October is my favourite month. The humidity is gone, the sun is still shining and sometimes, if we are really lucky – it will rain. Coming from Ireland where it always rains, you would imagine that we have had enough rain to last us a lifetime, but that isn’t the case. The other benefit to October is that we can get out and about after spending months running from air-conditioned place to air-conditioned car. Whilst we absolutely adore the summer and having the ability to go to the beach as often as we want, sometimes what we really crave is a walk in the park or an hour spent looking for bugs, snakes and spiders. Two weeks ago, we took advantage of the fact that the weather had really changed and went on a minibeast hunt on the hill in our village, Oroklini.
I was debating how we would manage to record what we were looking for and what we found and I had all these wonderful ideas of me creating graphics and checklists and then I thought better of myself. I would have easily spent hours doing it only for the smallies to spend an hour using them and then I would have been pissed off that I spent hours doing something that I could have found online. I had a quick look on Twinkl and low and behold, they had a minibeast checklist. I know I mentioned before that we are using the twinkl resources to teach Alex and Emma English, but there is so much more that you can do, besides teach in a convential way. Twinkl literally have everything that you could possibly need if you want to encorporate some educational aspects into playing with your children. Alex and Emma spend 10 hours a day in playschool and a good portion of that time is spent learning and as a result I don’t want them to come home and think that they need to sit down and start learning all over again. I want to be able to incorporate resources into activities that we are doing, as opposed to incorporate our activities around our resources and Twinkl really allow that to happen.
We started off by going through the checklist with Alex and Emma. We talked about what we needed to find and where we may possibly find them. We spoke about how to mark them off on the list and then off we went. What I really loved about the checklist is first, it wasn’t chockablock full of beasts that we wouldn’t be able to find and secondly, the pictures were large and bright and easy to distinguish. One thing to note is that this checklist isn’t 100% relevant to Cyprus and we did struggle to find one or two of them (I’m looking at you, worms!). However Twinkl does provide you with the ability to edit their resources and if you can’t do that, they can make different resources available. A quick email to them and they can let you know whether they can help or not.
(Alex spent a large amount of time on Michael’s shoulders and by the time we got home he was complaining of a pain in his shoulders. By the look of the last picture, Alex might be getting too tall!!!)
We spent about an hour on the hill just wandering around and looking at the environment around us. Alex is nearly 5 and it never ceases to amaze me just how much wonder I get out of seeing something through their eyes for the first time. The excitement they felt was amazing and put Michael and me in such a good mood as a result! Emma’s favourite thing to do was to throw stones as far as she could (about 2 feet!) and watch them land in the sand. They also both loved lifting up rocks to see what was living underneath and if they could check something off their checklist. We did have to remind them that they had to be careful as sometimes there can be snakes hiding by the rocks. It is so strange to hear us say these things as it is 100 million miles removed from our childhood in Ireland.
Water is a hard thing to come by in Cyprus, particularly at this point in the year when we have gone the best part of 5 months without rain. There had been a few light showers a day or two before and we had hoped to come across some muddy puddles to allow them to tick off pond, but unfortunately they had all dried up. In the end Alex decided that the sea was the biggest puddle he had ever seen!!!
When we eventually managed to convice the smallies it was time to leave (there was a very large, very black cloud heading towards us) but they were not entirely happy to go home. That is when I remembered that I had printed off some minibeast colouring sheets along with the checklists. They both had so much fun colouring and talking about the afternoon. And it allowed me some time to cook the dinner in peace! Listening to them chatting away and discussing the spiders and lizards was hilarious!
What I love most about the Twinkl resources is that they are so versatile and easy to integrate into something that we are already doing. The kids can have as much (or as little) guideance as they need to complete the tasks and activities. I usually spend some time every Friday picking out some activities for the weekend that will allow me to get some cleaning and cooking done in peace!
I have some great plans for Twinkl over the next few months, particularly for Christmas! I will even be using some resources for a new book-themed day that I have planned next month.
Let me know in the comments if you have ever been on a minibeast hunt.
Twinkl have given me a free subscription in return for a review – but as always all thoughts and opinion are my own!