It's healthy eating week
Healthy Eating is SO important for our little people here!
We're big advocates of healthy eating at Mucky Pups and offer a healthy snack for your children twice a day. A good snack given at appropriate times throughout the day alongside a healthy lunch can improve behaviour, concentration and learning while your child is with us.
We have breakfast every day at 9.30am; we have porridge and/or cereals with a choice of fruits and again at 3.00 with a carbohydrate and a either, cheese, humous, ham Have a look at our snack menu here
We also enjoy our lunch altogether with our friends. We make it a very social affair where we sit round the table, encourage everyone to try the different fruits and vegetables
A healthy lunch makes all the difference too.
We don't provide a lunch for you all here so we ask that you provide a lunch for your child each day . It can sometimes be hard to think of ideas for a healthy lunch so why not have a look at:
"The Change for Life " website which has lots of great ideas to try.
Healthy Lunch Boxes
Here are some tips from the Change for Life for you to base your lunches a round;
Keep them fuller for longerBase the lunchbox on foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Choose wholegrain where you can.
Mix your slicesIf your child doesn't like wholegrain, try making a sandwich from one slice of white bread and one slice of wholemeal/brown bread.
Freeze your breadKeep a small selection of bread in the freezer. Make lunchboxes more interesting by using different shapes, like bagels, pittas and wraps, and different types of bread, such as granary, wholemeal and multi-grain.
DIY lunchesWraps and pots of fillings can be more exciting for kids when they get to put them together. Dipping foods are also fun and make a change from a sandwich each day.
Less spreadCut down on the spread used and try to avoid using mayonnaise in sandwiches.
Cut back on fatPick lower fat sandwich fillings, such as lean meats (including chicken or turkey), fish (such as tuna or salmon), reduced-fat cream cheese, and reduced-fat hard cheese.
Ever greenAlways add salad to sandwiches – it all counts towards your child's 5 A DAY.
Always add vegCherry tomatoes, or sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery and peppers all count towards their 5 A DAY. Adding a small pot of reduced-fat hummus or other dips may help with getting kids to eat vegetables.
Cut down on crispsIf your child really likes their crisps try reducing the number of times you include them in their lunchbox and swap for homemade plain popcorn or plain rice cakes instead.
Add bite-size fruitTry chopped apple, peeled satsuma segments, strawberries, blueberries, halved grapes or melon slices to make it easier for them to eat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop it from going brown.
Tinned fruit countsA small pot of tinned fruit in juice – not syrup – is perfect for their lunchbox and is easily stored in the cupboard.
Swap the fruit barsDried fruit such as raisins, sultanas and dried apricots are not only cheaper than processed fruit bars and snacks but can be healthier too. Remember to keep dried fruit to mealtimes as it can be bad for your child's teeth.
Watch the teeth!Dried fruit counts towards your 5 A Day, but can stick to teeth so should only be eaten at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Swap the sweetsSwap cakes, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits for malt loaf, fruited teacakes, fruit breads or fruit (fresh, dried or tinned – in juice not syrup).
Go low fat and lower sugarGo for low-fat and lower sugar yoghurt or fromage frais and add your own fruit.
Check your cheeseCheese can be high in fat and salt so choose stronger-tasting ones – and use less of it – or try reduced-fat varieties of cheese.
Get them involvedGet your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. They are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.
Variety is the spice of lunchboxes!Be adventurous and get creative to mix up what
Ways to encourage healthy eating at home
You could take your child food shopping with you and make it into an interactive educational experience.
Ask your child to make a list of all the healthy snacks they would like to eat and then go around the shop and discuss which items on the list are healthy and which are treats, explaining alternatives and better option will help build good food habits.
If your child doesn’t enjoy eating fruits or vegetables, don’t give up. Child’s tastes do change with age, so never assume your child dislikes a particular fruit or vegetable on the first try. Lead by example and follow healthy eating habits as a family together, and your child may eventually follow your lead. Child’s tastes do change with age, so never assume your child dislikes a particular fruit or vegetable on the first try. This is also an important time for your child’s taste bud development, highlighting the need for healthy foods during this time of their life.
EAT WELL guide for the NHS has great tips to help you see if you are getting it right!
Technology is with all of us and in our lives for good.
We use it here all the time; to write this BLOG, update our website, to keep in touch with you through emails, Facebook, Twitter and even your child's learning journey is online. And in an ever changing world where technology rules the world there is always some kind technology for us to use as part of our learning and entertainment but screen time is not always the best thing for our children's little brains and should only be a small part of their daily life.
We don't believe in NO technology but that we should use it for the children in real life situations and when we need it rather than the bulk of their learning time. This will happen soon enough as they move to big school and secondary school.
There are many, many benefits to consoles, televisions and the technology we use to make our lives easier but our children are often only a passive participant in this activity and it sometimes requires no thinking at all on their part and thinking is sooo important to learning and success at school.
Technology here at Mucky Pups is not just screens, computers and ICT but all sorts of toys and objects that teach the children that there is a cause an effect.
We include things like; weighing scales, pull and push toys, magnifying glasses, lift the flap books, buttons that make a noise on books, CD players, pasta machines, torches, lamps and lights that they can turn on and off themselves and make shadows.
We use technology for our cooking and baking; slow cookers, electric mixers, blenders for smoothies and even the oven or microwave. We have a light table, a changing light, an Alexa, Kindles and a laptop for us to use sometimes.
Let's make it our mission to make technology just a part of our children's lives and not all consuming! Especially while we have the chance to do so....it gets so much more of a challenge when they get older!
Children are inherently curious and this is how they learn; watching, thinking, exploring, asking questions and finding out for themselves. We are all born curious.
The world is an endless source of wonder to your child – Where does the sun disappear at night? Why are some oceans blue, and some green? How do bridges bear so much weight? Where are the clouds going? Why is it raining? What happens to the sun at night are a few of the questions I have been asked by the Dalmatians this week when I've been outside with them!
Here at Mucky Pups we believe that the best way to encourage children to learn is to offer real, cosy and homely environments with real objects that inspire that sense of curiosity. This curiosity inspires the children to find out more, explore more, try out their thinking more and question more.
If children are engaged with their environment then the learning comes naturally and from the children. Just think about how much they have with a cardboard box rather than the toy or present inside. A cardboard box can be anything! A pirate ship, a house, a cave, a den, a car, a train even a castle. It can be whatever your imagination wants it to be and can take you wherever your imagination takes you and it is our job as parents, carers and key workers to inspire that curiosity and develop it.
Curiosity is important, it is how we learn and so even if the endless questions can be annoying, they are a great attribute for your child to have and something that should be encouraged...although I know the endless why is hard sometimes, especially when you're tired or in a rush. This curiosity could result in them being the next Steve Jobs or Alan Sugar! Now there's a thought!
Steve Jobs says
“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.”
Curiosity can decline with age and more formal education so now is the time to truly develop that Awe and Wonder and curiosity in them.
To be curious though we all need to feel safe to ask the questions that others may feel is silly and developing those strong, caring and empathetic relationships here is key! You can always voice what you think the questions they want to ask. Each child will have different interest and therefore be curious about different things. It may be nature, weather, dinosaurs, trains, building, books, technology, food or animals.
Here are some ways for you to help develop that curiosity:
1. Encourage your child’s interests.
Find out your child’s interests, and explore them together. Answer their questions and if you don't know...find out together!
2. Answer questions with enthusiasm.
Respond to your child’s questions thoughtfully. If you don’t know the answer, seek out answers together from the Internet, books or experts. Help them feel comfortable with feelings of not knowing something, and also help them realize the excitement of resolving uncertainty.
3. Redirect interests.
If your child enjoys playing with water, instead of saying ‘Don’t’ when she throws a cup of water, give her some water and containers, and allow her to play in an area which can be messed up. Show her acceptable ways of learning.
4. Give children a safe routine.
“Young children thrive on a calm, orderly family life with regular mealtimes and bedtime routines. Since children cannot tell time, the routine is their clock. When children’s lives are stressful, they respond by playing and exploring less.
6. Choose play materials intelligently.
Think open ended real objects that can inspire that curiosity in your children.
Though video game consoles may be a rage, kids need play materials they can manipulate. Blocks, boxes, puzzles, water, and art materials – these can be an immense source of fun and learning for your child.
7. Allow children to collect things.
Encourage children to collect seashells, miniature cars, sports-related items or pebbles.
8. Provide them with tools for exploration.
Give them magnets, bucket, magnifying glass, measuring tape, sand, clay, water and measuring cups for their investigations.
A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of control in handling their lives. As this sense of control and understanding is strengthened, they can tackle larger changes: walking to school by themselves, paying for a purchase at the shop, going on sleepovers. .Of course, many changes can't be avoided. especially at the moment. But that's why we offer children a predictable routine as a foundation in their lives--so they can rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.
Seven Benefits of Using Routines with Your Children
1. Routines help children cooperate
Routines help children cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and everyone knows what to expect.
2. Routines help children learn to take charge of their own activities.
Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their bag etc., without constant reminders. Children love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence. Children who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.
3. Children learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy.
This is an important part of making a happy home and nursery with the demands of a schedule and learning patience and the concept of delayed gratitude. For example; First brush your teeth and then we'll have a cuddle and a bedtime story...
4. Regular routines especially bedtimes help get on a schedule
Regular routines help kids get on a schedule, especially a bedtime routine so that they fall asleep more easily at night. Sleep is VITAL to all our children's(and our) well being. Rituals like these slow you down and connect you with your child, and if you do them as just "part of the routine" they build security as well as connection and cooperation.
5. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations.
With a routine everyone understands the expectations of the day and we are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household. The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly!
At Mucky Pups;
We offer a safe and flexible routine that helps the children feel safe and ready to take on new challenges and developmental tasks. Offering the little routines and traditions that make life here both easier and cozier will, not only, allow your children soak up the security of being wiht us but they'll internalize the ability to structure their own time with us and encourage creativity and independent learning for the rest of their lives..
Have a closer look at our daily routine on the "Our Day" page of our website here
Read this lovely article here from "The Curiosity Approach"
Welcome to all our new families and staff who have started with us this week.
We welcome our two new memebrs of staff; Jodie and Lorna. They will be a great asset to our team and both have teaching qualifiactions and will be working with us full time!!
I'm sure you will love working with them and already they have made a great start to their time with us.
Our new children aree gradually settling in this month and it can be a worrying and anxious time for everyone but especaially parents, Here at Mucky Pups we believe that as each child is unique and specail then so should there transition process so we tailor our settlling in process to each family according to their needs and circumstances. It is natural for your child to want to be with you but with love and care and friendly faces we can nuture a confidence in seperating and make the whole process a spositive as possible.
So here are some top tips to make the transition from home to nursery as smooth as possible;
Meet & GreetInitial visits are vital; We offer an inital meeting for you with your child's named keyworker and it is a really im,potrtnat time to start the relatiuonship with this person in a clam and relaxed manner. it is a special one to one time for you to discuss your child and your family and your needs, requiremnets and address any worries or concerns you may have.
Come and play with your child alongside the other children and your keyworker so you experience a happy and postive time with us togwtjer. It allows you to see how child interacts with their keyworker and you acn ask any questions you have then too. This helps you all become familiar with the new environment and the people in it before your child officially starts.
Routine is important
Your child's keyworker or their buddy will be there to greet you each time you arrive. Try and establish a routine of home so your child can aticipate their arrival at nursery. Make sure you say goodbye and leave with a smile on your face no matter how worried you feel. You can always ring us and we will send you a photo as soon as we can to let you know how they are doing.
Be preparedEnsure your morning routine is the same every morning in terms of getting out the door and the journey to nursery. Try to have everything organised the night before, so you have a little down time together before leaving the house. Whether it’s hanging out over breakfast or doing a little colouring in.Be sure to give a five-minute warning before it’s time to leave. Leave your shoes by the door, so putting your shoes on together becomes a thing you do rather than a mad rush around the house trying to find your child’s other trainer!
Try with all your might not to become overwhelmed and flustered if your child becomes distressed. If you feel good about the nursery and your handover, then you need to lead by example and show confidence even though it can be hard.Remember any change is difficult and needs time and nurturing. Be on the lookout for those happy moments and offer your little champion praise! “I really liked the way you opened the door for me, that was very kind”.
Think about nutrition!
Opting for a nutritious breakfast will set your little one up for the day and help feelings of contentment and satisfaction. This, in turn, helps your child to have a better day. If you need to prepare packed lunches, consider finger foods and picnic-style goodies such as mini quiches, slices, patties, balls, mini breads and fruit loaf. Make this a time for exploration of food and this too will help with those wobbles as it is fun and exciting!
Talk about it
Talk about nursery and what you like about it. Look at your pictures on Famly, facebook and the website together to encourage your child to remmebr the postive experiences even on days that nursery isn’t on.
Hang creative masterpieces proudly at home, you could also create an art book they go into as a lot of artwork does come home! You could have a masterpiece of the week on display and talk about it proudly.
Get something special
Take your little one to buy a special backpack and drink bottle.Talk about why you’re choosing it and that it will have their name on, so it is special to them. Choose a special teddy or comforter you’re both happy with to take along to nursery for comfort or give them It could be something of yours that smells of you. You be surprised how comforting that is for them.
Raise concerns .
Don’t be afraid to raise any concerns to your child’s keyworker and never feel as though you’re being a burden. Trust us, we need to get to know and work with you in order to happily and positively teach your children.
Of course, there are going to be good mornings and not-so-good mornings, trust your instincts and let your little one lead the way. With constant support and reassurance from you, your child WILL settle and will soon be leading you in through those doors to nursery proudly.
At Mucky Pups we are so lucky to have a great outdoor space for the children and adults to learn in.
We have a nature area to watch the birds, hunt for bugs and collect flowers , a place to build and room to run and jump and skip and ride a scooter!
Everyday outdoors is open for us to make the most of this space which is especially important at the moment when it is much safer for us to be outside when we are together than inside.
Have a look at our outdoor page to see what we get up to; HERE
We can learn about EVERYTHING through being outside but it especially important for everyone's well-being which is top of our list at the moment.
Here are some good reasons why:
Fresh Air helps us to relax, reflect, and engage with nature. We love to watch a worm wriggle back into the soil, a ladybird fly away, a bird feed from our hanger or listen to them sing or the rain patter.
Physical activity lowers anxiety and has significant improvements for children in their mental and emotional well-being. We love to play with the scooters, jump, hop, skip and run. We can make ourselves strong through building bridges, obstacle courses, pirate ships and dens!
Sunlight is the best natural source for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, which releases serotonin (which helps regulate emotion and mood and is linked to happiness) in the brain. Children need healthy levels of Vitamin D and serotonin for their mental health and development. Allowing children daily outdoor playtime in natural light, ensures they soak up some nourishment for their brains!
Playing outdoors is thought to help relieve stress and anxiety for children by reducing levels of the hormone cortisol in the brain. Even just five minutes of exercise in a natural outdoor environment can rapidly improve self-esteem and mental health and well being in young people.
So if you don't have a garden or outdoor space make the most of the beautiful spaces we have right here in Lancaster,
Take a walk or cycle to Williamson''s park, walk along the canal and look out for the wildlife you can spot, visit Fairfield Nature Reserve or even go a little further afield and visit the beach at Morecambe or take a trip to Glasson Dock along the cycle track. Take the time to smell the flowers, listen to the birds and hunt for mini beasts. You'll be surprised at what you can find!
Everyone in the family will feel the benefits!!
What outdoor adventures will your children enjoy today?
Now is a huge time for change and this can be very unsettling and worrying and everyone approaches it in different ways.
At Muck Pups this week we have made the change from being closed to reopening again. For the time being it is for those key-worker's children who need childcare and have sometimes found it difficult while we have been closed. For many this has been a lifeline and although we know some of you are not ready yet we want to reassure you that you and your children are still very much part of our Mucky Pups family and understand that a return for you yet is just to soon.
We have had to change the way we work and our daily routine to make sure that everything is as safe as possible, while still keeping it familiar and calm for those children returning. Those returning have embraced it and we have loved seeing them each day. The staff at nursery have been putting photo's and post on Facebook to let you and your children see your friends. Please have a look at our information about how we have done this here
We have welcomed some new brothers to our family as we can now take one year old children. We have started with siblings to help ease the transition back to nursery and keep siblings together.It has also enabled mums and dad's to return to work knowing their children are in one place to help ease their transition back to work while only coping with one setting and ease the concerns of infection from multiple settings. We are continuing this in September for those children who are already registered and then from January expanding the nursery to include more children.
We have also begin the process of preparing for our Chihuahuas and Dalmatians to start school and although it is uncertain when this will be and how this will look we do know that at some point in the future these children will be starting school and taking the next big step in their learning journey. We have been liaising closely with schools; chatting to your child's new teachers and will continue to work with them sending key-worker reports and Capture wheels for them to see. I know many of you have also begun this process at home too.
We will continue to put home learning ideas on Facebook and Twitter and be here for all of you no matter where you are!1
During times like these one of the most important things we can do is to stay healthy both mentally and physically. Establishing some kind of routine when, for most of us that sense of normality has disappeared, is ESSENTIAL to our mental well-being.
Mealtimes can be a great way to help with this routine and establishing times when you can sit down together can be vital to maintain some ritual and routine your daily lives. It is also a great way to involve the children in helping out with daily chores, feel included and establish healthy eating habits as well as being a FANTASTIC home learning tool.
At Mucky Pups our snack and lunchtimes are a valuable learning time. We prepare the food together, set the table and clean up after ourselves. Our snack is always healthy and nutritious and we set our menu's using; Food Trust's, Eat Better Start Better programme. The children also get to taste food from around the world and request snacks they love to share with their friends. We have made; soups, pizzas, cakes, biscuits and smoothies as part of learning.
Here are some ideas to try;
You can explore foods from around the world and find out about where the country is and what other foods they eat. We particularly loved eating croissants when we were learning about France.
Baking includes loads of Science and Maths. Think about all the weighing and measuring, the cutting shapes for biscuits and watching how the mixture changes as you add different ingredients; dry to wet, solid to liquid and colour changes and so on.
Making smoothies and pizzas can include trying new fruits and vegetables, different combinations as well as the physical development of cutting, chopping, dicing and grating.
You make pizza faces or you could name your new family smoothie!
Now the rules are relaxing a little too why not pack a picnic and go to the park. You could get some great new ideas for when everything is a little more normal and you're packing up lunches again.
We also include recipes in our "Home Learning " letters each month and many of the recipes and ideas we have are from the NHS; "Change for Life" website. Click the picture to take you to the page.
Everyone's a winner; you get help with something you would have been doing anyway and your child is learning at the same time.
Why not give it a go? And if you do send us some pictures via email, Facebook or Capture to show us what you've been doing.
We make all of these part of our life at Mucky Pups by looking for situations in play and our daily routines to help children learn and understand. Just like while you are at home. Numbers surround us everywhere in the environment. Try a number hunt inside and out, Look at door numbers, bus numbers, postbox numbers, price labels, advertising posters or road signs, packets and tins, mobile phones, letters.
We can count, stairs, steps, jumps, blocks, cups, plates while we are laying the table, emptying the dishwasher, tidying away the toys, or putting books back on the shelf. You can count food on your plate, cars going by your house, birds in the sky, petals on flowers, dandelions on the lawn balls you catch the list is endless.
Songs and rhymes
These can also really help with Maths understanding, Some of our favourites are Ten fat sausages, I.188.8.131.52 Once I caught a fish alive, !0 little ducks, Hickory Dickory dock,
There are also on the Youtube channel;
Super simple Songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D4K9oi7oBM&vl=en
Board games are fantastic on a rainy day to pass the time and help with Maths. Snakes and ladders, frustration and card games such as snap.Outdoors playing hopscotch and counting goals and throws , catches and jumps and hops are great.
There are lots more games and activities to try here; https://nrich.maths.org/13372
Shape, Space and Measures -are also part of the curriculum and they include teaching the children to understand size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and compare quantities and objects.
Shapes hunt, potato prints, car races to measure how far they go, measuring bodies and different parts of the body. Who is the tallest, shortest, has the longest legs, shortest arms, biggest head? filling and emptying containers and jugs, cooking and baking, ordering and sizing shapes, blocks, toys, plates too. Make shapes with masking tape, lolly sticks, straws and even sticks and stones form the garden or park.
Shape songs; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTeqUejf3D0
Just follow these links below to try these ideas;
Keep a look out on Facebook and Twitter for more ideas!
Don't forget that it is the understanding that is important and NOT if your child can write and draw the number, shapes and measures.