Creating stories and learning road safety at our online family support group

It’s been a few weeks since our last family support group update and a lot has been happening…

Buntingford Family Group

Creating stories for storytime

Mid May saw us continuing with the national ‘tell a story’ theme. We chatted to parents about making up their own unique stories with their children, and we plan to make puppets with our families that they can feature in the stories. Can’t wait to hear about their imaginary adventures!

We had plenty of opportunity to chat about the week gone by and to share the highs and lows; supporting each other with praise and encouragement. The children got involved in a scavenger hunt for different coloured items and joined in with some of the dance moves that we learnt from Naomi in the previous week.

We rounded the session off with a fabulous story called Giant, read by one of our lovely volunteers.

Exploring textures and touch

During the last week of May, we looked at texture, touch and storytelling. We shared tips gathered from our positive parenting sessions with Helen Meridew and talked about the importance of touch to aid wellbeing.

A hug, a rub on the back, a simple touch on the arm are all good ways of releasing endorphins and making us feel better. This is especially important at the moment as we are missing contact with social distancing.

The children were encouraged to find things in their home or garden that had a textured pattern that they could feel with their fingers. We then practised putting them under a piece of paper and rubbing them with a crayon to create a pattern of the item hidden underneath.

Home-Start bear got involved in storytime – we made up a story about Peter the puppet trying to make friends but the other toys were too busy. Home-Start bear helped by listening and supporting Peter to find other ways to encourage them to play with him. He invited them to a party and everybody came. Peter said thank you to Home-Start bear for helping him.

Learning about road safety

At the beginning of June, we had Child Safety Week as the central theme to our family support groups for the week.

We shared the Child Accident Prevention Trust resources and watched a road safety video (see below), and learnt the words and actions to a song called “Stop, look, listen, think” and practised this together.

For our craft activity, we recycled plastic containers to make shakers and used them to play along at singing time. To reinforce the children’s understanding of the word and the sign for STOP we played a stop-start game with our shakers, playing fast and slow, quiet and loud.

We finished off the session with a wonderful story called ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.

Royston Family Group

Celebrating birthdays and making owls

Mid May session and there was lots of lovely interaction between the families this week. We sang Happy Birthday to one of the children who turned 3 this week, and we even had one family take a break from a cycle ride to join in from the edge of a field!

Everyone had the opportunity to share news and to comment on what they would like us to include in our group sessions in future.

The children took part in a scavenger hunt and practised some of the dance moves that we learned in the previous week. Owls were made with paper plates and pine cones ready for next week’s owl story which has been written especially for Home-Start by one of our talented volunteers. We are also encouraging the children to make up their own stories to share with the group.

The session was rounded off with a wonderful rendition of The Gingerbread Man by another volunteer, who made some lovely puppets to illustrate the story. (Click here to see a video on how to make gingerbread men.)

Remembering to be kind to ourselves

Another weekly session in May saw us continuing the theme of kindness and wellbeing. We talked about being kind to ourselves as well towards others.

We congratulated the parents on all the good things they do for their families and encouraged them to recognise this themselves. It is important to focus on what we can do rather than what is out of our control.

Using last week’s owl craft activity for inspiration, one of our volunteers told us a story that she had written about Ozzy the wise and kind owl and how he helped his woodland friends. This was a lovely story with an important message that was enjoyed by adults and children alike.

As well as the ever-popular songs and rhymes, we also learnt how to plant cress seeds in an empty yoghurt pot. This is a lovely simple way to teach children about growing without having to wait very long for results. We look forward to seeing them grow over the next few weeks.

Making collages and homemade stories

We continued our activities around textures for the last week of May, learning how to make a collage picture by cutting out the rubbing patterns we had made. We also talked about looking for textures outdoors such as leaves, tree bark, brick walls etc. This could provide an additional focus to outdoor play.

There was a lovely selection of stories created by the children which warranted plenty of applause. One child told us the story of a princess who wished to be a doctor, another told the story of a child who broke the rules and went outside to play. Needless to say, they all lived happily ever after.

We also enjoyed hearing Monkey Puzzle, a story about a monkey who was searching for his mummy, beautifully read by one of our wonderful volunteers. We sang and danced, and ended with our goodbye song and lots of happy waving.

Road safety and making playdough

Continuing with our child safety theme, during the first week of June’s session we practised the ‘Stop, Look, Listen, Think’ road safety song and had fun with stop and go games.

We learned how to make simple paper fans that can be used to cool us down in the hot weather or to decorate our rooms. There was also a demonstration for making playdough, with lots of play ideas and discussion about the learning benefits for children.

We heard about the transition back to pre-school for some children and how much they were enjoying being with other children in their ‘bubble’ groups.

Our story today was another instalment in the adventures of Libby the Lockdown Cat who attended the VE day celebrations, making new friends in the process. The children chose to do some more dancing at the end of the sessions, so we had a bit of a rave to a mixture of classical and dance, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

We need your help!

Although restrictions are being adapted and changed week to week, continuing with the family group weekly video meetings are helping us to continue to engage with our families and children.

We have had some amazing results and are constantly looking for new, fun and interesting activities that everyone can get involved in.

The feedback from our families has been great – these video group sessions mean so much to then in these difficult times. But, we really do need your help if we are to continue to bring these services to them.

Thank you for your support,

The Home-Start Team

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