Ladybird activity

Pre-school age

thLadybird, Ladybird

Ladybird, Ladybird,
fly away home.
Your house is on fire,
And your children are gone.
All except one, and her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.


Facts about Ladybirds

Nearly all ladybirds have six legs and an oval shape body

Many ladybirds have seven spots, but the number of spots varies depending on the species

Ladybirds eat scale insects and aphids

In America they call them ladybugs.

Some people say if a ladybird lands on you, it will bring you luck.


Read the story – ‘The Bad-Tempered Ladybird’

(Give out the word-map for the story)

If you don’t have the book, you can find the story on YouTube


Read the story – ‘What the Ladybird Heard’

The story can be found on YouTube

Can you make a play-doh ladybird?


Give out lady bird colouring template. Colour for next time.


Bugs and bottle tops

th (1)

Sorting bugs and bottle tops. If you have some plastic insects (you can buy them on Amazon) you can play this sorting game:

Will need – bugs, bottle tops, tweezers or tongs

  • Use the tweezers to pick up the bugs and place them into the bottle top.
  • Turn the bottle tops over and place the different bugs sitting on top rather than inside the bottle top.
  • Have a variety of bottle top and plastic lids sizes.
  • Sort and match the bugs to the same colour bottle tops.
  • Introduce other items that children can place the bugs onto such as blocks.
  • Problem solving – what can we do with the bugs that are too big to fit into the bottle tops?

One week down, X to go…

So we’ve survived one week. There will be plenty more to come I fear. This week I’ve had to content myself with speaking to my kids and grandkids on Skype – although I’ve become more proficient using FaceTime and Houseparty. I’ve been in touch with friends I don’t speak to nearly enough and I’ve exchanged more words with my lovely neighbours over Whatsapp, than I have in eighteen years of living in close proximity. Where did my writing time go?

We’ve rearranged all the furniture and my house has never been so clean. I’ve topped up my freezer with tomato and vegetable pasta sauce from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’. Hoping he’ll be carrying on with these brilliant sessions over coming weeks.

I’m craving bananas, but I’ve still got sufficient wine, chocolate, gin and, for now, loo rolls.

We’ve stood at the end of our drive to ‘Clap the Carers’ and we’ve joined neighbours – each at the end of our own drives with our own glasses of wine – to wish a couple two doors down a ‘Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary’. Their special party was of course cancelled.

This morning, for my daily exercise, I went out early for a walk – still allowed at the moment. As I pass dog walkers and fellow exercisers, I notice how social distance is interpreted differently. To be fair, most keep the prescribed distance. Some do it with a laugh and a little courtesy dance – ‘you go’, ‘no, you’, as we negotiate chess moves to determine who will step off the pavement and walk in the road. If we pass on opposite sides of the road there’s often a ‘hello’, a ‘good morning’ or a smile and wave. Others keep their eyes firmly fixed forward or even down on the ground. They seem to think social distancing means you can no longer greet or even acknowledge a stranger.

Yesterday someone on the TV said, perhaps it should be called ‘physical distancing’ rather than ‘social distancing’. We humans are social beings and we need contact with others, even if it is from two metres away. Please don’t think I’m going to infect you with my wave or a cheery ‘hello’ as we pass.

Look out for me tomorrow morning. I’ll be the one putting my hands together and trying a respectful ‘Namaste’.namaste.

Spring Garden Activity

Ages 3-5 years

Prior to the session, send your toddler out to do a spring scavenger hunt in the garden.

Start with a ‘show and tell’ session talking about what they found – and what you found in your own garden.

Read the story – My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell.

If you don’t have the book, you can find versions on YouTube.



Read or play again, acting out the story using soft toys or handmade puppets.

Here are some of mine gathered from around my house (or put together using odds and ends)




Read these rhymes/poems and act out using toys:


Little Robin Redbreast

Nursery Rhyme

Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,
Up went pussycat and down went he,
Down came pussycat, away Robin ran,
Says little Robin Redbreast, “Catch me if you can.”

Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a wall,
Pussycat jumped after him, and almost had a fall.
Little Robin chirped and sang and what did pussy say?
Pussycat said “Meow”, and Robin flew away.


Wiggly Woo

Children’s Song

There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden
And his name is Wiggly Woo
There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden
And all that he can do
Is wiggle all night
And wiggle all day
Whatever else the people do say
There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden
And his name is Wiggly Woo.


Play the rhymes on YouTube and join in with some actions:

Little Robin Redbreast

Wiggly Woo



Hedgehog Activity – pre-school

Pre-school age 3 – 4 years

IMG_6380 (1)Here is my hedgehog. His name is Hector. The baby one is hoglet.

What is your hedgehog called?
Facts about Hedgehogs (only use a few for pre-schoolers)

Hedgehogs are insectivores, meaning they like to eat bugs.

They live in forests and woodlands.

Hedgehogs are covered with sharp spines. When frightened, they curl up in a prickly ball.

During the day, they sleep like this so they’re safe. They come out at night to hunt.

Hedgehogs make grunting noses, which is why they’re called “hedge-hogs.”

This is what they sound like:

These cute animals eat almost any insect, including worms, centipedes, snails, frogs, mice and even snakes.

Hedgehogs hibernate in the winter in cold areas. In the desert, they burrow under the ground during the day to stay cool.

Hedgehogs like to be alone. They don’t make cuddly pets.

Some pet hedgehogs carry diseases, such as Salmonella. They’re also very fragile and easily hurt.

Hedgehogs have more than 5000 spines (quills). The spines last about one year and are replaced by new spines.

There are 17 known species of hedgehogs around the world.

A hedgehog’s eyesight is not the best, but they have excellent hearing and smell.

A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant – not good with dairy products


Being a hedgehog

Can you curl up like a hedgehog?

Go to sleep in daytime

It’s night-time now. Can you find some food?

What noises are you making?

What are you looking for?

How will you find it?


What can you remember?

Where do hedgehogs live?

What do hedgehogs eat?

What do they do in winter?

What are their spines called?

What is a baby hedgehog called?


Read a story about hedgehogs

For example – Stories for five-year olds – Hedgehogs don’t eat Hamburgers

(Or any other hedgehog story)


Make a hedgehog from playdoh

Here are some ideas to get you started:

How to Write a Story

Suitable for KS2 but can be easily adapted for KS1

Lesson outline/crib sheet for adult supervising (my thanks to BBC Bitesize and Twinkl – who are offering free resources during Coronavirus home schooling period)

All stories need a beginning, a middle and an end. They need characters (the people in the story) and a setting (the place and the time that the story happens).

Most stories need something to happen to the main character. The main character is called the protagonist. This can be a problem for them to resolve. This is called conflict.

There will be someone or something causing the problem. In some stories this will be the ‘bad guy’, also called the antagonist, but it doesn’t have to be a person. It might be a something like a storm, an accident, an alien invasion…

Watch this:

  • Who were the characters?
  • What happened at the beginning?
  • What happened in the middle?
  • What happened at the end?

Watch this:

  • Where and when was the setting?


Think about what your story will be about. You could mind-map or jot down some ideas.

Think about the characters. What are their names?

If you are stuck, watch this:

  • Where does your story happen? What time is it? Night, day, long ago…
  • What will happen at the beginning, the middle and the end.
  • How you start your story is called your ‘story opener’.
  • You should try and ‘hook’ your reader, so they want to read on with your story.
  • What is the problem or conflict that your main character must resolve?
  • Will your story have a twist at the end?

You can use the story mapping sheet to help you.

Now write your story…

Protect and Survive

‘Stay at home. Stock enough food for your family. Make sure you have plenty of strong disinfection and toilet paper.’

Is this a response to the Coronavirus pandemic?

thNo, this was advice from the UK government in the early 1980’s. It was set out in the leaflet, Protect and Survive, available for sale to those who wanted to buy it. However, in the event of a serious nuclear threat, it was to be distributed free to every household. Protect and Survive was adapted for television as a series of twenty short public information films. The films were classified, and only intended for transmission on all television channels if the government determined a nuclear attack was likely within 72 hours. However, recordings leaked and the BBC broadcast them in a documentary on Panorama in March 1980.

Today the leaflet makes alarming reading. It was clearly written from the view that a nuclear attack was a genuine threat and people needed to be prepared. We will never know how likely it was, but it was certainly perceived as a threat across the world.


attwarnWhen an air attack is expected the sirens will sound a rising and falling note.
The warning will also be broadcast on the radio.


fallwarnWhen there is danger from fall-out you will hear three loud bangs or three whistles in quick succession.



allclearWhen the immediate danger from both air attack and fall-out has passed, the sirens will sound a steady note.

The longer you spend in your refuge and your fall-out room after a fall-out warning the less the danger to your lives.

The threat of nuclear war was very real to people in the UK, and the message from the government under Maggie Thatcher was ‘people need to be prepared.’

I was twenty-six, a young mum with three children under the age of four. Protect and Survive became my Bible. The leaflet told me how to make my home and my family as safe as possible in the event of nuclear attack.

Under my bed I stowed a cardboard box filled with tinned food. Each day I listened to the news and avidly read newspaper reports telling me how to ensure my family survived. I hoarded black sacks. Why? Because we’d need to fill them with earth.

‘Even the safest room in your home is not safe enough. You will need to block up windows in the room, and to make the outside walls thicker, and also to thicken the floor above you, to provide the strongest possible protection against the penetration of radiation. Thick, dense materials are the best, and bricks, concrete or building blocks, timber, boxes of earth, sand, books, and furniture might all be used.’

The initial forty-eight hours after the attack were to be spent in the safest place in our home. The leaflet told us how to create a fall-out room, this nuclear-proof den would be our inner sanctuary.

‘Still greater protection is necessary in the fall-out room, particularly for the first two days and nights after an attack when the radiation dangers could be critical. To provide this you should build an inner refuge. This too should be thick-lined with dense materials to resist the radiation and should be built away from the outside walls.’

The leaflet suggested we use doors from rooms above to create an indoor lean-to. We might even use a table if it was large enough, surrounding the den with heavy furniture filled with sand, earth, books or clothing. Best of all, and this was my preferred option, a cupboard under the stairs, with bags of earth or sand on the stairs and along the walls of the cupboard.

The government encouraged us to stockpile:

food‘Stock enough food for fourteen days.
Choose foods which can be eaten cold, which keep fresh, and which are tinned or well wrapped. Keep your stocks in a closed cabinet or cupboard.
Provide variety. Stock sugar, jams or other sweet foods, cereals, biscuits, meats, vegetables, fruit and fruit juices. Children will need tinned or powdered milk, and babies their normal food as far as is possible. Eat perishable items first. Use your supplies sparingly.’

Like many people, I’ve been judging the people panic buying during the Coronavirus crisis: ‘Those selfish, greedy people just looking out for themselves.’ But, in recent days, as my anxiety has increased with each news bulletin, I remember how I felt back in the early 80’s and, whilst I in no way encourage or condone panic buying, I can understand the behaviour.

In the 80’s the government also advised us to store water:

‘You will need enough for the family for fourteen days. Each person should drink two pints a day – so you will need three and a half gallons each.
You should try to stock twice as much water as you are likely to need for drinking, so that you will have enough for washing. You are unlikely to be able to use the mains water supply after an attack – so provide your drinking water beforehand by filling bottles for use in the fall-out room. Store extra water in the bath, in basins and in other containers.’

And, relevant to the empty shelves we now find in all our stores, they told us we’d need toiletry items:

‘Toilet articles including soap, toilet rolls, bucket and plastic bags.’sanit3

We were encouraged to build a first aid kit as there’d be no access to the NHS:

‘First aid kit – with household medicines and prescribed medicines, aspirins or similar tablets, adhesive dressings, cotton wool, bandages, disinfectant, ointment, including Vaseline.’

If we were ‘lucky’ enough to survive the initial stage, the heat and the blast, the following days would bring fallout dust carrying radiation sickness. Like Coronavirus they told us:

‘It cannot be seen or felt. It has no smell…. Exposure can cause sickness and death.’

My sister and I remember a conversation with a young man. He said when the alarm sounded, he’d go into his garden and watch the fireworks. As young mums with little children, we were horrified. All we wanted to do was to protect our families.

For fourteen days we knew we’d be completely isolated, but what sort of world would we have emerging into? After twelve weeks plus of self-isolating, what sort of world will exist after Covid 19?

There are some environmental positives. Maps reveal significant drops in pollution levels above China and Italy. The reduction in travel and particularly grounding flights must surely have reduced our carbon output?

And this time we’re not completely isolated. Okay, most of us received good wishes for Mother’s Day over Facetime, and I desperately missed hugs and kisses, but humanity is coming up trumps. A generation of caring, supportive people are emerging locally. Always there, they now come to the fore, using Facebook and Whatsapp, even dropping notes through doors, offering to collect shopping, medicines or just be there for a chat. Heroic efforts are being made by our NHS professionals, emergency services and key workers. Our government and our scientists work around the clock, seeking solutions and making difficult decisions. And let’s not forget the delivery drivers and the cashiers on the checkouts, some sadly subjected to abuse on a daily basis.

I can’t hug my grandchildren, I can’t see my loved ones, but we can stay in touch remotely, and now there’s time to contact the old friends I haven’t spoken to in ages.

‘This too will pass’

Meanwhile let’s be kind to each other. Hopefully most of us will emerge on the other side, perhaps with a changed perspective. We’ll recognize what’s important to us, we’ll have greater respect for our planet and perhaps we’ll reassess the way we live our lives.


Poetry lesson two

Poetry Lesson Two (key stages 1 and 2)


What is a Haiku?

Say it like this – ‘Hi goo’

A haiku is a very short poem, just three lines and it doesn’t rhyme.

From what country did the haiku originate? Can you find out after this session?


How to write a Haiku

It is easy to learn to write a haiku, but it takes a lot of practice to learn how to do it well. You need to practice by writing a lot of them, so you get very good at it.

In the English version of a haiku, the first and last lines have five syllables each, and the middle line has seven syllables.


What is a syllable?

A syllable is a sound or beat in a word

Jim is 1 syllable – clap once

So is Ben – clap once

Poppy is 2 syllables – clap clap

Isobel is 3 syllables – clap clap clap

Joshua is also three syllables– clap clap clap


Now watch this


So a haiku has 17 syllables in total. The pattern looks like this:

Line 1: 5 syllables

Line 2: 7 syllables

Line 3: 5 syllables


Writing a Haiku

Hailu poems are often about seasons or nature, but you can write your own haiku about anything you like. If you don’t want to write about nature and want to write about sweeties, cats or football, that’s okay.

When you do it properly, the last line of the haiku usually makes an observation. That means it points out something about the subject you’re writing about.

To begin writing haiku poems, follow these steps:

  • Decide if you’re going to write about a season, nature or something else.
  • Select one specific thing you’re going to write about.
  • Think about your last line first. What observation do you want to make?
  • Start writing.
  • Count the syllables as you go to make sure you’ve got the right pattern – 5, 7, 5.
  • Draw a picture to go with your haiku (you could do this in one of your Art sessions)


Further examples and help

If you decide to write a haiku about nature, there are many subjects to choose from. You could write about animals, plants, the sky, the ocean, the wind. Start by selecting a topic, then deciding what you want to say.

Summer is coming.
Warm weather here very soon.
We will go outside.

If you count the syllables on your fingers (or clap them) as you read this poem, you’ll see the lines have five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables.

I might write a haiku about my cat. She sleeps all night and all day. Here’s my haiku.

Nali sleeps all night.
She needs lots of rest for a
Day of cat napping.

Just because most haiku poems are about seasons or nature doesn’t mean you can’t write funny haiku poems. One way to make a haiku funny is to have an unexpected last line. For example, if the last line says the opposite of what the reader expects, it becomes like the punchline of a joke. If I decided to write a funny haiku excuse for why I‘m late for school, it might look like this.

I am late for school
My mum is a slow driver.
I love lifts to school.

See how the ending is unexpected. I’m not apologising but telling the reader something they don’t expect and that hopefully makes them smile.


Spellings to practise





Poetry lesson one

This lesson can be adapted to suit children aged 5 to 10 years.

Poetry Lesson One (key stages 1 and 2)

Celebrating World Poetry Day 21st March.

World Poetry Day began in 1999, with the aim of promoting poetry around the world.

It’s an opportunity to appreciate the power of poetry and how it captures the creative spirit.

Poetry is one of our most treasured forms of expression. It can be simple or complex, challenge traditional ideas or convey love and loss.

Two poems for children
Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

By Laura Elizabeth Richards

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one! 

By Gelett Burgess


Things to do:

What do you notice about the words in the poem about the elephant?

Is the poet ‘getting it right?’

Can you circle the rhyming words? (quite and right; cow and anyhow)

Draw a picture for one of these poems (you could do this in one of your Art sessions)



Limericks are funny and silly.

They’re made up of five lines.

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with each other.

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other.

D481B3EF-0C53-4146-B7D8-30810A4E7EA3 Edward Lear was born in 1812. That’s over 200 years ago.

He wrote a famous book called The Collected Nonsense Songs of Edward Lear.



I’m sure you recognise this poem?  Read – The Owl and The Pussy Cat


Draw a picture to illustrate The Owl and the Pussy Cat (you could do this in one of your Art sessions)

Edward Lear also wrote lots of limericks:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

There was a Young Lady whose eyes,
Were unique as to colour and size;
When she opened them wide,
People all turned aside,
And started away in surprise.


There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, ‘Does it buzz?’
He replied, ‘Yes, it does!’
‘It’s a regular brute of a Bee!’


Which of Lear’s limericks do you like best? Why?

What do you notice about Lear’s rhyming words?

The limerick about the old man with a beard has been illustrated. Can you draw a picture to go with one of the others?

Watch this

Now have a go at writing your own limerick.



World Poetry Day 21st March 2020

World Poetry Day began in 1999 with the aim of promoting poetry around the world.

It’s an opportunity to appreciate the power of poetry and how it captures the creative spirit.

Poetry is one of our most treasured forms of expression. It can be simple or complex, challenge traditional ideas or convey love and loss.

In the light of current unprecedented events, my poem had to be about Coronavirus.


We are at War


There’s a new flu, Covid-19.

The origin? Bat or pangolin.

They say it began in Wuhan.

Now the whole world’s in self-quarantine.


Virus attacks lungs and airways.

Consistent cough and temperature high.

Cruise ships stranded for days and days.

‘Bring us home,’ the passengers cry.


Wear a mask, cough into your sleeve.

Elbow bumping becomes the new norm.

Elderly to self-isolate,

joining those with weakened immune.


Shoppers fight over toilet rolls.

Queues for rice, pasta and spaghetti.

Hand sanitizers all but gone.

Supermarket shelves left empty.


Social distancing, wearing masks.

Boris tells us to work from home,

Wash our hands to Happy Birthday,

Tourists get drunk in Benidorm.


Flights are grounded, the borders closed.

News reports, increased fatalities.

Pleas go out for ventilators.

Dow Jones fall breaks Economy.


We are at War.

Lentil Soup – how to survive when all around you are panic buying

This is my mum’s recipe. It’s a great idea when everyone’s panic buying and you’re trying to survive on what you’ve got.

  • In a large saucepan, lightly fry a large onion (sliced).
  • Chuck in two or three carrots (sliced) and a large spud (sliced).
  • Just cover with water, add a vegetable Oxo and simmer until soft (15 mins)
  • Mash (or use a hand blender).
  • Chuck in half a cup of red lentils (or you can use brown or green lentils)
  • Add more water to preferred consistency. Simmer for at least 30 mins until lentils are soft. Don’t let the lentils burn on bottom of pan.
  • You can double this up, water it down, add ANY additional or substitute veg, add garlic with the onion, chuck in a can of beans… There are multiple variations. I literally use up any veg that I’ve got – sweet potatoes, parsnips, greens… It’s always good. Enjoy!
  • This is a great source of protein and makes a meal if you add bread.