Tag Archive for: activities

Free Wild Mammals Poster for Under-5s — & World Wildlife Day

With World Wildlife Day falling on the 3rd of March and Spring virtually upon us, we thought it was a great time to produce another free wildlife poster for children and families to download. This one features 20 wild British* land mammals that children will love! Using the poster, they can learn to identify the animals shown and perhaps look out for them when out and about over the coming months and years. It’s a handy reference tool that can be used to get to know their furry neighbours, whether in local parks, on trips to the countryside, or whilst on holiday. While some creatures like grey squirrels are common to see, some of the others shown are more shy — but that just makes it more exciting when they are finally spotted!

Many of Britain's wild mammals are stunningly beautiful and children often have a natural interest in them.Getting children interested in nature, and spending time around it, is extremely good for them as we’ve reported before — the benefits of nature to children are simply huge. Today’s focus on British mammals will not only be a good way to encourage an interest in some of Britain’s wonderful creatures but may also help them understand more about the need to support conservation efforts and protect wildlife. It’s a great way to foster empathy in little ones too. We’ll tell you more about World Wildlife Day shortly but first, grab yourself and your children the free mammals poster — the creatures shown are stunningly beautiful and kids are bound to love displaying the poster.

Download, print out and feel free to share this British Wild Mammals poster. Click the bold blue link or the preview image below and save to your hard drive. Once opened in Acrobat Reader and printed out, children can see if they can learn the different animal names and even spot some of the beautiful creatures over coming years while outside, in the countryside, or on holiday.

Free Wild Mammals Poster for Under-5s — & World Wildlife Day

United Nations World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day - 3 MarchWorld Wildlife Day celebrates the world’s flora and fauna. It happens on the 3rd of March each year and is a way to raise awareness of the need to protect nature. That can be achieved by reducing harmful emissions, pollution, habitat loss, and the loss of biodiversity. By introducing children to the beautiful wildlife around them, children will naturally be more empathetic towards other creatures and even progress to learning about conservation matters and the impact of humans on the planet. In this way, little ones can grow into young stewards of the planet and have an active interest in protecting it going forward. Get them started today by downloading our free Wild Mammals poster — who knows where it could lead!

Parents, teachers and early years practitioners can learn more about the United Nations World Wildlife Day here.

Other Free Wildlife Posters Children Can Download

Don’t forget that this is just one in a series of several wildlife/nature-related posters. All of them are free, shareable, and will be both fun and educational for children. Choose from today’s British Mammals poster above, our British Birds poster, Minibeasts poster, or Butterflies poster. Follow the links for more details and the free downloads.

Exceptional Childcare in Streatham

Little Cedars: a high-quality childcare nursery in Streatham, London, SW16

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderWe love nature and all the benefits it brings to children, so we’re lucky to be located close to Tooting Common at Little Cedars Day Nursery (Streatham, SW16). We also encourage children to get involved in planting and growing in our own garden at the setting as nature teaches them so much. It’s all part of the early years learning and development programme at the setting.

Contact Little Cedars Nursery today and explore the possibility of a nursery/preschool place for your child in Streatham:

Based in Streatham, Little Cedars Nursery may also suit your little one if you are looking for a high-quality nursery or preschool near Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood.

* By ‘British’ we mean mammals that can be found and seen in Britain. We are keeping things simple for little ones but appreciate, of course, that some of the animals featured were not originally indigenous to Britain. Examples include the Muntjac Deer (originally from China) and the grey squirrel (originally from North America). Even some red squirrels that we see in parts of Britain may be descendants of some that were imported to boost our own declining populations. We also appreciate that there are several sub-species not shown, e.g. several types of mouse, shrew, vole and others. That, again, is to keep things simple for little ones.

Little Cedars Nursery: News Round-Up for Spring Term 2024
Today, we give you a glimpse into some of the themed activities and topics that children are getting involved in at Little Cedars Nursery this Spring term. They’re many and varied and give children insights into different subjects, elements of life that they may not yet be familiar with, different cultures, key dates, celebrations and traditions. Such insights will stand them in good stead educationally as well as socially — Children from Little Cedars Nursery mixing ingredients on Pancake Day.and many of them are simply great fun too!

One highlight from just this week, for example, was Pancake Day (a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday), which fell on 13th February this year. Children certainly enjoyed getting involved! The photo shows some of our nursery children getting involved in mixing ingredients. Later they could be seen rolling, kneading and shaping pancakes. The next day it was, of course, Valentine’s Day, giving children the chance to get creative and make or give cards if they so chose.

Learning Opportunities from the Spring Term Calendar

With this term running from early January until late March, there are many key dates and celebrations to draw children’s attention to. It’s a great way to broaden children’s horizons and help them learn about the wider world, society, different cultures and religions.

JANUARY

January saw many key dates arriving throughout the month. Examples included: Martin Luther King Day on the 15th Winnie the Pooh Day on the 18th World Religion Day on the 21st National Handwriting Day on the 23rd Burns Night on the 25th Australia Day on the 26th the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch from the 26th to the 28th and National Storytelling Week, which began towards the end of the month and stretched into the start of February, which we’ll come to below.

These, along with additional key dates not shown, represent great learning opportunities for children at Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham.

FEBRUARY

The start of February continued with the remainder of National Storytelling Week followed by additional key dates including Chinese New Year and the Lunar New Year on the 10th Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. Pancake Day) on the 13th Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent on the 14th Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th World Thinking Day on the 22nd plus additional key dates not listed.

These are great opportunities for children to discover new facts, understand new concepts, learn about different cultures, get creative, and so on.

MARCH

March 2024 is also jam-packed with key dates that can present great learning and discovery opportunities for children. Examples include: World Wildlife Day on the 3rd World Book Day on the 7th (we’ll certainly be making the most of that at Little Cedars Nursery) the festival of Maha Shivratri on the 8th Mother’s Day on the 10th — a wonderful opportunity for our children to make something creative for their mums the start of Ramadan also on the 10th St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th the Spring Equinox on the 20th (it’ll be lovely to say goodbye to Winter!) World Poetry Day on the 21st the Jewish holiday of Purim (23rd to the 24th) the Hindu festival of Holi (24th to the 25th) Palm Sunday on the 24th, the Easter dates of Good Friday (29th), Holy Saturday (30th), and Easter Sunday on the 31st.

The 31st is also when the clocks go forward and we start to enjoy lighter evenings again — fabulous! With that in mind, we’ll be adding some Spring-focused content to the site, relating to the early years, in the coming weeks.

As well as looking at celebrations and festivities from the calendar like those above, we also explore additional topics with the children during the Spring Term.

Earlier in the term, nursery children enjoyed an array of fun, sensory activities involving colour and snow foam.Earlier in the term, for example, our nursery children enjoyed an array of fun, sensory activities. Using brushes, they explored primary colours and mixing to make secondary colours using snow foam. As well as learning about colours, this activity also helped them practise hand and eye coordination, get in tune with their senses and develop the small muscles needed for fine motor control.

In our minibeast hunt, children gathered around a tuff tray, spotting and ticking off different insects hidden in the soil.Another recent activity that proved to be a hit with our nursery children was the insect/minibeast hunt. As you can see in the photograph, children gathered around a tuff tray, spotting and ticking off different insects that we’d hidden in the soil. While these particular insects were only man-made representations, children can also use our free Minibeasts Poster to find real ones out in the garden or countryside. Spending time around nature is hugely beneficial to children, as we previously reported, so follow the bold links if you’d like more information.

Children love planting in our garden and learning about nature, responsibility, and caring for other living things.This term, with that in mind, there will be lots of planting in our garden. Children generally love this activity and it teaches them about nature, responsibility, caring for other living things and so much more.

We’ll also explore the topic of people who help us with the children. This may include a visit from the police, a postman and perhaps a short trip on a public bus. All such things will open children’s eyes to some of the facets Later in the Spring Term we'll explore the topic of baby animals.of modern society and even the jobs that people do.

Later in the Spring Term, we’ll explore the topic of baby animals and this is sure to delight the little ones! As with the planting activity, it should also nurture their caring side,We have exciting 'Play Sports Motion' sessions for children every Wednesday. helping them understand the need to be gentle, responsible and empathetic towards other creatures.

And don’t forget, we also have exciting sports sessions for children every Wednesday, through the external expertise of coach Mihai of Sports Play Motion. Sessions are filled with fun, ever-growing skills, teamwork and laughter. The children look forward to every session!

A 5-Star Nursery in Streatham

Our Streatham nursery is a homely, welcoming, five-star learning environment for under-fives

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderIf you’d like to explore the opportunity of sending your baby, toddler, or preschooler to Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham, please get in touch. We regularly attract 5-star ratings and reviews and are officially a ‘Good Provider’ of early years childcare and education, so you know your child will be in good hands. Please select an option below to get started:

Little Cedars is also near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Common, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood, so may also suit families from those nearby locations.

National Storytelling Week (27 Jan - 4 Feb 2024) — a fun & beneficial activity for children & families.

The annual activity is a great opportunity for children and families to get creative and to entertain one another through the sharing of stories.Children and families, get ready for National Storytelling Week! For 2024, storytelling in the UK is officially celebrated from Saturday the 27th of January to Sunday the 4th of February. It’s a great opportunity for children and families to get creative and to entertain one another through the sharing of stories.

Storytelling is an ancient and important tradition across the globe and one that has many benefits for both the storyteller and the listener. As such, it’s something that should be encouraged amongst children of any age. Today, we take a closer look at some of those benefits and suggest ways that both kids and families can make the most of this wonderful, free activity.

Storytelling: the Perfect Antidote to Wintery Days

Through storytelling, children can be transported to different locations, situations and climates, all in the blink of an eye.National Storytelling Week couldn’t come at a better time of year. As many across the UK have witnessed in recent weeks, January brings with it cold days, dull skies, and wintery weather. Even the daylight hours are short, limiting the number of activities children can undertake outdoors. With storytelling, however, families can be transported to any number of different locations, situations and climates, all in the blink of an eye. Indeed, storytelling can take children to places and scenarios that would simply not be possible in real life. Such is the power of this art form and the human imagination.

Some Benefits of Taking Part in National Storytelling Week

Whether storytelling is a simple verbal activity or dramatised in some way through acting or the use of props, it can be highly entertaining and captivating. There are also a significant number of additional benefits for both the storyteller and the listener, including:

  • Storytelling offers a significant number of benefits to both the storyteller and the listener.Stories stimulate imaginations;
  • Storytelling enhances creativity;
  • By showing what it’s like to be someone or even something else, stories nurture empathy;
  • Storytelling can be a great way to relax;
  • Storytelling helps to expand vocabulary and literacy;
  • Storytelling helps to improve children’s speech and listening skills;
  • Stories can be a great way to share new facts;
  • Stories open up new worlds to children;
  • Stories are a great vehicle for escapism, which is important, especially to those who have had a challenging day;
  • Storytelling activities can even lead to careers involving writing or other creative jobs;
  • Last but not least, storytelling is simply great fun!

So, all in all, there’s every reason for children and families to get involved in National Storytelling Week from Saturday the 27th of January to Sunday the 4th of February 2024. However, don’t stop there … storytelling is worthwhile any time of year!

How to Enhance Children’s Storytelling Sessions

If you’re an adult overseeing a storytelling session with children, perhaps start them off by telling them a short story yourself to get the ball rolling. They can learn from your example and then take turns to tell their story to the group. Making up brand new stories is beneficial (it will promote greater creativity) but it’s also OK for the youngest children to be influenced by existing stories they’re familiar with if they initially struggle to create something from scratch.

Setting aside a storytelling corner or niche will encourage children to tell stories and to read.Another great way to help children create new stories is to encourage them to be inspired by objects around them. For example, a teddy bear, toy character, or picture nearby may inspire them. This can be taken further by providing children with a basket of such props, for example, a toy animal, pine cone, toy crown, goblet, apple, and a rock. A ‘story scrapbook’ can be used by children in a similar way. Such things can significantly help children to become more creative and generate storyline ideas, sequencing, and plot twists.

Try encouraging questions and interaction from children who are listening. This will help to get them more involved and immersed in the storyline.

Another creative approach is to let them influence how the story should unfold by making suggestions along the way.

Hand or finger puppets can also be excellent, immersive tools to bring stories to life. Adding in some acting will add an extra layer of drama and entertainment to stories too, so encourage this. It can be taken to many different levels, perhaps with the use of different voices and accents, fancy dress to look like a character, introducing props and so on.

Why not set up a storytelling corner or nook? This can be used all year round and should be a quiet, comfortable space. Perhaps scatter cushions, blankets, and soft toys, and add fairly lights, props and, for young actors-in-the-making, costumes. A bespoke storytelling corner is sure to encourage children to come back to the activity throughout the year.

Such approaches are a recipe for a very entertaining, captivating and immersive storytelling session, which children will love! It’ll get them thinking deeply, stir their creative juices, boost their imaginations, and allow them to enter a different and magical reality for a short time. They’ll learn more about the world and gain improvements to skills like empathy and literacy along the way. Through the simple activity of storytelling, both the listener and storyteller will benefit in a myriad of ways. So — get children involved this National Storytelling Week and watch them blossom!

Little Cedars: Your Streatham Nursery & Preschool

A High-Quality Nursery in Streatham, near Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury & Colliers Wood

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good Provider

Are you searching for the perfect nursery or preschool for your child in or near Streatham? Little Cedars Day Nursery offers a high-quality home-from-home environment where babies, toddlers and preschoolers absolutely thrive. Rated as a Good Provider of childcare and early years education by Ofsted, Little Cedars represents a wonderful choice for families looking for the very best fit for their little ones. We also support a raft of free childcare funding schemes, making childcare more affordable for eligible families.

Our Streatham childcare nursery may also suit families living nearby in Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Autumn Treasure Hunt — a Fun Nature-Based Activity for Children

Preview of the Autumn Treasure Hunt reference sheet.Autumn is a time of the year when magical colour changes occur across gardens, parks and landscapes. Leaves can be seen in a multitude of different colours before falling along with seeds, ripening fruits and berries. In autumn, nature shows us a wonderful metamorphosis and it’s a time of beautifully crisp air and clear distant views. It’s all incredible to behold and also offers children some unique seasonal activity opportunities.

One such activity is an autumn treasure hunt. Here, children get to explore the outdoors and see if they can spot some natural delights that are only available at this time of year. For example, can they spot a red leaf? How about a purple one… or a multicoloured one? Can they spot an acorn that’s fallen from an oak tree or spot ‘winged’ seeds falling like helicopters from a sycamore tree? Can they find some conkers or sweet chestnuts? And so on. With that in mind, we’ve put together a free reference sheet featuring 20 such items for children to look out for. Children or accompanying adults can print it out, take it along and tick off each item that’s successfully found. The activity could even be the basis of a competition between multiple children, perhaps with a treat or extra sticker for the child that checks off the most.

So, take a look and save the reference sheet by clicking the preview image below — the file is in Acrobat Reader format, so should work on most devices.

Autumn Treasure Hunt Reference Sheet (Click to Download):

Large view of the Autumn Treasure Hunt reference sheet. Click to download and view the Acrobat PDF, then print out.

This activity is great for children because it gets them outdoors, close to nature. And, as we’ve mentioned before, study after study concludes that outdoor play is incredibly important to children and being close to nature has huge benefits for them. However, remember to pay close attention to the safety and well-being of children under your care at all times, especially when playing outdoors — see some examples of things to look out for in the ‘child safety precautions’ box at the end of this article.

We hope you and your child enjoy this wholesome nature-based activity this autumn. It’s a simple but effective way to encourage children to appreciate nature and The Great Outdoors. It’s also a fun way to open their eyes and educate them about the sheer magic of nature and the natural world around them.

A Childcare Nursery for Your Child in Streatham

Are you looking for a high-quality childcare service in Streatham?

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderThis nature-based activity comes courtesy of the team at Little Cedars Day Nursery in Streatham, London SW16. We provide an outstanding early years education and high-quality childcare service for babies and under-fives. We also support free, Government-funded childcare places subject to eligibility and availability.

If you’d like to explore the possibility of your child having a nursery or preschool place at Little Cedars, please get in touch:

Little Cedars may also suit families living or working nearby in Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Child Safety Precautions

As with all outdoor play, it’s important to ensure children are safe and kept out of harm’s way. For example, children, particularly the young, should be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times. Also, ensure they understand that they should avoid touching anything potentially poisonous like fungi and berries. Even things like conkers are poisonous if eaten. Acorns contain toxic tannins as well as being a potential choking hazard. Parents/adults should therefore ensure that children know not to put anything anywhere near their mouths when foraging or playing outdoors. And, of course, avoid touching the spiky cases of sweet chestnuts because they’re needle-sharp! These are just examples and supervising adults will need to do their own risk assessments before and during any outdoor activity involving children. More safety tips for outdoor play are available here.

Spooky Kids' Activities for Halloween: Fun Ideas for 31st October

Children love getting into the spirit of Halloween!The arrival of October means it’s time for children and families to prepare for Halloween! Arriving on the 31st of the month, it’s a firm favourite for any childhood and gives children the opportunity for uniquely spooky fun, games and dressing up. Indeed, Halloween offers a wonderful variety of activities for children to take part in and that’s exactly what we look at in today’s article. Stand by, then, to prepare the household for some spookylicious Halloween activity ideas for kids!

Dress up in Spooky Halloween Costumes

A white bedsheet with two eye-holes suitably positioned makes for a wonderfully-effective ghost costume.Children adore dressing up for Halloween. The spooky nature of Halloween costumes really appeals to them, especially if they get together with friends and compare outfits on Halloween evening.

A huge range of wonderful Halloween fancy dress costumes is available to purchase. However, your child can have even more fun and potentially save costs by making their own Halloween outfit. It’s both great fun and a wonderfully creative activity. Here are a few ideas but bear in mind, of course, that any fabric cutting should be done by adults or, for older children, under their supervision:

  • A white bedsheet with two eye holes suitably positioned makes for a wonderfully effective ghost costume. Kids will love wearing these and leaping out at unsuspecting family and friends!
  • Black sheets or clothes are easy to make into witch or wizard outfits. Add pointy hats made from card.Similarly, black sheets are easy to make into witch or wizard outfits. Alternatively, use black clothing and, if it’s no longer being worn for anything else, it can even be given ragged edges for extra effect. Add pointy black hats made of cardboard or paper and the costumes are complete.
  • Clothing that’s no longer needed is a great canvas on which children or parents can paint the bones of the body, so children wearing the costume look like spooky walking skeletons. Some black and white face painting will complete the effect by creating a ‘skull’ face!
  • Home-made spider costumes are also feasible using black clothing, stuffed jumpers (for the body) and extra spider legs made from black tights stuffed and attached to the child’s belt.
  • Similarly, children can dress up as pumpkins simply by using an orange top or t-shirt, suitably decorated in paint so children look like walking, talking Jack-O’-Lanterns!

As you can see, these home-made Halloween outfits are fairly simple to accomplish, without the need for much, if any, expense. This activity is also one that really gets children’s creative juices and a sense of fun flowing.

Display Some Spooky Halloween Decorations

Set the atmosphere with spooky decorations!If you want your child’s Halloween experience to be truly spooktacular, encourage them to decorate the house – whether inside or out – with all manner of ghoulish decorations and ghostly paraphernalia. Home-made spider webs can, of course, be made using string, thread or stretched-out cotton wool. However, such decorations can usually be purchased inexpensively from supermarkets, which typically have cheap Halloween decorations around October each year. Spiders can be home-made by children from wool or black pipe cleaners, or similarly bought commercially along with shop-bought decorations depicting skeletons, ghosts, bats and suchlike. You can also buy LED lights, including strings of lights, that look like Halloween pumpkin lanterns. Such lighting is great for extra atmosphere!

Make Spooky Food & Drink

Children love cooking and decorating biscuits and cookies for Halloween!If your household is carving pumpkins for Halloween this year, perhaps save some of the flesh and use it to make a spookylicious pumpkin soup for the family to eat come Halloween evening time. There are plenty of excellent recipes online and children can help make the soup, under supervision for safety purposes.

Children of all ages also generally love cooking biscuits and cookies, so why not encourage them to make some that are Halloween-themed? Perhaps try ghost-shaped and bat-shaped cookies with decorating in black and white icing (see example).

Drinks can also be themed by children by painting Halloween imagery onto paper cups – it’s another simple Halloween children’s activity that’s both fun and creative.

Supermarkets are also sure to sell Halloween-themed party food, drink and accessories as Halloween approaches, so there’s usually lots for children and families to choose from.

Host a Spooktacular Halloween Party!

Combine the Halloween fancy dress costumes, spooky decorations, and themed food and drink by hosting a Halloween party!Children can combine Halloween fancy dress costumes, spooky decorations, and themed food and drink by hosting a Halloween party for friends and family. Such preparations are sure to set up a wonderfully spooky atmosphere in which children will have immense fun comparing outfits and getting into the spirit of the event. Add Halloween-themed games, play ghostly music and take turns to read ghost stories and the evening is sure to be one to remember! It’s also a great conduit through which children can socialise and perhaps grow stronger bonds.

Trick-or-Treating Activity

Children will absolutely love tricking-or-treating and it's sure to result in much giggling and laughter!Take the Halloween activities to an extra level by arranging a group trick-or-treat session, under adult supervision, for children in your street. They will absolutely love this activity and it’s sure to result in much giggling and laughter if it goes as planned. However, be sure to check with each neighbour before the day. In that way, they can opt out if they prefer not to get involved. For those that do take part, most neighbours usually go the ‘treat’ route but be ready for the possibility that a few may opt for the ‘trick’ option, in which scenario the children under your supervision will need to be ready with a fun but harmless trick. Some forethought and creative thinking may be needed there, with care being taken not to allow children to overstep the mark.

Also, be sure to buy suitable sweets or gifts for children who may trick-or-treat and knock on your door (age-appropriate, of course).

Visit a Local Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patches make great family photo opportunities around Halloween time.Pumpkin patches are often wonderful places for children and families to spend a few hours in the run-up to Halloween. In such places, your little one can explore amongst hundreds of pumpkins and other gourds of different sizes and shapes. And, if they find one they take a liking to, they can usually be purchased to take home, or might even be included in the price if the venue has an entrance fee. Pumpkin patches often also have other Halloween-themed activities at this time of year, whether it’s displays where you can take memorable snaps of your child amongst the pumpkins, wheelbarrow rides for children across a pumpkin field, pop-up refreshments with Halloween-themed food and drink or pumpkin-decorating workshops, they’re always great fun for children. They really help to make Halloween the special time of year that it is.

Pumpkin patches are usually found on farms and agricultural locations, so you may not have one locally if you live in a big city like London. However, some may be a short train, bus or car ride away. Either way, try Googling ‘pumpkin patches near me‘ and see if any of the results throw up a pumpkin patch that’s within reach.

Decorate Pumpkins & Make Jack-O’-Lanterns

Family preparing a Jack-O'-Lantern pumpkin.Once you’ve sourced a suitable pumpkin for your child, it’s time for the really fun part — pumpkin carving and decorating! While the carving part may not be suited to children of a young age (knives are super-dangerous), they can usually help, under supervision, with scooping out the flesh and then, the most fun part of all, decorating. Pumpkins can depict faces, spiders, owls or any spooky imagery you or your little one can imagine. And, even if they may be too young to carve the holes,Examples of carved pumpkin Jack-O'-Lanterns. they can still decorate using paint or markers, or simply enjoy Mum or Dad getting creative on their behalves.

Once ready, the spooky pumpkin(s) are ready to display indoors or out once it gets dark. Adults should supervise if lighting the pumpkins with real-flame tea lights, or better still look out for flickering LED fake candles, which will be the safest option. Children will love looking at these pumpkin lanterns (also known as Jack-O’-Lanterns) glowing in the dark and they will really set the Halloween atmosphere.

The smallest of children can decorate oranges or yellow/orange bell peppers, so there's no need for dangerous carving.TIP: Kids don’t even really need a pumpkin; the smallest of children can decorate oranges or yellow/orange bell peppers! They look really cute and an added bonus is that they avoid the need for any carving.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham, London SW16

We hope today’s article gives children and families some good ideas for Halloween this year. These days, it’s simply a wonderful opportunity for children to have fun, socialise and get creative with friends and family. It’s also a unique milestone in the calendar each year and something children can really look forward to.

A Nursery Place for Your Baby, Toddler or Preschooler in Streatham

Little Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderTrust your weekday childcare to a ‘Good Provider’ (it’s official!). We are a high-quality nursery and preschool located in Streatham, London SW16, offering a first-class early years education and childcare service to babies, toddlers and preschoolers under five. We may also suit if you’re located in Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood. What’s more, we support free childcare through various Government schemes, making childcare more affordable for eligible families.

Request a place for your child, a tour, or more information below — we look forward to hearing from you:

Sowing & Growing Wildflowers - A Nature-Based Activity for Kids

This nature-based activity benefits the children taking part, the natural environment, pollinators like bees and butterflies and even humanity as a whole.In today’s guide, we outline a simple but powerful nature-based activity that will be both fun and educational for children and under-fives. This one is all about how to sow wildflower seeds. Once growing, these will bring beauty and wonder to any setting. The activity will also complement our recent Butterfly-Spotting Activity for Kids as it should result in exactly that kind of little visitor to the child’s world — along with bees, insects, hoverflies, damselflies, and possibly even dragonflies and birds. Sowing and growing wildflowers really is very simple and the results will be beneficial in a multitude of ways. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to approach this excellent children’s activity and learn why it’s so worthwhile.

The Benefits of This Nature-Based Activity

This type of nature-based activity benefits everyone and everything, including the children taking part, the natural environment, little pollinators like bees and butterflies and even humanity as a whole. Let’s take a quick look at some of those benefits:

  • Growing wildflowers is a fun and educational activity for children, including under-fives.Children benefit very much from spending time in nature, as we outlined in our article entitled “Nature & Its Incredible Importance to Children” last year. There is an incredible array of benefits associated with spending time in nature, so click the bold blue link above to learn more if you haven’t already read that enlightening article.
  • The activity will not only be fun for children, but it will also be educational. It’ll teach them about the circle of life, reproduction, care of the environment, care of and empathy for living things and also they will learn new skills and interests. It could even lead to a life-long hobby or career!
  • The wildflowers themselves will, of course, benefit as it gives them a home and somewhere to propagate/reproduce.
  • Pollinators like bees, butterflies and other insects will enjoy feeding on the pollen found in the wildflowers once they bloom. Pollen is absolutely essential to their survival.
  • The pollinators are thus called because they pollinate both the wildflowers and other plants and crops. By pollinating them, it allows them to reproduce new generations. That’s essential to the natural world and all the creatures in it. Crop reproduction is also, of course, essential to our own survival.

Choosing Seeds With Your Child

Children can help with the wildflower selection process and may enjoy doing so. There are several factors that may help children decide which to grow and parents can help steer children if needed. Factors may include:

  • You can choose which wildflowers your child will grow using various factors like colour, style and whether the wildflowers will attract pollinators.Colour(s) — Children can help decide whether to grow wildflowers of just one colour, a limited 2- or 3-colour palette or perhaps multiple colours. If parents have an existing colour theme in their garden or plant area, they may wish to point children in a particular direction, so as to keep that colour theme going.
  • Type and style — Children may also take a shine to a particular type of wildflower. A good example might be poppies, which mostly have the same style of flower but are available in different sizes and colours.
  • Compatibility with wildlife — Choosing wildflowers is a great opportunity to teach children that their choices have real-world effects on nature and the environment. For example, nudging children towards wildflowers that are pollinator-friendly, i.e. attracting creatures like bees and butterflies, is a great lesson to give them. It also adds an extra facet to the entire activity as they will later benefit from being able to see such adorable visitors coming to their wildflowers.
  • Cost and availability — Cost and availability are additional factors as some wildflower seeds may be harder or more expensive to obtain than others. Again, parents/caregivers can explain such factors to children and it will teach them further valuable lessons.

Where to Get Seeds for Your Child

There are several places to obtain wildflower seeds and they need not cost much, if any, money:

  • There are several places to obtain wildflower seeds and they need not cost much, if any, money.Free wildflower seeds can be harvested from existing wildflowers — either from your own wildflowers if you have them, or from those found in the wild along hedgerows and similar (N.B. only do so in moderation and for personal use). Timing will, of course, be critical because seeds will only be available at certain times of the year, i.e. when the wildflowers have “gone to seed” at the end of their flowering period.
  • Seed swap schemes may also be available in your neighbourhood or, if not, perhaps a scheme could be started amongst friends or with other parents at your child’s nursery or school.
  • Free or almost free seeds can sometimes be available from charities, organisations and even commercially if you get the timing right. Try a Google search for “free wildflower seeds UK” and you may be pleasantly surprised by the number of sources that will happily send you free wildflower seeds for your child to grow. Others, like Just Bee Honey, will send you free wildflower seeds if you cover the cost of postage (some simple terms apply).
  • Commercially-sold wildflower seeds are also, of course, readily available to buy from local outlets, supermarkets and online. If searching online, perhaps try a search query like “wildflower seeds for children” or “bee-friendly wildflower seeds for kids” or similar. You will be met with lots of options to choose from, so filtering down to pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds and those that are suitable for children to grow will help to narrow down the huge range of choices.

Safety First

This type of activity should be supervised by a responsible adult, paying particular care regarding hazards (e.g. ponds), potentially poisonous plants/seeds, and hygiene (e.g. contaminated soil, germs, etc.). Adults can also consider teaching children about the identification and mitigation of such dangers during the activity. They will thereby also learn about self-care, personal hygiene, risk assessment and suchlike. Children and adults should wash hands etc. with soap and water following completion of this activity. Learn more safety tips for children here.

The Activity — Instructions

Once you have obtained seeds, the rest is very easy and children will enjoy and learn from taking part in the various activities involved.

Teach the Importance of Timing

Timing is an important factor because you/your child will need to plan and know when the wildflower plants and flowers will actually appear. Apart from over winter, wildflower seeds will typically take between 60 and 80 days to grow and begin blooming. Start sowing no earlier in the year than March. Mid-to-late March is good as spring will arrive around the third week of that month here in the UK and it will therefore be nicer for children outdoors. Your child can sow seeds as late in the year as mid-October or even early November if there is no snow or frost, but they should be aware that planting the seeds that late in the year mean that they will not grow until spring of the following year.

If they want to attract the most butterflies to their flowers, then a good time to sow seeds is mid-May as peak butterfly time is 60 to 80 days later.

Choosing a Location to Sow the Seeds

Wildflower seeds can be sown in flower beds, pots, containers, window boxes or indeed on lawns if a ‘wildflower meadow’ type scene is preferred. The following guidelines for sowing should help but also read any specific instructions on seed packets if these have been purchased.

Simple Option:

Sowing a Wildflower ‘Meadow’

The most simple way to sow and locate seeds is to create a wildflower meadow.Sowing seeds on existing lawns that you/your child want as a wildflower meadow is simply a case of scattering seeds on the lawn, ideally spaced out in such a way that they don’t have to compete with each other once they start growing. Then ensure that the area of lawn is kept moist by either rain or, if there is no rain, regular sprinkling from a watering can fitted with a sprinkling head (a.k.a. ‘rose head’). Children may need to remind adults not to cut the lawn thereafter, of course!

Advanced Option:

Sowing in Soil – Just 6 Easy Steps

For sowing in locations where there is soil rather than grass, a little preparation will be required.

  1. Identify your intended spot, whether that’s an area in an existing garden flower bed, flower pots or containers, window boxes or grow bags on a patio or balcony. A fairly sunny spot is recommended.
  2. Ensure the soil is free of weeds. Children can help with weeding, if necessary, so long as they have guidance from an adult and are mindful of safety and hygiene considerations.
  3. The top inch or two of soil should be loosened, for example, using a rake if it’s a flower bed.
  4. Help your child to sprinkle seeds evenly so they’re not spaced too close to one another, otherwise, they’ll have to compete once they start growing. Sprinkling carefully from a height will help, e.g. by raising an arm, and/or simply sprinkling one pinch at a time with care.
  5. Once scattered, it’s best to ensure the seeds are embedded in the soil otherwise they could be blown away or even eaten by wildlife. Therefore the soil can be patted down so it’s no longer loose. This will help keep seeds in place.
  6. Lastly, your child will need to be reminded to keep the area moist through regular watering, while taking care not to over-water.

Then wait for nature’s magic to happen!

Wait and Watch Out for the Wildflowers

Children will love seeing bees, butterflies, and other insects visiting their home-grown wildflowers.Children will love it once the wildflowers begin to grow and later bloom. They’ll also love seeing bees, butterflies, and other insects visiting and the results of the activity may indeed give them a great sense of accomplishment. The whole process and the results are quite magical when you think about it.

Don’t Forget — the Final Step for Children

Once the wildflowers are past the prime of their flowering stage, remind children to look out for the appearance of seeds and seed pods. You can either teach your child to leave these to self-seed for next year or help them to safely harvest the seeds. These can be stored somewhere safe and dry, ready to repeat the entire process next time.

All in all, this nature-based activity is a perfect way to demonstrate the circle of life to children.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

A High-Quality Childcare Service in Streatham, Southwest London

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderWe hope you have found this nature-based activity useful and of interest to your little one. Little Cedars Nursery represents an outstanding choice for weekday childcare, offering a high-quality early years education for babies and children under five. We are a nursery, as well as a preschool, in Streatham, in Southwest London, so may suit families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. We nurture all children under our care so that, by the time they leave us, they have become the very best versions of themselves and are as ‘school-ready’ as they can possibly be. We also support all Government-funded free childcare schemes.

Why not arrange a guided visit with your child, so you can see the setting in action? Ask us questions, see how your little one fits in and, if you like the nursery/preschool, we’d love you to apply for a place for your child. Please select a button to get started:

While Little Cedars Nursery is based in Streatham, it’s also conveniently close for families in and around Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Free Butterfly-Spotting Activity Poster for Children.

See high resolution detail when you zoom in on the butterfly images in the poster. Following on from our bird-spotting article and poster published in March, we now bring you a matching butterfly-spotting activity. Butterflies are both beautiful and adorable. As such, children will love them and will enjoy spending time around them during this activity. Like before, it comes with another free poster for children to print out, display, learn from and enjoy. Butterfly spotting is another wonderful way to get children outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and benefit from everything that nature has to offer.

This time around, we showcase 36 beautiful butterflies that can be seen in many parts of Britain. Indeed, that was one of the main criteria we used when deciding which butterflies to include. Having said that, some of the butterflies will be more common than others and we really don’t expect every child to spot all 36 butterflies that are featured — although it’s possible if they’re patient and adventurous! It’s a lovely challenge for children, though, and spotting such beautiful creatures may begin to instil in them an appreciation of nature and all the amazing creatures within it. That would be a good thing because nature is more under threat than ever and children of today will eventually become custodians of Britain’s phenomenal natural environment. Nature will also benefit children in many profound ways, including spiritually and even academically.

Free Butterfly Poster

Identify 36 different British Butterflies using our free A3 reference poster — it's educational and fun for children.

Download Instructions

View the poster in the greatest detail onscreen by clicking the big image above or, with some web browsers, you may need to first download it by right-clicking and then saving. Then view it in Acrobat Reader, which is available free. From Acrobat, print out the poster at full size (A3) or choose ‘reduce to fit’ if your printer is only A4. We recommend using high-quality printing paper and the highest settings for the best results, glorious colour, and the finest detail.

Attract butterflies by putting out fruit wedges — they love the sugary taste of ripe oranges, grapefruits, nectarines, bananas, strawberries and apples!

Shown on the poster are some of the more commonly-known butterflies like Large Whites, Peacocks, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells. However, children may also spot some lesser-known butterflies like Purple Emperors, Orange Tips, Green Hairstreaks and Adonis Blues. Butterflies have wonderful names, don’t they? Parents can help younger children with names, as we don’t expect them to be able to read them all if they’re very young. The young will also need supervising outdoors, of course, for their safety.

Look but Don’t Touch the Butterflies

For the poster, we’ve chosen the butterflies most likely to be found widely in the UK. This is a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.We must also add that children should be encouraged to ‘look but don’t touch’ as butterflies are very delicate creatures. Children should not try to touch or catch them — they are best left in peace as every one of them is a little individual that simply wants to go about his or her day. They’re wonderful to watch, though, and our free poster should help children and adults identify many of the different types. Perhaps see how many different species can be spotted over the course of a year. Take photos too, and compare them with friends! Some butterflies visit gardens, floral window boxes and parks while others may only be found in wilder locations in the countryside. This activity is therefore a great excuse for families to get out and explore The Great Outdoors! Recording the date and location of each butterfly spotted will also help families work out where the best butterfly-spotting locations are for next time.

Fun fact: Butterflies have taste buds on their feet!

Butterflies are In Decline

Sadly, many butterflies are in decline, with studies reporting a 40% drop in populations in recent decades. That’s really sad, so it’s imperative that they and their precious habitats are not unduly disturbed. Therefore, please do take care. If anything, habitats need to be restored and greater protections put in place. Raising awareness of the plight of butterflies and other creatures in decline, like bees and birds, is therefore something that’s also important for children to be aware of. After all, as they grow older, they will eventually take over stewardship of the natural world and can help to steer decision-makers to improve things if they’ve developed a deep-seated interest in nature by the time they become adults.

The Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly CountWith that in mind, why not take this activity a step further and get involved in the UK’s annual Big Butterfly Count? For 2023, it takes place between Friday the 14th of July and Sunday the 6th of August, which is when most butterflies are at their adult stage. All it takes is 15 minutes and children will love being little ‘citizen scientists’! The activity can be done in gardens, parks, school grounds or out in the countryside. Taking part will give children a real opportunity to help with butterfly conservation.

Learn more about the Big Butterfly Count here. The page includes links to a free smartphone app that will help you/your children during the butterfly counting activity.

A Fun, Educational & Worthwhile Activity for Children

We hope families and children enjoy their butterfly-spotting activities and use our free poster to learn the names. In this way, they can get to recognise some of the different types of butterflies when they spot them when out and about. It’s a fascinating activity and butterflies are both amazingly beautiful and incredibly endearing. As pollinators, they’re extremely important too and represent a barometer for the health of the natural world. Learning more about butterflies and nature is therefore incredibly important and beneficial for children — and ultimately for the planet. So, we encourage children to dive into this activity at the earliest opportunity. Have fun, be gentle and stay safe.

Little Cedars Nursery & Preschool, Streatham, London SW16

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a high-quality nursery/preschool in Streatham SW16, providing childcare excellence for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under 5 years of age. If you’re looking for a good nursery or preschool for your child, arrange a free tour with us and we’ll show you and your little one around. You’ll be able to get answers to any questions you have and also you’ll see how well your child fits in. Ours is a lovely, welcoming, home-from-home environment where the very best is brought out of every child under our care, so your child will be in good hands. As well as looking after them while parents work or recharge, every child receives an excellent early years education and is prepared for a great start once they leave us to start school. Please choose a button to contact us today, arrange a guided tour or to apply for a place for your child; we’ll be happy to help.

Little Cedars Nursery: high-quality childcare services in Streatham, near Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood

Little Cedars is located in Streatham, just a stone’s throw from Tooting Common and the A214. As well as suiting those families in Streatham and Tooting, we may also be conveniently located for those looking for a nursery or preschool near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood.

Free Bird-Spotting Activity Poster for Children

The high resolution bird images show great detail if you zoom in.Spring arrives in the UK on 20th March, according to the meteorological calendar. As well as plants beginning to shoot, daffodils flowering and trees starting to bud, an increased number of wild birds can now be seen too. While a few overwintered here in England, many will have spent winter abroad, where it’s warmer, and only begin to return to the UK once spring begins. So, come springtime, more and more varieties of birds can be spotted — and that’s what today’s post is all about. To encourage children to appreciate, enjoy and learn from nature, we have put together a bird identifier poster that children and parents can download for free, print out to A3 or A4, or view on screen in beautiful high resolution. It highlights 37 species of bird that are popular in England, which children can try to spot as the days and weeks go by. Children can perhaps tick off each type of bird that they spot. With a little help from parents for the youngest children, this activity is a great way to teach them the different bird names and help them to recognise the different types as time goes by. It’s also a great children’s pastime that will encourage them to really appreciate nature. The A3 poster is free to download and share — simply click the preview image below to save or view it in Acrobat PDF format. Enlarge on screen for extra detail or simply print out as large as you can. Children will love this activity and feel a real sense of achievement as they learn more about these wonderful, feathered visitors.

Free A3 Bird Identifier Poster Download:

British Birds Identifier — Free A3 reference poster of the most popular birds — for Children.

Nature is So Good for Children

One of life’s great pleasures is the natural world and nature is something that’s beneficial to children in many profound ways (click the bold link to learn more). Children, including those under five, should be encouraged to spend time around nature, outdoors in the fresh air, whether that’s in the countryside, a park or in a garden (all under adult supervision, of course). Our bird-spotting poster is a great way to encourage them to get outside and take a close look at their natural surroundings. And, of course, putting out home-made bird feeders somewhere suitable will help. We’ll cover that topic in a future post as it’s also great fun for little ones.

37 Types of Bird are Featured

We’ve selected our favourite birds from hundreds of species that visit the UK. This is a Long-tailed Tit.We’ve selected our favourite birds from the hundreds of species that visit the UK each year. There was no way to fit in all of them, so we’ve picked out the most common visitors to our own gardens and nearby parks. In addition, we also added a few extra birds that would be great for children to keep a lookout for, despite a few being shy. Owls are around, for instance, coming out mostly at night. However, barn owls can be seen before dark if you know where to look (the sound of owls hooting or screeching is a dead giveaway). Buzzards, Red Kites and Sparrowhawks are more likely to be seen in the sky overhead, so we’ve shown images where their distinctive silhouettes can give their species away to the onlooker.

We have not yet included waterfowl, ducks, geese, herons, gulls and suchlike in this first bird collection, but may follow up with a second poster if this one proves popular. Let us know what you think!

More Ways for Children to Identify Birds

With a little bit of help from an adult, there are additional, fun ways for children to identify birds in the UK too, all courtesy of the wonderful R.S.P.B. Take a look at some of their bird identification tools available online:

Looking for Good Nurseries or Preschools in Streatham?

Little Cedars is a wonderful nursery & preschool in Streatham, offering high-quality childcare services near Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury & Colliers Wood

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderAre you looking for the best nursery or preschool in Streatham? We’d love to show you and your child around Little Cedars Nursery if so. We provide high-quality weekday childcare and a rich early years education for babies and under-fives. Our nursery/preschool is also convenient if your family is near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood.

To apply for a nursery place, book a guided tour or ask a question, please get in touch using an option below:

10 Benefits of Quiet Time for Toddlers & Children Under 5

Quiet time brings a whole range of benefits to children under five.In today’s post, we look at the importance and benefits of periods of ‘quiet time’ for toddlers and children under five. Toddlers are busy little people, often rushing around, going from one toy or activity to the next. They’re at a stage where they realise the world is an exciting place and often want to experience it all at once. However, when they are so ‘on-the-go’, playing and learning from everything and everyone around them, their brains and body have a lot to take in and process. It can be extremely tiring! So, this is where some much-needed quiet time often comes in, bringing with it a whole range of benefits. Studies also back this up.

10 Benefits of Quiet Time for Little Ones

1. An Opportunity to Relax

Quiet time will give under-fives a break, to allow them to breathe and unwind.With so much going on around them, children’s young senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell are experiencing a full-on assault. Their minds are also being challenged with learning new skills. This can all be very tiring for our youngsters, so a period of quiet time will give them a break, to allow them to breathe and unwind.

2. The Space to Reflect

Quiet time gives children the space to reflect on the day, task or activity that they’ve been a part of. A period of quietness and relaxation will give toddlers time to think about what they have done or encountered. For example, they may reflect on the animals they have seen at the zoo or the feeling of excitement playing on the swings at the park. A little period of reflection may indeed allow their minds to ‘join the dots’ and make conclusions and even learn from what they’ve been doing.

3. Some Time to Re-charge

Slowing down and relaxing for a while will help to re-charge children’s batteries. Perhaps some soothing music can be playing in the background, or relaxing videos of underwater sea life can be played on a screen. These are great opportunities for the children to sit, slow down, be mindful and re-charge quietly.

4. An Opportunity for a Refreshing Nap

Quiet time gives children a chance to re-charge their batteries and even take a nap. Sleep is hugely beneficial to children in their early years.After prolonged activity or concentration on the part of the child, a well-earned nap may well be on the agenda. As well as giving the toddler a chance to re-charge their batteries, sleep is hugely beneficial to children in their early years. For example, after sufficient sleep, children will be refreshed with improved mental and physical energy, responsive memory, better cognitive performance, increased attention spans and so much more. Their growth hormone is also produced when they sleep, so it is incredibly important in their early years. Click the bold link in this paragraph for more details. By the way, an added bonus, of course, is that a sleep session may also the parent/caregiver a chance to relax a bit and enjoy a few minutes of calm!

5. Renewed Energy to Refocus

After a period of quiet relaxation, a solo task like looking at a book should now be easier for children. They have recharged their metaphorical batteries and are now likely to have renewed mental and physical energy to really focus on a new task.

6. Time for Some Creativity

Quiet time provides an opportunity for children to develop their own, natural creativity.Quiet time provides an opportunity for children to develop their own, natural creativity. During quiet time, they have the opportunity to make up a game or activity, without intervention from others. This time is totally unstructured too, so children can be as free as they like to explore and adapt the game or activity. They can create their own little environment and immerse themselves in their own new world. Their imaginations are set free and opportunities to be creative will come naturally.

7. A Boost to Independence

A period of quietness and relaxation will give toddlers time to think about what they have done or will be doing.As we can see above, during quiet time, children can engage in activities that they have chosen for themselves. This can greatly help them to become more independent and self-reliant. That’s a great skill for them to develop as they approach the time to transition to school. There, they will need to rely much more on such skills.

8. Precious ‘Alone Time’

Research has shown that toddlers and children that regularly have a period of ‘alone time’ often have a more positive outlook on life. During this time without distraction they relax and can then be more in control of their feelings, emotions and any anxieties. As they get older they also learn to use this time to become more content with their own company, with space to gather their own thoughts.

Of course, not all toddlers will want to be on their own. For those that don’t naturally take to it, it may help if perhaps you are sitting in the same room as them. Maybe read quietly to yourself or complete a task of your own, but quietly so the little one isn’t distracted by you. This will help them transition to some alone time.

9. Improving Sleep

Incorporating quiet time into a daily routine can help children to establish a healthy sleep schedule. It can also help them to relax and fall asleep more easily at night.

10. Improved Overall Wellbeing

When combined, all these benefits will help children to develop a sense of calm and inner peace. Stresses and anxieties will generally reduce as children’s minds and bodies relax and rest. They’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for the rest of their day. Children’s overall mental and emotional wellbeing will benefit in a myriad of ways and it’ll help them to feel great and to accomplish tasks more easily.

How to Start Your Child on Quiet Time

  • Great ‘quiet time’ activities include mindfulness and breathing exercises, observing nature, building and constructing, using play dough and even yoga poses and stretches.When you first introduce quiet time to your child, start slowly and begin with short periods each day. This can be increased as your little one gets used to it.
  • Pre-plan and ensure you have some appropriate ‘quiet time’ toys or equipment already out. In this way, the child can get to them right away and begin interacting with them. This avoids the need for them to rummage through toy boxes or cupboards and keeps things more quiet from the outset.
  • You could try separating a few ‘quiet activity’ toys into separate baskets, so the toddler has a small choice of them all within easy reach. Examples might include a basket of puzzles, reading books or a basket of colouring books and crayons. Over time, remember to rotate the choices, so that your little one doesn’t become bored with the same options each time.
  • Books are a good quiet activity, but also consider audio books. In this scenario, try settling your toddler with their favourite teddy and then they’re all set to listen to a story quietly and comfortably.
  • Soft, relaxing music also makes an ideal backdrop to your toddler playing quietly too. Hand pick the music tracks, though, to ensure a quiet, relaxing mood.
  • Other great ‘quiet time’ activities include mindfulness and breathing exercises, observing nature, building and constructing, using play dough and even, under supervision, yoga poses and stretches.

Quiet time helps the whole family recharge their batteries if only for 20 minutes to begin with. Everyone will benefit, including not only the children but parents and caregivers too — we need a bit of quiet time too!

Streatham Nursery & Pre-School Places

Little Cedars Nursery: a Wonderful Childcare Service in Streatham offering Childcare Places for Children Under 5

Little Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good Provider of childcare services.Little Cedars is a nursery and pre-school in Streatham, which provides the highest quality childcare service for babies, toddlers and children under five. The nursery is a warm, welcoming home from home for under-fives and represents a great choice if you want your child to have the best start in life. We’re not just a childcare service; we provide a full early years education. Our key goal is to help children to absolutely thrive and achieve their best potential in all areas of the curriculum, in their personal development, and in life generally. The setting is conveniently located for those in Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common and Furzedown as well as Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Contact us to register your child for a place, ask a question or book a guided tour. We’ll be happy to help!

Cress ‘Egg Heads’ Activity for Under-5s

Making cress egg people is great fun and educational for little children.A nature-based, food-related activity that young children can enjoy indoors at any time of the year is cress growing. Today we outline how it can be made even more fun and creative for kids by growing the cress as little ‘egg heads’. These come complete with comical faces and amusing hairstyles made of green cress shoots! Children will absolutely love it when they end up with little egg faces with spouting hairstyles that each have real character. And, they’ll even be able to eat the results!

It’s an Educational Activity

This activity is suitable, under adult supervision, even for the very young. Toddlers and under-fives will learn along the way too. They’ll learn lessons about nature, how seeds grow into plants and how some plants can be turned into tasty food — all with very little effort. It will also teach children about being responsible for another living thing.

Children will love this activity.Cress is Easy to Grow, & Tasty!

The good news is that cress is one of the easiest micro vegetables to grow. It can be grown more or less anywhere and with little maintenance. Historically cress was used in herbal medicine, but nowadays is used in meals for its distinctive flavour. Probably the most common use of cress is in egg and cress sandwiches. However, it’s also great in salads and makes an excellent garnish. Cress soup and cress pesto is delicious and very flavoursome!

Cress is Incredibly Nutritious!

Cress is also very nutritious. It contains potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and more. All these vitamins mean that cress has excellent health benefits and this beneficial micro vegetable can be easily fitted into children’s diets. Making it part of a fun activity will make it more likely that children will then eat it. There are no downsides to this excellent children’s activity!

The finished cress will be tasty and extremely nutritious. Great for growing children!Growing Cress for Small Kids and Big Kids

Cress seeds can be bought inexpensively in most garden centres and often in supermarkets. Generally, they are very cheap to buy too. You do not need to use the whole packet in one go either, so children can use only as much as they need for the activity and keep the rest in the packet for another time.

Children can grow the cress in any container they like. For this activity today, we chose to grow our cress in empty egg shell cases to create little ‘cress people’.

How to Grow Cress ‘Egg Heads’

  1. First, the parent should boil some eggs. Maybe do this when egg is on the menu for that day, so the cooked egg won’t be wasted.
  2. Then, once cooled, the tops of the eggs need to be carefully broken off. Carefully scoop out all the egg, taking care not to cause cracks anywhere, until you are left with an empty shell. Parents may need to help little children with this part.
  3. Egg shells held in place by an egg carton, with seeds sown.Next, find a vessel to prop the egg shells up in. This could simply be an egg cup or even an egg carton, like that shown in the photo. Then, decide what to fill the empty egg shells with. Children can choose either damp kitchen roll or damp compost/soil to grow the cress seeds on. Carefully fill the empty egg shells almost to the top with the chosen filler. (We tried both and each grew well. Interestingly, the cress seeds grown on kitchen roll tissue paper grew a little faster and therefore taller than those grown on compost. They therefore looked a bit more ‘wild’ — it was quite a surprise and had an amusing impact on the egg-people’s hairstyles).
  4. The seeds will eventually grow into green cress 'hair', giving the egg people real character!Make sure you or your child add some funny faces on the shells — maybe even give them names. The faces can be drawn simply using a marker pen (Sharpies are ideal) or you can get even more creative using coloured paints. Children may find drawing the faces easier if they are shown some visual reference and perhaps they can practise first on paper. If too young to draw suitable faces, a parent or creative older sibling may be able to help.
  5. Next, your child can sprinkle some seeds onto either the damp kitchen roll or damp earth (whichever has been used to fill the egg shells).
  6. Place onto the windowsill and ensure that your little one gives them a small amount of water each day to stop them drying out.
  7. Once the cress 'hair' is long enough, it can be harvested for use in salads and garnishes.Within a week or so, the little egg heads should begin to sprout green ‘hair’ shoots!
  8. A few days later, you should have some funny faces with lots of sprouting hair, ready to be cut for use in sandwiches, salads, garnishes or soups. And, if you have cut the ‘hair’ rather than pulling it out by the roots, it should re-grow and give you a second head of green hair and thereby an additional crop of tasty cress to eat! We chose to make an egg and cress sandwich but you can choose your own use of the cress.

All in all, it’s a fun, educational, creative and nutritious activity that children will really love! It’s also a great opportunity for parents or adult carers to interact with little ones and to guide them and teach them insights and lessons along the way. Such interaction is priceless for under-fives.

Outstanding Childcare for Your Child at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Give your baby, toddler or preschooler the very best start in life at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is an excellent nursery and pre-school in Streatham that provides babies, toddlers and under-5s with outstanding childcare and a first class early years education. The nursery is near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common and Furzedown and also close to Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood. We’d love to show you and your little one around, so why not come for a free guided tour where you’ll be able to ask any questions and see how well your child fits in.  Please select a button below to get in contact, arrange a tour or to apply for a place.