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February Newsletter: The One With Our Trip to London



Hello, and welcome to my monthly newsletter! This is where I share the highs and lows of the past month, as well as the books and resources we have been enjoying. February has been a breath of fresh air after a difficult few months over the winter, and it's such a relief to feel my energy and zest for life returning. Things are still quite chaotic here, with our building project ongoing, but it's been so nice to be out and about in the world, doing some normal things the past few weeks.

Our Trip to London

Our trip to London was overwhelming and exhausting, but so much fun, and 100% worth it. I’m so very grateful to my Mum for making it happen for us (I took Bean to London on my own last September, but had a panic attack and heartbreakingly had to cut our trip short). My Mum is almost 70 and hadn’t been to London herself in over 20 years, yet insisted that we take Bean on the underground and was just generally very game about the whole experience.


Highlights included a trip to the Novello Theatre in the West End to see Mamma Mia, which was spectacular! Such a high energy performance, with colourful, joyful dance and uplifting song. We all loved it, even my Mum, who grew up in an era when it was desperately uncool to like ABBA. The entire audience was on their feet, dancing and singing, at the end. It was magical, and memorable.



We visited the Van Gogh Immersive Experience in Spitalfields the following morning, which was very moving and a completely new way of experiencing an art exhibition for all of us. I was glad to have timed the viewing of the exhibition in the middle of our Van Gogh project, as lots of his works were familiar to Bean, yet there was lots for us to follow up on too. She was so excited to see a full size reconstruction of Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom in Arles’, having just made her own 3D version at home.



In the afternoon we visited The Foundling Hospital Museum, which has been on our wish list for many years, having read about it in the fictional Hetty Feather series. I regret that we didn’t plan our visit for the following morning, as we were all so exhausted by the time we got there. As expected, it was incredibly moving. Each of those tokens represents a real new born baby, surrendered by a desperate mother.



Bean’s highlights by far though were the buffet breakfast at our hotel, and feeding the pigeons, squirrels and parakeets in St. James’s Park. A timely reminder that we can feel the need to plan exciting adventures for our children, but their needs are really quite simple.




Festivals and Celebrations Project Highlights

Right back at the beginning of February, we read a little about Jokkmokk Market in our reading spine, A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals.


Then the following week we had a lovely day learning about Lunar New Year. We started by reading Ruby's Wish, which retells the true story of a young girl wishing to go to University like her brothers, instead of marrying and moving out of the family home, which was the custom for young women of her time. Filled with Chinese customs and traditions, including references to the New Year celebrations, it made a lovely introduction.


We read about the New Year celebrations in A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals, and in the National Geographic Celebrate Chinese New Year, which included lots of photographs. Bean was inspired to dress up her Lottie Dolls for the occasion, making them some decorations so that they could join in the festivities. We finished the day by visiting our local Chinese take away, and ordering some yummy Chinese food for our dinner.


Valentine's Day

We also celebrated Valentine's Day on February 14th, with a special breakfast, sweet treats, and a trip to the Mall where Bean spontaneously decided to get her ears pierced.




Other Highlights


Creative Projects

Bean has enjoyed joining in with some of the prompts for our Process Art challenge this February, as well as working on some creative projects for our Van Gogh project, and making a picture to contribute to the Home Ed art exhibition which is taking place this March.


Titanic

We've been learning a bit about the Titanic this month too. We read about it in the book Eye Witness Titanic, as well as watching the film and documentary, and visiting a little exhibition.




Building Project

Building work here over the past few weeks has been intense. The first photograph here is how it was looking at the end of January. The roof is now on, as well as the fascia boards and guttering. The outside is also rendered. Inside, the insulation is in, but we are waiting for the steels to arrive before they can knock through. Every time I speak to the builder, the completion date moves forward by another week, but every day that passes we get closer. If you're thinking about embarking on a building project, I recommend that you consider whether it would be easier to move!


31 Days of Meaningful Maths

Did you know that I am launching a brand new play and learning guide this coming March, with a DAILY EMAIL landing in your inbox every day from the 7th - 31st March? It is called 31 Days of Meaningful Maths, and will include lots of maths provocations, activities and games, using simple resources, many of which you may already have at home.


The guide has been written for parents and childcare professionals living and working with children from 2-8 years (ish), with adaptations for the very young and extension ideas. Bean and I will be joining in on our Instagram stories, so that you can see how I extend the activity suggestions for an older/more able child (she's 10). It's not too late to join us, but this is your last reminder. Booking closes on March 4th.




You can see the full material list here.



Books

We are still having a break from buying books while building work takes place here, but we did pick these up in TKMaxx back in December, while we were waiting to collect our rescue guinea pig.



365 Words Every Kid Should Know


Kaleidoscope Sticker Mosaic: World Landmarks


Tangled Fantasies: 52 Drawings to Finish and Colour



 

Here are the blog posts I've shared this month, just in case you might have missed them.



Painting with Children: Where to Start and What to Do

Process Art Valentine's Day Card Tutorial

Learning About Vincent Van Gogh: A Unit Study


 

If you have enjoyed reading this monthly newsletter, and don't want to miss another one, perhaps you might like to subscribe? I can promise not to flood your inbox with spam (but I can't promise that I'll remember to send newsletter reminders either!) Scroll down to the bottom to subscribe. Also, if you have a specific request for the blog, please drop me a message at contact@invitationstoplay.org


Next month, I'll be sharing some posts on social media and here on the blog with a maths focus, including some book and resource recommendations. I should finally have a grand reveal of our finished extension, as well as all the usual project updates and book recommendations too.



With love,

Rowan x


This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.



#monthlynewsletter #bookreviews #bookrecommendations

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