vouchers open beyond April 2018. The petition has reached more than 100,000 signatures and therefore Parliament will debate the petition on 15 January 2018.

What does the new scheme mean for you, are you pleased or not?



The decline of nursery rhymes

I came across this story today which I thought was interesting.

A while ago my son showed no interest in nursery rhymes (much to my dismay!)  despite my desperate attempts to teach him some. So I was delighted when he started pre-school and would come home singing them. I remember pacing up and down the living room with him as a tiny baby in a desperate attempt to get him to sleep by singing every nursery rhyme I could think of!

Here at Aston Childcare we enjoy nursery rhymes in books, on CDs we listen to and on poster cards.

I’m pleased to say that the other children in my care love nursery rhymes, I would have to say Twinkle Twinkle little star is their favourite! My personal favourite is Incy Wincy spider! What’s yours?

Weekend Family time: Shotover Country Park

Yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday) I was keen for us to get out in the fresh air as a family and I was also hoping to spot some bluebells so after lunch we headed off to Shotover Country Park in Oxford for a family walk.

We last went here over New Year when the weather was considerably colder but yesterday we were lucky enough to enjoy a lovely walk in the sunshine and managed to miss the rain. My sons walking has come on considerably since then too so it was lovely that he was able to make it around on his own this time.

There is lots of parking and an information board when you arrive and free leaflets to help you with your chosen walk. We chose the red trail and armed with our map and directions we set off.

My son loved spotting the red triangles on the bridleway posts.  The views are stunning and the woodland and trees are beautiful. We walked through some lovely bluebells, spotted lots of lovely birds, met some lovely dogs, saw runners, children playing and making dens, saw couples out walking and families picknicking. It is such a lovely place to go, walking is good for the heart and the soul and I highly recommend it!

Taken from the councils website –

Shotover Country Park offers everyone a chance to enjoy a place of beauty and history right on the edge of Oxford. Covering 117 hectares on the southern slopes of Shotover Hill there are spectacular views from the top across south Oxfordshire.

The park is an intimate mosaic of hidden valleys, varied landscapes and diverse habitats; a haven for wildlife and an ideal setting for peaceful enjoyment of the countryside.

Because Shotover is a nationally important wildlife site, most of the Country Park is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 

Shotover is open to everyone to enjoy throughout the year free of charge and is ideal for a summer picnic, leisurely strolls, a walk with the dog, jogging, riding or orienteering. Are you making the most of the countryside on your doorstep?

Discover how much Shotover Country Park has to offer! 

Let’s go fly a kite!

Today’s weather wasn’t very pleasant or good for much…except flying a kite!

Late this afternoon when I finally coerced the children outside after hours of crafting and playdough we went and flew a kite out in the garden.

With two two year olds this wasn’t the easiest of tasks!  They first had to listen to instructions namely “Stand still!”, “Wait!” and “Don’t let go!” and they had to work with one another taking turns. Their faces and squeals of delight as the kite went up were priceless.

We waited for the wind to pick up so they had to practice patience waiting for the wind pressure to make the kite airborne.

Obviously at this age we didn’t go in to the ins and outs of force and gravity(!!) but this activity could easily be tailored to make it applicable to all ages but today was all about having fun.

Areas of Learning Covered: Physical Development, Understanding the world, Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Mathematics

Wonderful Wildlife!

Today (3rd March) is World Wildlife Day and interestingly this year’s theme is “Listen to the young voices”. The initiative aims to “encourage young people, as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife” and say “World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking. Youth are the agents of change”. 


Here at Aston Childcare we have been following a wildlife theme over the past couple of weeks. The theme actually stemmed from my son showing a particular interest in our British wildlife picture poster and asking me to name the animals. I thought it was important that we learnt to recognise some of the great creatures of British Wildlife and set about some activities to ignite their enthusiasm and interest.

We took a look at Squirrels, reading Beatrix Potter’s famous Squirrel Nutkin, created a squirrel out of card and tissue paper during one of our arts and crafts sessions, looked at acorns as part of our nature tray and watching an episode of Bing on Cbeebies about Squirrels and Acorns.

We also took a look at Badgers, creating our own badger faces out of paper plates, googly eyes and pom-poms, sticking with some fun badger stickers and reading “That’s not my Badger!” which they loved.

Finally, we took a look at Foxes reading some lovely books including Foxes Socks. We enjoyed some fox stickers, our fox puppet and made some fun fox masks.

I have previously looked at hedgehogs with another mindee to compliment a theme run by his pre-school. They had been following an Autumn theme, discovering about their senses and Autumn. They had watched a film about hedgehogs and hibernation and enjoyed drawing and talking about what they had found out. My mindee excitedly came home and told me that hedgehogs hibernate during the Autumn which was like a “long sleep”. I loved this analogy and we set about making a hedgehog out of the lovely Autumn leaves found on our walk home from pre-school.