Did you know?

What's Play Day I hear you ask.

Playday is the national day for play in the UK, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. therefore Playday 2013 is on 7 August.

On Playday thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community events across the UK.

As well as a celebration of children's right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives.

The Playday 2013 campaign theme is Playful places. The campaign is calling on everyone to help make sure that the places where children live and hang out are great places to play.

Why play?

Play is an essential part of every child's life and is vital for their development. Through play, children explore the world around them and develop and practise skills.

The Playday campaign is committed to ensuring all children and young people across the UK can enjoy their right to play, as set out in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Why is play important?

Having time and space to play gives children the opportunity to meet and socialise with their friends, keeps them physically active, and gives the freedom to choose what they want to do.

Research shows that play has many benefits for children, families and the wider community, as well as improving health and quality of life. 

Recent research suggests that children's access to good play provision can:

  • increase their self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-respect
  • improve and maintain their physical and mental health
  • give them the opportunity to mix with other children
  • allow them to increase their confidence through developing new skills
  • promote their imagination, independence and creativity
  • offer opportunities for children of all abilities and backgrounds to play together
  • provide opportunities for developing social skills and learning
  • build resilience through risk taking and challenge, problem solving, and dealing with new and novel situations
  • provide opportunities to learn about their environment and the wider community.

Evidence is also available that outlines wider benefits of play provision for families and communities, suggesting that:

  • parents can feel more secure knowing that their children are happy, safe and enjoying themselves
  • families benefit from healthier, happier children
  • buildings and facilities used by play services are frequently seen as a focal point for communities
  • it offers opportunities for social interaction for the wider community and supports the development of a greater sense of community spirit, promoting social cohesion
  • public outside spaces have an important role in the everyday lives of children and young people, especially as a place for meeting friends
  • parks and other green spaces are popular with adults taking young children out to play and for older children and young people to spend time together.

What's the plan?

Although it maybe too late to truly fund raise for the cause, I would like to try and get together with other Childminder, Mums, Daddies, Nannies, Granddad's, Aunties, Uncle's anyone who would be interested in a play date, to promote play day.

If we can get enough people I would like to try and organise something in the Cottage Meadow. Obviously weather dependent, best out come, is to expect rain as not to be disappointed. 

Dry Day : 

If we get a good day I would like to hold a teddy bear's picnic with planned activities like paw painting, story time, and a sing song.
You would need to bring Picnic, Blanket, Teddy and singing voices :)

Wet Day :

If we get a good old Fermanagh day I was thinking we could have a Teddy Bears Splish Splosh with Nature hunt. A truly Paddington style day :)
You would need to bring Wellies, Hat, Raincoat,Marmalade sandwiches, Blanket, Teddy and singing voices :)

What Next?

I really need to hear from people interested in getting together.
I can be contacted via message here on the website, emailfacebook, twitter or by mobile or skype listed at top of the page.
I only have one week to organise something so time is of the essence. 

Ta Ta For Now x
Gayle x

I love an excuse to get outside with the boys. To be honest there's nothing better than wellies and hot chocolate in the park on a bad day, and let's face it good days are few and far between in Fermanagh. 
We woke today to beautiful sunshine and in true Fermanagh style its turned to grey clouds all above. But, we will not be disheartened by the weather, Oh no! 
Wellies and hot chocolate it is ت

Scavenger Hunt

What you'll need :

A list of thing to find
A carrier bag or a camera
Go to your local park or forest and hunt for the things on the list. Children can either collect the things on the list or take a picture. 
"This one I did for a local community event"

Clickety Click

What you'll need :

Resource Book/Internet
Tell the children to take 10 photos.
Record what the children think it is they are taking pictures of. 
Discuss shape, colour, size. 
Discuss why they chose the subject. 
When home research if the answer's are correct. Encourage the children to discuss there own findings with the other children if in a group.
"Listening promotes confidence, independence and belonging"

Outdoor Alphabet

What you'll need :

Family or Friends
Paper Pencil Camera (optional)
Whilst walking with family and friends call out the letters of the alphabet one by one. When you see something beginning with 'A' shout it out 'APPLE' then move on to 'B'.
If you want to you can write down all the things you spot on your walk. For the purpose of National Photograph Nature day you could photograph everything you see. 
"An amazing game to promote observation skills"

What lives in a Tree?

What you'll need:

A tree with an easy to reach branch
White bed sheet/piece of large paper
A partner,
Magnifiying Glass (optional but better)
Have a partner help you hold the sheet under the branch. The closer to the branch the better. Shake the branch hard for about a minute. Then lay the sheet on the ground and observe and record what you see.
Can you see any animals? Maybe insects?
Try the same activity on different trees. Do you find the same things in different trees?
What unusual things did you see?
Did you see something you haven't seen before?

"ewww... Bugs"
"Remember to encourage the children by asking questions"

Tree Story Book

What you'll need :

White Paper
9" x 12" coloured construction paper
Identification Book (optional)
Fold white paper and construction paper in half. Place white paper in middle of construction book. This will make the cover of the book. Staple the edges. This can be done at home before leaving. Make one book for each tree.
Take a photograph of the tree for the photo cover. When you know the name of the tree write it on the front too.
Hold the first page against the bark of the tree. Using the crayon record the bark markings. Pick a leaf, flatten and glue into second page. Does the tree flower? If so press a flower and glue it in page three. Page four is for a small twig, if you look closely, you may find one on the ground. Pages five and six are for you to describe the tree, what lives in it or what flowers/plants live closely with the tree.
"All children love to glue."
"With this activity they learn about nature without even knowing"

Get Wet

What you'll need :

Rain hat
Waterproof boots
Don't stay cooped up indoor's. Get the wellies on and head outside. It's a very different world in the rain. 
Can you smell the difference in the air?
Can you spot the animals you don't see in the sunshine. Many animals like the damp. So, watch your step, you'll see plenty of earth worms wiggling about.
Some trees have leaves thatthe rain glides off. What other things can you see around your house or park that look different in the rain than they do when the sun is out
"Be prepared" " Children love to get down and dirty so encourage them to get close and really inspect the world around them"

Rock and Roll

What you'll need :

Differently shaped rocks
Watch with second hand
Pick six differently shaped rocks of about the same size and weight. The overall shape doesnt matter. One may be rounded, one maybe flat, one maybe almost square, all the better.
One by one roll them down the hillside.
Record and discuss what you find.
Try and predict what is going to happen. Which will go slower or faster? 
"A good activity for older children"
"For younger children remember to include sensory work too"

Is Bigger Faster?

What you'll need :

Birds to watch,
Are bigger birds faster birds?
Are smaller birds in more danger?
Are the answers as obviuos as they seem?
Study the birds in your neighbourhood.
Sit quietly somewhere that birds search for food, water and shelter. 
Time how long it take to get from ground to tree top. What did you notice?
Do different birds behave differently when hunting for food? Do birds feed differently? Is it breed or personality?
"Be careful to listen to children's opinions" 
"Encourage them to discuss what they find"
I hope you all have fun no matter what you do today.
I will post our pictures for National Photograph Nature Day later on so be sure to pop back later on....
Happy Snapping... 
TTFN Gayle x

With Father's day fast approaching I wanted to share some D.I.Y goodies. I'm sure we all go out and buy the wee prizes for Daddy, whether it is £5 or £25 but the truth is, the homemade gift made with love is priceless.

My Dad My Hero...


Love this idea. So simple, yet very effective. You can pick up frames from most high street stores these day's. There is something out there to suit  everyone's budget. If you have a home printer you can achieve something like this in your own home. This and more designs for other occasions can be purchased at www.antdesigngifts.co.uk.


Children have amazing minds this combined with the uncertainty of their  answers you're surely guaranteed a unique present with this idea. You could probably repeat this every year and end up with different answers each year. It would make very interesting reading seeing how your child viewed their daddy when they were growing up. There's nothing nicer than seeing yourself through your child's eyes. I wish I had done this with my boys from an early age. Again, its simple to print and the frame is entirely your choice. Perfect for a daddy with a desk job :)

Following Footsteps...


We've attempted this, this year, using daddy's work boot and one of each boys shoe. We started with daddy's boot, then my eldest son's shoe and lastly the wee mans shoe. Alternatively you could make one print per child. You could update every year as a growth chart. Either way its a beautiful keepsake and would look amazing framed and hung in a hall.

'Walk a little slower Daddy' is a poem shouting for a foot print... A beautiful poem sure to stop any daddy in his tracks and bring a tear to his eye...

Food for thought...


This printable can be laminated and used as a token/voucher/place-mat.
If you have a special dinner planned you could even draw Dad's Dinner. Either way I'm sure Dad would love this place-mat. Makes a really good learning aid for setting the table too.

Fun times...


Cute little fun element to the day make dad a voucher cootie-catcher. I loved these when I was young. Could sit for hours playing with my paper cootie-catcher. This on is ready to go but if you where brave enough you could try and print your own with other voucher ideas specially for your dad. 


Little Hand Prints...


Through out the year I try and do at least one hand print keepsake craft. I really loved this Idea. Last father's day we measured from fingertip to fingertip. Using the same length of string we added hands for an instant hug. The message on the hands read 'For when you miss me' 'Have a Hug'

Below are a few templates ready to print. All they need is a hand print or two...
Daddy Father's Day Poem Belcoo Childminder
'My Daddy is the greatest' Poem printable. Add you child's hand print and laminate.
First Father's Day Belcoo Childminder
'So This Is My First Father's Day' Poem printable. Add you child's hand print and laminate.
'Grandad' Poem Printable. Add your child's hand print and laminate.
Whilst I can't take credit for all the ideas the links can be found on my father's day pinterest board along with lots of other ideas for fathers day
Happy Crafting :D
Back in 1904 on a hot June day Englishman, Richard Blechynden, had traveled to St. Louis for the World's Fair. He had traveled with High hopes for the Tea Trade, exhibiting on behalf of Indian tea growers, as the U.S. tea market was dominated by China. 

All hope of success fell through when a heat wave hit. When contemplating what he and his staff should do he spotted a delivery of Ice for another vendor. 
Blechynden purchased ice, borrowed picks and starting filling glasses. 

The tea was a big hit and the rest as they say is 'history'.

Handy Hints...

  • Use a strong tea  - When cooled the teas flavour is dulled. Try Darjeeling or Jasmine
  • Use plenty of bags - 2 bags for every 3 cups
  • Do NOT steep - for stronger tea add another bag, for weaker tea reduce steeping time
  • Allow tea to cool before refrigerating 
  • Use real lemon juice
  • Use sugar syrup instead of adding sugar.
  • Drink within 24 hours - You can chill for longer but for best taste drink immediately 


You'll never know it you don't try....
So give it a go try a few of these for a start :D

Sugar Syrup

In a measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup (250 ml) each granulated sugar and boiling water until clear and the sugar is dissolved. Makes 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) 

Plain Iced Tea

  1. Make a brew of tea using 4 teabags and 4 cups of water (filtered water will give a far better taste). Allow the tea to steep for no more than 5 minutes, otherwise it may become bitter. You can use either traditional black tea or lighter-tasting green tea.
  2. In a large jug place 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of cold (filtered) water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour your brewed tea into the sugar/water mixture and stir. Adding the hot tea to the cold water helps prevent the finished drink from becoming cloudy.
  4. Allow to cool further then serve in glasses over ice. Sprigs of mint make an attractive garnish.

Lemon Iced Tea

  1. Make a brew of tea using 4 teabags and 4 cups of water (filtered water will give a far better taste). Allow the tea to steep for no more than 5 minutes, otherwise it may become bitter. You can use either traditional black tea or lighter-tasting green tea.
  2. In a large jug place 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of cold (filtered) water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add 60ml of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Pour your brewed tea into the sugar/water mixture and stir. Adding the hot tea to the cold water helps prevent the finished drink from becoming cloudy.
  5. Allow to cool further then serve in glasses over ice. Sprigs of mint make an attractive garnish.

Chilled Apple Tea

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Pour ½ cup water over tea bags in a large measuring cup. Steep for 5 minutes; remove and squeeze tea bags. Add 1 tbsp honey, stirring well.
  2. Add enough ice so tea reaches the 1 cup mark. Fill 2 tall glasses with ice. Add ½ cup tea, ½ cup apple juice and several lemon slices to each; stir.

Arnold Palmer

Following easy iced tea recipe add half cup iced tea to half a cup lemonade.

Fancy something a little bit more....

Southern Iced Tea

1 qt size Mason Jar
1 oz light rum
1 oz vodka
1 oz gin
4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemonade
3 oz unsweetened iced tea
1-2 oz of simple syrup, to taste
sprigs of mint, for garnish
slices of lemon, for garnish

Fill the Mason jar with ice. Add the rum, vodka, gin, lemon juice or lemonade, iced tea and simple syrup. Stir completely, and adjust taste and sweetness as needed. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

For more recipes visit: http://www.snooth.com/articles/top-5-iced-tea-cocktails/?viewall=1#ixzz2Vr3BV2LM

Drunken Peach Iced Tea

1-1/2 oz peach liqueur
1 oz spiced rum
1 oz peach schnapps
½ oz vodka
5 oz sweet tea
Lemon wedge

Combine all of the spirits in a large glass with ice. Stir the iced tea into the glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

For more recipes visit: http://www.snooth.com/articles/top-5-iced-tea-cocktails/?viewall=1#ixzz2Vr3BV2LM
Would love to hear you thoughts on Iced Tea? Do you have a favourite recipe?
TTFN Gayle x
What better way to start a blog than 'Best Friend's Day'.

I am honoured to to have my Best Friend. We've grown up together literally from babies. Although I don't quite remember that far back. Whilst she is younger than me, I'm hitting 40 and can honestly say she's, been through it all with me. She never judges or complains, when I'm having a bad day. We are more like sisters than friends. Well we don't fight as much as sisters, although i'm sure. I'm annoying at times. It doesn't seem matter how long it is between chats, texts or emails we just seem to pick it up where we left off. 
I moved from my childhood home outside Liverpool to Northern Ireland. Where I now live with my two beutiful wee men and my partner in a small border village. We have found it hard to get visits in round school and work but without fail she is here two, three times a year. My boys think of her as an aunt and she is 'one of the family'. I would be truly lost without her.
My mum and my 'Best Friends' mum on a night out many years ago
As children we were very lucky we grew up between two mum's and spent our childhood between two houses. Our mum's were 'Best Friends' and although my best friend's mum is no longer with us she will live in our hearts forever. I can only hope that me and my friend mean half to each other as our mum's meant to each other. 
So take a minute to text, phone, tweet or email the 'Best Friend' who gets you through the day. 
And to my 'Best Friend' ... 'Thank You' ... for everything...
For more interesting holidays check out http://www.punchbowl.com/holidays

    About Me...

    I'm a late 30's Mum of two boys. I can't imagine what life would be like without them. They have changed my life in so many ways. I'm currently
    re-registering as a childminder after an accident at work. My happiest moments have been at home, with my babies and the children I previously looked after. Returning to childminding seemed a natural choice. 


    July 2013
    June 2013


    August 2013
    Day's To Celebrate
    June 2013