Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's exam season for college kids. Katie has NCEA level 1 this year, and had three exams this week, with two more to go. She is on study leave in between exams.

One of the pleasant side effects of it being exam season (and having study leave) is that she gets to spend a bit of time with the little kids. Usually they have gone home before she gets here after school.

It's always a good opportunity for the little kids to spend time with and talk to another friendly big person. Kate enjoys it too, and of course it's a help for me to have someone else to read books.

I was just wondering, though, at what age a two year old would identify a bigger person as another 'child', or as an 'adult', or whether and when they start to make this distinction. Elanor, at age 10, is so much bigger than them that she must seem a 'giant', even if she were normal height for her age!

For some reason I seem to have been remembering my camera on a Wednesday. I noticed that because there haven't been as many photos of Eva as of the other girls lately. This one was taken on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Parade

It's been a busy weekend. This afternoon we went to the Christmas parade. Now the girls are older we mostly go to watch out for friends who are in the parade itself. But today Sophie had the chance to be a clown in the parade, so we were watching out for her!

Model Train Exhibition

Bernard, Rowena, Sophie and Elanor went to the model train show yesterday. Bern's doing a 'guest post' about it.

Bernard says:

I went with three of our girls. While we were there Elanor and I stuck together while Rowena and Sophie went off to look at things themselves. There were all sorts of exhibits there. Most of the layouts were from model rail clubs from around the place (mostly Southern half of the North Island), but there were also exhibits from people selling gear, and a few individuals (who were probably selling gear on the side).

Not everything was trains, either. One group had a road loop that they had a bus and couple of trucks driving around (see photo). It looked very effective and we had to stop and ask how they did it. Apparently there is a wire underneath the road, which is magnetised, and the vehicles follow the magnetic path. Another exhibit had trolley-bus wires and trolley buses following the wires around (although this lacked the magic quality of the wire under the road).

There was also a group who are trying to revive the old fell engine route to Wairarapa. They explained to us how the engines work, and had a model of the special track they use and the mechanism for holding on to the track.

But what I found most interesting was the guy who makes models of very early train engines. He had a model of George Stevenson's early engine, and others from the 1820s to 1860s. One particularly interesting engine was an experimental model that operated on compressed air. It had been intended to be particularly fast, but in practice it did not work out that way, and had limited range to boot.

Friday, November 16, 2007

We have been having a lot of fun with Magnetix (TM) lately. Uncle Michael has collected this construction material for years and always brings his collection to play with with the girls when he visits. Now, Elanor has started collecting it herself. She just had her birthday and got three sets, so has a reasonable amount.

Magnetix started off as Stix'n'balls - plastic sticks about 3cm long with a magnet at each end, and steel ball bearings to join between. Having the balls (especially the largish balls) means you can join many sticks at one point, extending the number of geometric shapes you can construct with them. We used to have some cheap ones which are not as strong and have smaller ball bearings.

As the toy developed they put out other shapes, not just sticks. Started with longer lengths, shapes such as triangles (with magnets at several points around them), squares, diamonds, etc.

One of Elanor's sets has curved and bendy sticks in 2 lengths, and circle shapes with 4 magets around the edge. Also 2 lights, which work unreliably.

Anyway, we have all been having quite a lot of fun with these, though not so much the little kids as the pieces are small. But when Grace was the last child here on Wednesday, she and Elanor played with them, and she seemed to find them very entrancing. Magnets and very cool in any case, but it's nice to be able to play with a special toy with one of the big girls.

Photos off Google Images.

(haha - just worked out I can drag images around the post! Haven't tried that before.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


One of our themes lately has been "friends" - what friends do, how they treat each other, and so on. This comes into asking for a turn, sharing, having picnics together.

When walking around Brooklyn, friends hold hands. Eva and Cara in particular are motivated to walk up the hill because they get to hold hands with their friends.

Obviously, having the girls walk home from playgroup up-hill works for me too - a lot less weight in the buggy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now, it actually was a sunny day! - but Grace arrived with an umbrella, which became a focus of play for the day.

I found two more umbrellas for the other girls, and they paraded around outside, ending up having this 'conference' in the sandpit!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rainy day in the sandpit

You don't need it to be sunny to enjoy mucking around in mud!

It's raining just a bit now, and Isla arrived talking about splashing in puddles, so on went the gumboots and coats and out we went.

They have all been having a lovely time, washing the tea set in warm bubbly water, and digging around in the wet sand in the sandpit.

(This generally means more washing of tea set as it has got sandy again!)

A bonus is that the warm, bubbly water is ideal for washing sandy hands too.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Patchy connection

I have had trouble blogging as the internet connection has been so patchy lately. When I think of something to blog about, I can't get on; and when I can get on, my mind is blank!

We've had a great week with the little kids this week though. Quite windy, but the mornings were good each day, and we had a lot of sandpit plan, and general 'out-and-about-ness'.