Tree observation


The excellent book Discovering nature with young children from The Young Scientist Series has finally made us do something we’ve been wanting to do for years: observe and document a tree in Autumn as the color of its leaves change until it has lost them all.

We have made it as a science project making it quite interesting for Gabriel: he was a scientist! We have chosen a tree which is just behind our house, because we wanted to have an easy access to it and we also chose one we knew would not lose its leaves too quickly so that we could follow its evolution, because it was protected by the surrounding buildings and trees. Having chosen it, we regularly went to observe the tree which soon became “Our tree”. Here’s the material we used for this activity

  • Markers
  • White card paper
  • Clipboard
  • Instant camera

Before leaving the house we would choose which markers we should take, having in mind the colors Gabriel thought the leaves would have. In order to document the changes, he made a drawing of the tree, focusing mostly on the leaves colors. Besides drawing it, we also took pictures with our digital camera and Gabriel also took pictures with an instant camera. The pictures were of very poor quality, but we though it was interesting for him to have another support besides the drawing.

Once at home Gabriel wrote the date and taped both the picture and the drawing on a wall, one day after the other in order to see the evolution. We have agreed to keep tracking of the tree’s changes when Spring comes and the leaves with it!


Shell sorting game

Shell Sorting Game

This year we decided to have easy going holidays together with the family in Portugal and in France. We met the French side of the family in Bretagne and were lucky to enjoy for one week the beautiful landscape of the Morbihan Golf.

We have gathered a lot of shells of different sorts and decided to make a sorting game out of them. We have selected 5 different sizes of the same sort of shell or conchs. The goal of the game is to sort them concerning their type but also their size, from the biggest to the smallest one. Gabriel has enjoyed the game and will be able to play it as many times as he wants because we have brought it home as souvenir! We made an origami Japanese box and cut a shell shape that we glued on its top. You can find the instructions to make one here. Use an A4 sheet and start by cutting a square. To make the bottom part of the box cut around 0,7 cm of each side of the square, to make it a bit smaller than the top part.

We love the idea of a souvenir-game and we try to make something similar in our future destinations!

Emotion dice


Emotions have been a topic which interests Gabriel a lot lately: “Mum, are you still mad with daddy?”,  “I don’t want to talk you with, I’m sad”, “I will sit there to calm down…”, “Mum, are you sad? Just a little because you’re not crying”… We decided to make him two emotion dice to help him express his feelings. A first one represents the 6 primary emotions which are sadness, happiness, disgust, surprise, anger and fear. The second represents 6 animals: cat, dog, pig, monkey, elephant and rabbit. The goal of the game is to enact the drawn animal feeling the drawn emotion: “What does a sad monkey do?”, “What does a disgusted elephant sound like?”, “Can you make a surprised rabbit?… Two simple wooden dice and a marker have already gave us great laughing moments!


Counting truck mat

Yesterday we went to the birthday party of Leo, a 3 year old friend of Gabriel. We offered him a counting mat: the goal is to load the truck with the number of objects shown on the door of the truck. We used a clipart we found on the internet (here) which we personalised with his picture. We put a thin metal plate beneath the truck’s door and laminated the mat using a nice paper on the back of it. We bought magnetic numbers to be attached to the truck’s door (where we put the metal plate) and added different objects he can use to count: beans, buttons and bottle caps. Of course the possibilities are infinite, all different objects from everyday’s life like Lego bricks can be used. We hope Leo will learn how to count in a fun way! Gabriel has already asked us to make him a counting mat that we’ll share with you soon.

How come I don’t smell the soap?…

Gabriel has been having some difficulty to wash his hands. So after he came back from washing his hands we found ourselves systematically smelling them to check if he had actually used soap to wash them. To help him remember the different steps of washing hands we took pictures of him doing it: 1st we get the hands wet, 2nd we rub them with soap, 3rd we rub the hands until they foam, 4th we wash the foam out, 5th we dry them… We printed a card with the different steps which we then laminated and put up above the sink. Gabriel really likes it because he knows it’s his hands and has been washing his hands much better! Last see for how long…