Geography – North Yorkshire

Last week’s final Yorkshire session focused on North Yorkshire.

We made model lighthouses to commemorate Flamborough Head the oldest complete lighthouse (around 1670) in England.  Never lit a newer one stands nearby.


20140627_1And then York’s importance to the Chocolate industry by designing a chocolate bar.



West Yorkshire – Liquorice Art

I am a big fan of using as many different media as possible in art work.  The more unusual the better.

Today’s geography group was West Yorkshire and focused on Pontefract – Liquorice Town according to our book.  Turns out I am the only one to like Pontefract cakes.  However, they had more fun playing with making liquorice pictures than they’d had with the eating.

Face by Sam20140618_1

Face by Ewan20140618_2 Man by me20140618_4 Man on a bike by me20140618_7 Monk in a Viking attack (yes that is blood on the side of his head) – by Sam obviously20140618_8

House by me – yes I do forget this is for the kids at times.

20140618_10Another face by Sam
20140618_11Man on a tractor with sun and rain shower by Amelia

20140618_16Franz Ferdinand being shot by the ‘Black Hand’ by Sam – who obviously knows more about WW1 than I think.


Hitler sun – Sam and Amelia20140618_19

Then to mark Halifax as well and despite being the only adult in the house, we made a very simple toffee, with limited success.  Edible but very sticky – was only sugar and water we were dubious at best.  Special award goes to my friend who did not panic when she returned to find me dangling her 3 yo over the hob so he could have a go at stirring boiling sugar!


South Yorkshire

I think Yorkshire may be big enough to see us through to the end of term 🙂

Today we were on South Yorkshire.  The book focused on Sheffield and it’s connections to steel and silver and… nudity.

Decided that metal work was the way to go 😉

So we made some lovely butterflies and dragonflies from foil, wire and beads.


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Another day of being adaptable and winging it.  Geography group was a very interrupted affair, lots of dashing outside at the sound of engines to catch (or try to) sight of planes – stupid council picked bad timing to mow the verges, grr.

After a late start (so late we managed lunch first) we moved on to Lincolnshire.  It was from a Lincolnshire apple tree that the falling apple supposedly fell to inspire Newton’s theory of gravity.  So after discussion of gravity (which they all knew anyway), tieing in to local events too we made parachutes for Lego men.

A piece of plastic postal bag with slits cut in the corners and  wool tied through, with the four ends tied around a Lego figure.  They did need a bit of fixing with tape as they took a battering.

20140604_1720140604_14I had intended to make collage fish and chips for Grimsby too but parachutes (and drawing on my fence) were too much fun.

20140604_15Until there was a sudden strong gust and two sailed up and away (or into one of my neighbours gardens!) just in time for them to go in for Spanish!


Realised that I’d skipped Derbyshire on our journey around England with our Geography group so we backtracked.

Derbyshire=Peak District in my mind.

We looked at a relief map of England and discussed how it worked with the different colours.  Compared to Scotland and Wales and decided England is flat and Wales is Epic!

Then we made salt dough maps.

I’d photocopied a map of England and cut it out and glued it on card for each child.  They covered it in a thin layer of salt dough and then built up the relief based on the map.

20140521_5 When they’re dry we’ll paint them and add flags (cocktail sticks and paper) to mark places.

There followed some general playing with dough.


People of Nottingham…

This scene was reenacted many times in our house when Jack was younger.  Having got out the bows and arrows for me he gave us a quick reminder yesterday before heading off to school.



Yesterday’s Geography group took us to Nottingham.  So we had to do Robin Hood of course.

We did some outdoor cooking.  Having decided that hunting a deer was too much like hard work we settled for s’mores.



Followed by some archery practice at the target Sam had drawn on my fence (yes it has got the obligatory smiley face in the centre).  Somewhere along the line the boys gained a really good plastic bow, which has quite a good action – takes some practice though.



Then they built Nottingham Castle from wooden bricks and through bouncy balls at it to attack and destroy.  I had intended to be more organised and construct a catapult but for various reasons that never came about.  Looking on the positive kids didn’t care, throwing was fun, and I have a catapult building session in reserve.



This week’s Geography group on Leicestershire focused on the National Space Centre.

We made balloon rockets across my living room (no photo, I was balancing on a chair).

Investigated forming moon craters by dropping bouncy balls in flour.


Made puffy paint from pva and shaving foam and made moon pictures.


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This was followed by lots of mess and they made impromptu ‘reverse pictures’ – spread the puffy paint everywhere and then drew in it.  Brilliant stuff, so very tactile.


20140430_7While the adults got that mess up, the children went back to the flour.


A really fun, very messy session 🙂  Trying to work out what county I can tie filling a paddling pool of shaving foam to play with into!


Geography group fell on St George’s Day this week.  So we had to bring aspects of that in.  The fact that Northamptonshire is home to Althorp, the family home and burial place of Diana, Princess of Wales ‘England’s Rose’ gave us the tenuous link.

We made felt roses from a kit (I don’t advise it they were tricky).

20140427_2And iced some cakes.  I don’t think we’ll take up cake decorating.

20140427_3Then we honoured Silverstone and the British Grand Prix by potato printing chequered flags and building marble tracks to race marbles.


I fancied doing this but didn’t have time to go and buy a cheap noodle.


One of those times when the day was saved by Pete’s amazing ability to absorb and recall facts and my slightly compulsive tendency to hoard craft supplies.

The day began with a brainstorming of what we could come up with of interest to do with Bedfordshire.  Having discounted planes as we had focused on them recently, I was at the stage of planning how we could build a model airship when Pete came out with Luton FC are called the Hatters!

A quick Google search discovered that according to Wikipedia “The hat making industry began in the 17th century and became synonymous with the town. By the 18th century the industry dominated the town. Hats are still produced in the town but on a much smaller scale”.  Since this was the last Geography group of term what else could we do but Easter bonnets 🙂



Wednesday really didn’t go as expected.  That isn’t really a bad thing. Although in reality we did end up being quite close to the plan despite my willingness to abandon it completely, rather thanks to the stubbornness of a 6 year old girl.  But when they are keen roll with it 🙂

Illness and work commitments depleted numbers so I cancelled Spanish.  When friend showed up late I ran out to meet her, while the kids were still in the car to give her the option to head to Paulsgrove instead.  Kids had other ideas…so in they came to play 🙂

While they were eating lunch I picked up some craft stuff for them to do with the view that we’d save the ‘lesson’ for a week until the others were back.  No my original plans sounded more fun apparently!  Well had to go with it.

After the shortage of ideas last week for Hertfordshire there was so much we could do for Buckinghamshire.  In the end knowing I had this in the cupboard we settled on Bletchley Park and a day of codes and ciphers.


We made an Enigma machine and coded their names.

Semaphore could have gone on all afternoon!  This is Sam spelling SAM 🙂

124 125 126

Jack had created a picture code for them.


And we finished with some keyword ciphers.  Sam decoded a nice message inviting him to a party and send one saying …’my bum stinks’… sigh! Such a boy!