Friday, 16 May 2014

Our first bloggers “event”

Last week we were invited along to London Zoo for the launch of Maynards Discovery Patch app and a creativity workshop. It was the first bloggers event we had ever been to so although initially a bit nervous it was a really fun day.


During the morning workshop there were 3 “stations” each of which had a different theme or focus for learning. Unfortunately I missed one of the stations as Doof was a bit too young to happily sit and watch the children’s entertainer they had provided and after he fell over and bished his forehead he needed some mummy cuddles and a sandwich. Everyone was so friendly though and didn’t mind when I slipped back in for the last 2. In case you are interested here is a rough summary of the 3 different areas and how they can be used to introduce fun and creativity:

-         The magical cave of Myths and Monsters was about story-telling and the use of a basic format with location/time/hero/villain. You can try starting a story and letting your child finish it, or take it in turns and alternate sentences to get a much more varied (and often crazy!) story than you could think of on your own. I’m really looking forward to when Doof and I can do this – it will be so interesting to see what his imagination is like :)
-         The Doctor’s surgery of body bits involved us playing with foam objects and demonstrated how easy it can be to make up fun games with everyday objects. This is something we do with Doof all the time – it helps with his imaginative play (pretending objects are things they aren’t), is a form of sensory play (using a range of textures, shapes etc) and encourages language development as we talk about different things he is exploring.
-         The safari animals game was designed to encourage imagination and self-confidence. Picture flashcards can be used as a prompt to act out the animal (this could even be fun for adults to play after a few glasses of wine…) or describing something about them. This is a particular favourite of ours (albeit in a very basic form at the moment!) as Doof is really into animal noises at the moment so we have lots of fun pointing out animals in books and as I say the actual name, he then makes the appropriate noise :)

One of the best bits about the day was how all the things Maynards talked about can be used day-to-day. When thinking about games to play, activities to do or just how to approach a mundane task in a more exciting way for a child – incorporating some of their ideas can make everyday life much more fun.

The final thing they introduced us to was the new Explore and Play app which uses augmented reality to make the surrounding environment come to life with interesting images and facts. We’ve especially enjoyed playing with the app and our favourite one is the animal version – although Doof is too young to understand the app at all that hasn’t stopped him charging around the park with a bag of Maynards in one hand (so we can scan the packet to pick up more clues) chasing after us as we try to collect bits of animals on the screen!

London Zoo

And finally, after the workshop, we then got to wander round the rest of the zoo – it was the first time we’d ever taken Doof and I did wonder if he was a bit little to really enjoy the animals… but he loved it! His favourite bits (as deducted by the amount of flapping and/or clapping he did!) were the butterfly house, the penguin pool, the giraffes and all the different monkeys. He also had fun in the children’s petting zoo with the massively furry goats but I was barred from that bit due to Doofling being on board :(


We enjoyed it so much I’m even thinking of getting an annual membership once my maternity leave starts – we would only need to go 3.5 times in a year to make it worthwhile which I think is definitely likely seeing how much Doof enjoyed his first visit :)

Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid for my involvement in this workshop but we did get free entry to London Zoo

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