Every week I plan for a trip to a playgroup, soft play centre and arrange play dates. Being social is just as important for the children as it is for nannies. Our week varies from indoor and outdoor activities.
The children can experience so many different learning areas when involved in these activities, such as communication and language, physical development and understanding the world. They will meet people from different cultures and learn about family units.
Perfect for when the weather is a bit wet and cold, I work in an area where we have many to choose from. The boys have their favourite locations and always get excited when I say it is a soft play day, it often follows by “are we going to the one with the balls?” I love the variety soft play centres have to offer, some provide coffee/tea and juice with entrance fee. Some centres also hold separate classes for a fee but then you can play in the centre free of charge.
Often held in churches and and run weekly during term time, fees are small and often covers play and tea/coffee and snacks for the children. I find that playgroups have a family/community feel. Parents and carers catch up and swap tips and stories while the children play. Some of the groups have themed weeks and set up activities accordingly.
Play dates are lots of fun, a few nannies take it in turn to host and we get together catch up and the children play. Tea, coffee and snacks included. The children start to build great friendships with their peers.
I have added a link of some of the places we enjoy going.
B3 is in love with all things transport. This place covers that and more. There is so much to see and do, the Village has a play area for children so they can run around and have fun. They also have a train ride that goes around a small section of the park.
The detail in the model village is out of this world. From the items in the shop window to what the people are doing in their gardens. Some of the areas has moving parts, running water and sounds such as church bells going off. There are also trains that go around the village and stop at stations. As you walk around the village, you can read history of village and about the makers and builders of it.
There is also a cafe onsite with a range of food and snacks all, picnic benches outside so you can bring and enjoy your own food. There is a gift shop filled with great items and your only problem will be getting your little ones out.
Finally to end your trip you can have a look in the education center which is filled with genuine artifacts from the time period 1930/1940s. You and your little ones can have a look at history and take part in what is out at the time. On our visit we got to use a typewriter and B3 got to scoot on a wooden scooter and ride on a old fashioned bike.
Hope you get a chance to visit this amazing place.
Water play using a sink, is a great way to allow your child to still have fun playing and exploring water if you do not have room for a water tray. I saw this on social media and thought such a good idea. You can create lots of different scenes using props and toys.
B3 loves water and currently really into bugs so I created a swamp and filled it with bugs and water animals. He loved this and spent lots of time playing and making up stories. Then once you have all finished you simply pull the plug and let the toys dry.
Areas covered in this activity, communication and language and understanding the world.
My favourite season has arrived and I am over the moon. Everything from the colours, smells and sights I am in love with. The weather is not perfect especially if it rains, but the leaves and the conkers make excellent activities. One thing I like doing is a scavenger hunt for autumn objects.
I started our autumn theme with a sensory activity, with dyed rice, key words and conkers and acorns. B3 had lots of fun mixing, filling and emptying and counting. He also made up his own story with the squirrel and the nuts.
We talked about the textures and colours of the tree nuts. When we go out I got B3 to look out for the tree nuts and we collected more.
It is very easy to make the dyed rice, it is literally 3 steps and it took me less than 30 minutes to prepare it all. Activities for children do not have to be with lots of expensive items, it has to be inviting and interesting.
place rice in a sandwich bag
squeeze in paint and shake mix together
place on tray to dry and within 30 minutes it is ready to play with.
The rice will last a long time if kept in containers with lids on it.
Areas covered in this activity: communication and language, literacy, understanding the world and expressive arts and design,
Homemade playdough is so simple and very easy to make and you get hours of fun from it. I used these ingredients and it took less than 30 minutes to make.
2 cups of flour
1 cup of water
1 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of oil
food colouring (optional)
I mixed the dry ingredients together first then the wet ingredients, I sprinkle a little flour on the worktop and roll out the dough until light and not sticky. There are so many activities you can do with playdough.
It is perfect for fine motor skills, imaginative play, maths and communication. I make playdough mats to help guide play with my children.
Moon dough is perfect for babies especially as they like to put things in their mouths. unlike playdough it does not have salt in it. I used 1 cup of baby rice and 3 tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix together and that is it, perfect sensory activity.
When I first started nannying many years ago, it was a lonely and isolated affair. The area I worked in did not have many baby and toddler groups, soft play or classes locally. If I wanted to do anything we had to travel or we spent time indoors, lots of arts and crafts. As much as I enjoyed my job and looking after the little boy, I got very bored and returned to nursery work.
Fast forward to 2017, I started my new nanny job. My new place of work had nannies everywhere, this was the start of my nanny community, the difference was amazing. The nannies in the area met weekly at various activities and groups, I settled in quickly with the help of my new community.
Two years later I am still here and our community is growing. The benefits of having a nanny community are:
You have people to talk to close by who understand what you are going through, share tips and give advice.
Your Nanny children will have plenty of children to play and socialise with.
Last Christmas another nanny and I hosted a party for the children in our area, we had around 15 children and their nannies or parents come together for festive fun. Even though it was busy and loud, it was the best fun to see everyone coming together.
Some days can feel long or more tiring than others, but having a community of nannies around definitely makes a huge difference. Great ways to find a community is going to local playgroups, parks and libraries. Connecting with other nannies will make a difference your job. I believe so anyway.
The family I work for are luckily enough to have an apple tree in the garden and the time has come for yummy apples. So I thought it would be a great idea to make something yummy and get the little boy involved.
This was a fun and great for learning opportunities, including Maths; Communication and Language and Understanding the World (links to the EYFS).
I found a simple recipe online and we got baking.
Each step was a great opportunity to discuss steps and encourage independence (the whole process was supervised).
Once it was all prepared it was placed in the oven and we set a timer and waited. This became a lovely treat for after dinner.