The amount of time young children are kept strapped in buggies or car seats should be kept to a minimum, while developing an active lifestyle should be a priority.
Not only is the amount of exercise a child a significant factor in avoiding obesity, but it’s also linked to healthy brain development.
An active lifestyle should be encouraged from birth, including playing on activity mats or going swimming. Once a child can walk they should be moving around for at least three hours every day.
Some parents may find it hard to believe that their child could fail to be active for just three hours every day, yet it’s a sad fact that some young children are not encouraged to exercise. Recent figures from the Department of Health suggest that just one in three children aged between two and 15 get the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, said that there was considerable evidence that allowing children to crawl, play or roll around on the floor was essential.
“Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential,” she said.
“I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours,” she continued. “Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”
Aiming to keep things fresh, fun yet comforting for very young children, the CBeebies channel has moved a few favourites around in the 6pm-7pm “Bedtime Hour”.
Back is old favourite Charlie and Lola, followed by 64 Zoo Lane, In the Night Garden and the CBeebies Bedtime Stories.
First broadcast on CBeebies in 2005, Charlie And Lola is based on the award-winning books by Lauren Child and follows the everyday cartoon adventures of inquisitive little sister Lola and her ever-patient brother Charlie.
And 64 Zoo Lane takes viewers on an adventurous tour of the globe as seven-year-old Lucy catches up with the animated antics of her myriad animal friends including Herbert the Warthog, Georgina the Giraffe and Isobel the Flamingo.
“We know that the bedtime hour is an important part of families’ evening routines and we’re sure that children will be delighted to settle down with some familiar friends as they prepare for bedtime,” said controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow.
It’s possible to catch up on all CBeebies programmes at any time via the special CBeebies iPlayer.
CBeebies and the BBC writersroom have partnered, introducing a writing competition for those who want to write for a pre-school audience.
Get A Squiggle On! is designed to give aspiring writers an opportunity to develop their skills.
You might never have written for a pre-school audience; you might be new to writing completely. What we are interested in is original stories, authentic voices and compelling characters that are rooted in identifiable places anywhere in the country (from the Scillies to Shetland, Newry to Newcastle) and of course that connect with our audience.
But wherever you set it, remember to let your imaginations run wild!
We are looking for 20-minute live action scripts. They can be written in any contemporary genre, including Drama, Comedy, Music, Dance, Puppets, Educational (with a light touch) or a combination of more than one. This opportunity is open to anyone interested in writing for CBeebies.
A shortlist of 20-25 writers will be invited to a masterclass and the final 8-10 shortlisted writers will spend an intensive residential week developing their work, bolstering their writer’s ‘toolbox’ and craft, and working with the CBeebies team.
Full details are available at the writersroom web site.
By Andy Merrett
Oct 26, 2010
Over a third of parents are confused about or unaware of how toddlers’ nutritional needs differ from those of adults. Guest blogger Dr Gill Harris, psychologist and member of the Infant & Toddler Forum, explains how the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers can help.
Despite its importance, toddler nutrition is a subject that is often overlooked. Advice on what to feed toddlers can seem inconsistent or confusing, and it can be difficult for parents to know who to trust.
That’s why, this summer, the Infant & Toddler Forum launched Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers. Available for free at littlepeoplesplates.co.uk, the Ten Steps are an easy-to-use guide on what food to offer toddlers and how best to manage mealtimes.
The Ten Steps have been designed so that anyone involved in a toddlers care, be it the parent, the nursery carer, a grandparent or a baby sitter, can easily follow these simple rules. That way parents need not worry about how their child eats when fed by others.
We designed The Ten Steps to dispel some of the myths about feeding toddlers, and provide some reassurance and clarity. They cover all aspects of toddler health, encouraging good habits for health, growth and development. Step one, for example, suggests that families eat together, and strive for happy, relaxed mealtimes. Another encourages a routine with three meals and two to three snacks a day.
The toddler years are difficult, because it’s a time when children start to reject food, rather than earlier in infancy, when they learn to accept food. They start to challenge their parents, and this is tricky because they may not only refuse new foods, but refuse the foods that they’ve happily eaten before.
Step two addresses this by suggesting that you decide which nutritious foods to offer, but let your toddler decide how much to eat. A toddler should eat what they need to eat. That’s always a difficult thing for parents to accept: but toddlers can regulate their own appetite, over the course of several days.
To read all of the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers along with other information and handy tools on feeding toddlers, visit www.littlepeoplesplates.co.uk/ten-steps.html. The Steps are also available to order or as a download.
Dr Gill Harris is a Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist at The Children`s Hospital, Birmingham, UK.
It’s produced in high definition and using cutting-edge computer-generated animation.
Twenty-five episodes are scheduled, with synopses as follows:
Episode one – The Octonauts And The Whale Shark
When Dashi is accidentally swallowed by a whale shark, the Octonauts venture inside the huge fish to rescue her.
Episode two – The Octonauts And The Undersea Storm
When Kwazii’s Gup-B breaks down in a storm, not even brave Captain Barnacles Bear can save him alone. Fortunately, a chain of reef lobsters lends a hand – and some claws.
Episode three – The Octonauts And The Crab And Urchin
Barnacles and Kwazii investigate a disruption on a nearby reef – a carrier crab and the urchin who lives on its shell just can’t seem to get along.
Episode four – The Octonauts And The Walrus Chief
When Peso’s precious medical kit is taken, Captain Barnacles Bear and Kwazii sneak into a dangerous walrus colony to get it back – disguised as a walrus!
Episode five – The Octonauts And The Flying Fish
When a school of flying fish accidentally make off with a rare book belonging to Professor Inkling, the Octonauts rig up the Gup-B to fly after them and get it back.
Episode six – The Octonauts And The Giant Squid
The Octonauts set out to find and photograph Inkling’s long-lost cousin, the elusive Giant Squid.
Episode seven – The Octonauts And The Orcas
When a huge Orca whale becomes stranded on a beach, Captain Barnacles Bear and the Octonauts devise a plan to pull him back into the water, with some help from a group of tunnelling Fiddler Crabs.
Episode eight – The Octonauts And The Great Algae Escape
Captain Barnacles Bear and crew must catch a runaway Octopod when it’s hijacked by a group of crustaceans trying to escape their algae-infested waters.
Episode nine – The Octonauts And The Remipedes
When Shellington gets lost in a dark sea cave, he gets unexpected assistance from some blind Remipedes.
Episode 10 – The Octonauts And The Speedy Sailfish
When all the Gups go out of control, Captain Barnacles Bear and Kwazii leap onto the backs of speedy Sailfish to round them up.
Episode 11 – The Octonauts And The Blobfish Brothers
The Octonauts must evacuate sea creatures before an underwater volcano erupts, but there’s one creature that won’t budge – a slow-moving, gelatinous Blobfish.
Episode 12 – The Octonauts And The Monster Map
The Octonauts follow an old map to what Kwazii believes is treasure guarded by a sea monster but, instead, they meet a playful Octopus with all kinds of surprising abilities.
Episode 14 – The Octonauts And The Albino Humpback Whale
The Octonauts help out an albino humpback whale with a nasty sunburn.
Episode 15 – The Octonauts And The Giant Kelp Forest
When Kwazii’s favorite sub, the Gup-B, goes missing, the Octonauts journey into a mysterious kelp forest, meeting strange and interesting creatures along the way.
Episode 16 – The Octonauts And The Enemy Anemones
The Octonauts and some helpless crabs are caught between two territorial groups of aggregating anemones – and their numbers are growing!
Episode 17 – The Octonauts And The Narwhal
While exploring the Arctic, the Octopod gets trapped in the ice. Only Barnacles’s skillful navigation, and the help of a friendly Narwhal, can get them free.
Episode 18 – The Octonauts And The Midnight Zone
While exploring the deepest part of the ocean, the Midnight Zone, the Octonauts discover a strange rock that happens to be home to a new species of worm.
Episode 19 – The Octonauts And The Snapping Shrimp
The Octonauts encounter a snapping shrimp – a small creature that uses its claws to make a big, and stunning, noise.
Episode 21 – The Octonauts And The Giant Whirlpool
The Octonauts race against time to rescue Tweak’s pal, a leatherback sea turtle who’s caught in a fast-moving ocean current that’s sucking it into a whirlpool.
Episode 22 – The Octonauts And The Hermit Crabs
When Captain Barnacles Bear and most of the crew are unable to return to base, it’s up to Peso and Tweak to remove a stuck hermit crab from its shell.
Episode 23 – The Octonauts And The Mixed-Up Whales
When the Octonauts clean and repair their ship, the Octopod, the resulting noise causes a nearby blue whale to act in strange and dangerous ways.
Episode 24 – The Octonauts And The Kelp Forest Rescue
When Peso’s little brother, Pinto, comes to visit, he’s more interested in being a pirate than a medic – at least until he accompanies Peso on a mission to rescue Dashi and Shellington in a kelp forest.
Episode 25 – The Octonauts And The Decorator Crab
When important objects go missing from their ship, the Octonauts stake out the thief, who turns out to be a decorator crab stealing their things to decorate his shell.
Each ten-minute programmes initially airs at 4.50pm on weekdays, but is repeated elsewhere on the CBeebies channel and will also be available via the BBC iPlayer.
Hundreds of toddlers across the UK are participating in a new programme created especially for them, ‘TinyTalk Toddlers’. Developed by the team behind the successful TinyTalk Baby Signing Classes, TinyTalk Toddlers focuses on children who are starting to walk and talk with a more physical, interactive experience.
With new themes to explore each week, TinyTalk Toddlers encourages and supports the children’s speech and language understanding and expression through songs, signs, books and musical instruments. It also recognises that toddlers are always on the go so there is a wide range of language development activities, quality books and even a parachute!
“At the TinyTalk Toddler classes we have a lot of fun! Without the children even realising it, we’re also focusing on their understanding and development of speech,” says Katie Mayne, founder of TinyTalk, an ex-primary school teacher and a mother of two. “Signs still play a
valuable supporting role though, as everyone learns to talk (or walk!) at different stages! We also make time for communicational and behavioural ‘etiquette’, so teamwork, conversational turn-taking and that elusive concept of ‘sharing’ are also encouraged…..”
TinyTalk offers baby signing and toddler classes right across the United Kingdom and Ireland and is seeing a significant increase in demand. More and more families are seeking to experience the enormous benefits of early communication and understanding with their little ones. Mayne explains, “Contrary to popular belief, sign language actually encourages spoken
language rather than hindering it. Even tantrums are reduced! Families who attend our classes quickly find out that their babies and toddlers are little chatterboxes, full of so many things to say!”
In the Ministerial Foreword to “Better Communication”, the Government’s action plan to improve services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, Ed Balls, MP and Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and Alan Johnson, MP and former Secretary of State for Health state, “Speech, language and communication are crucial to every child’s ability to access and get the most out of education and life.” They continue, “Creating an environment in which every child develops effective speech, language and communication skills….is a challenge for everyone working with children and young people, from speech and language therapists….to parents.”
So, at a time when serious concerns are being raised about the low level of communication skills of children entering pre-school, the TinyTalk Baby Signing Classes and now TinyTalk Toddlers are top of their class! Through them, thousands of families across the UK have the chance to give their babies and toddlers a strong foundation in communication, for a lifetime of language and learning development.
To join them or for more information about the classes, visit the TinyTalk website or ring 01483 301444.
Justin Fletcher, known to many as Mr Tumble and presented of Something Special, will perform a series of madcap skits and sketches in Gigglebiz (official CBBC Gigglebiz web site).
It will be CBeebies’ first live action sketch show, due to air this summer.
The series of 25 episodes is a rambunctious collection of short, simple, funny sketches packed with lively, hilarious and eccentric individuals including:
- King Flannel: a decrepit old rogue with a penchant for trying to outwit his butler or generally misbehaving without being caught.
- The Berito Brothers: a slightly faded troupe of past-their-best acrobats. Two of them have still got what it takes but the third: Justin, obviously: most definitely hasn’t!
- Gail Force: a glamorous weather reporter with an uncanny knack of forecasting weather conditions which happen only to her … and not always in the most obvious ways!
- The Lost Pirate: an out-of-time pirate on the constant lookout for treasure with the aid of his map (complete with “x marks the spot” instructions). He travels around in a little kayak for paddling across water: whether that’s the water feature at the local park or the fountains in a shopping mall.
- Nana Knickerbocker: Nana lives her entire life as though she’s in a panto. She invokes all the catchphrases and traditions of a panto, but mainly in completely inappropriate places: like the supermarket. Or shoe shopping! She’s even given to throwing random bags of sweets at total strangers.
Justin Fletcher said: “With 20 characters in all, let’s be honest, this is just a big excuse for me to dress up in funny costumes every day and be silly. It’s such brilliant fun to do.
“We gave some characters a test run in the summer with a pilot show and feedback was really strong, so I’m so excited to be back and making a full series! You could say, I’m in the truly biz of making them giggle!”
Using signs and gestures with babies can enhance their communication skills and allow them to learn to talk more quickly, according to research by scientists at the University of Chicago.
The research confirms previous studies that show a strong link between gestures and spoken language, finding that babies who use gestures to communicate, at an early age, have large spoken vocabularies compared to their non-gesturing peers by the time they reach school age.
“Babies have so much to say- even before they can talk. Babies who sign, usually learn to speak much more quickly and more clearly than babies who don’t,” said Katie Mayne, founder of TinyTalk, an ex-primary school teacher and a mother of two. “Signs are like Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpictures’ for babies, helping them to understand what is being said to them. The signs also help the children to express themselves much earlier too. Their communication attempts promote growing self-confidence and self-esteem which, in turn, leads to further communication! Importantly, through signing, children also make early attempts at speech.”
TinyTalk offers baby signing classes right across the UK and Ireland and is seeing a significant increase in demand. More and more families are seeking to experience the benefits of early communication with their little ones. Mayne explains, “Contrary to popular belief, sign language encourages spoken language rather than hindering it. Even tantrums are reduced! Signing babies are happy babies, able to understand and be understood, and happy babies mean happy carers! Families who attend our classes tell us that their babies and toddlers are little chatterboxes, full of things to say!”
Actress mum Tori Spelling has put her name behind a new campaign to encourage parents and kids to easier, more fun potty training.
This year, some six million parents in the US will begin potty training their toddlers, and while this is exciting it can also be quite intimidating.
To celebrate her almost two-year-old son Liam’s potty training debut, and help families across the country say farewell to diapers, Tori has teamed up with Pull-Ups training pants to groove to the Potty Dance – the new toddler dance craze introduced by the Pull-Ups brand – to help motivate her son to success.
“Liam is growing up so fast, including his growing interest in the potty,” said Spelling. “While as a mom it’s bittersweet to watch my little boy grow up, we want to applaud this big moment with an activity he’s already crazy for – dancing. I’ve partnered with the Pull-Ups brand to kick-off Liam’s potty training with a celebration I know he will love, and an activity I know will keep me positive, the Potty Dance.”
Watch the video and get the moves over at DoThePottyDance.com
By Andy Merrett
Feb 10, 2009
“The BBC must remain a cornerstone of high-quality, UK-produced children’s content. This role is even more important given widespread concerns that other public service broadcasters are reducing their investment in children’s output.”
That’s the recommendation of the BBC Trust, which oversees the work and output of the BBC, in a review published today.
It said that BBC’s services and content for children were “performing very well”. While identifying some areas for improvement, it “congratulated staff for the performance they have achieved with the resources available.”
Key findings of the report included:
- Children’s content is popular and appeals to a wide audience
- BBC services generally outperform commercial providers in terms of usage levels and quality measures
- The services make an important contribution to the BBC’s public purposes and, on the whole, offer good value for money for the licence fee payer
Recommendations for improvement included:
- Scheduling decisions should prioritise children’s output unless there is a strong public value reason for not doing so
- Newsround and Blue Peter make an important contribution to the BBC’s citizenship and global public purposes but audience levels have been falling in recent years and this decline has been exacerbated by recent schedule changes. The BBC Executive should boost audience numbers for content which contributes to these purposes
- The arrangements for children’s audio will have to change in light of very low audience numbers. The BBC Executive is developing a new proposal for consideration by the Trust
- The BBC Executive should develop plans to address the decline in usage of the CBBC website
Controller of BBC Children’s, Richard Deverell, said, “There can be no better stamp of endorsement on the work we are doing than from the parents and children who say they love and value what we do on CBeebies and CBBC. It’s a testament to the hard work, commitment and passion of everyone working on these services.”
What do you think of the BBC’s provision for children on TV, radio and the Internet?
Barefoot Living has announced a new innovation in flooring. Designed for use in nurseries and playrooms, and with a range of bright and bold designs, Bounce is springy, seamless, easy to clean, and made from recycled material.
Designed by mums at the flooring company, Bounce is installed by Barefoot Living’s own expert fitters.
Company owner Dawn Gibbins MBE said that mums wanted something safe, sustainable and easy to look after.
“The floor is nice and springy, so it absorbs knocks and bumps, but it is still really hard-wearing and – because it’s seamless and a sealed surface – it’s easy to clean too.
“It is a great surface for children to stretch their little toes and walk barefoot.”
Download the kids’ party podcast to make your life easier on that special day
Your child’s party is one of the golden moments in life – both for you and them. But of course there’s a lot of planning to be done before hordes of excited children pour through your front door!
In order to make life a little easier we’ve prepared the Organix party podcast full of handy hints and four party games – complete with disco soundtrack supplied by our friends at Baby Loves Disco! There’s musical statues, pass the parcel and musical chairs to get everyone moving – then a tranquil game of sleeping lions when it’s time to wind things down again.
The podcast can literally be left to play and run the party – we’ve set it for a party of ten children so there are enough gaps for the winner to be chosen. Of course you can pause at anytime should you want to stop for a snack!