Today we investigated this web site, www.medtropolis.com. On it is a virtual body with both narration and interaction on certain aspects of the human body. Having seen that Theo has been interested in skeletons in the past this was our first point of call. One of the puzzles was to build a skeleton from all the bones. Theo did this really quickly. We then moved onto the brain which had an animated section about neurones. The other two sections covered the heart and digestive system but by this point Theo was beginning to loose focus so we stopped after just watching the videos rather than trying to discuss it. I do not get the impression that the site is designed for children as young as Theo however the interactive element was good enough to hold his attention and teach him some basics about the human body.
Sadly we had to cancel Art Club on Friday as both Stephen and David had a tummy bug, but we re-scheduled for Monday 5th October. The boys had lots of fun.
We laid large sheets of paper on the kitchen floor, and with baking trays with a variety of coloured paints the boys were put in short trousers with only one rule. That once they had their feet in paint they had to stay in the kitchen, until they would be carried off to the bath!
We were well pleased with the results, the pictures were all different, but common to all was the detail of footprints right down to the skin prints, and little toe marks.
Amongst other things, while waiting for his guests to arrive Theo made food with playdough, leaving me free to pack up the many sales that I had accumulated today and pop out for cakes for our tea.
We had Guy and his mum Charlotte and sister Bebe over to play. Charlotte and I met at the recent Godstone Fire Station trip, and although our paths had crossed previously had not spoken in depth before. Realising that the boys were similar age with a similar disposition felt it would be worth getting them together. Theo is never keen on large crowds and hates the noise of large gatherings and we have now learnt that it is best to introduce new people into our circle of friends on our own home territory.
The boys got on and played well together from the moment that Guy arrived. As a break from playing they made felt puppets, one each, sharing the one needle, taking turns. Theo chose a duck, Guy the frog and his sister the bear.
When it was time for Guy to go home the pair were deeply engrossed in the task of making vehicles out of lego and k-nex.
Kevin has annual leave from work at the moment so we took a day out as a family and Leeds Castle proved a great destination.
We arrived before lunch, and enjoyed the organised talk at 12 noon in the bird aviary by one of the keepers. The talk was informative and interesting, containing anecdotes about the behaviours of the birds. The birds are bred in captivity and shared with other zoos around the world. Theo was especially taken with the Kookaburras, having been given a toy one the week before by his grandparents. He has became quite good at mimicking their call.
After a sandwich lunch in the open air we watched a falcon display. The castle has a moat using water that has been diverted from the local river. Theo learnt about the defence of a castle using a moat, and the reason for the Portcullis. After a walk around the grounds and the maze we relaxed in the children's recreation area.
On the way out of the estate at the end of the day we were lucky enough to see a hot air ballon being filled with air, and had we stayed longer, we could have seen it evenually take off.
Like many people I have been sceptical about Mind Maps until I started using the concept myself. I am not a very visual person so I tend to outline information I want to learn rather than create a map however the concept is the same. Theo however is very visual and very tactile, therefore creating pictures which can be moved around seems a logical step but how do we know if it is working?
Over breakfast this morning I asked Theo where hedgehogs live and without thinking he replied correctly. I then asked why a hedgehog has prickles and he proceeded be demonstrate how a hedgehog curls up into a ball so the prickles stick out. Although we had not created the picture yet he also remembered they had poor eyesight, because he remembered our discussion on drawing a hedgehog with glasses. The image was clearly in his head although not yet committed to paper.
Whilst this is very early days it is something that we will continue to see how far we can take it. After all if Boeing can use the concept to save an estimated $11 million in training engineers we should be able to advantage of it in educating a child.
If you are not familiar with Mind Mapping there is a book by the inventor Tony Buzan called "The Mind Map Book" which I would recommend.
Today, 22nd September, I thought I would introduce the concept of Mind Mapping. Having received a hedgehog soft toy from his Nanny we thought we would investigate the hedgehog in greater detail. Rather than just draw the map we have started to create a more interactive map.
First Theo painted some sheets of paper, which when dry we cut into strips to create the joining lines.
Then Theo drew a picture of a hedgehog to act as the central image.
Next we started to answer two questions Theo had namely where do they live and what the prickles for. This introduced the concept of a web search and we found a picture of a hedgehog nest and a picture of a hedgehog in a defensive ball.
We will continue to build up this map and start work on some others soon.
We three; Theo, Toby and I headed off to Hertfordshire around lunchtime Saturday for a short weekend away at Theo's grandparents. After a journey that took hours, awful traffic on the M25, we arrived in time for the boys to go swimming at Hemel Hempstead pool.
The main reason for the weekend away was Toby's Skid Pan Experience, booked at Silverstone for Sunday. It was fun to watch Toby in the skid simulated cars.
Friday morning 18th September, found us back at Steven & David's house for Art Club. Much fun was had playing in the garden, a little trampolining, and a shot at some abstract art. Theo says his picture is a window.