Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Self direction with Sonic

My girly is trying to use a handheld Mega Drive. And getting really frustrated with it not doing what she wants.

It's hard to stand back and stop myself from showing her.

The litany of 'If you want to play you play, but if you're frustrated you can put it down,' is getting tiresome, but what is the alternative? What will she learn if I do it all for her?

I'm obviously happy to help her read and find what she's looking for, but I'm not going to play the game for her. I can facilitate her use of the game ('What happens when you press this button?' 'What's happening now?') but I won't tell her what to do.

And guess what this approach led to: she realised that to find the game she wants, she needs to read. 

She wanted 'Sonic and Knuckles,' so we worked out that it had 3 words and started with /s/. Then it was a matter of puzzling it out with logic. She found the game then realised there was another Sonic game underneath.

So, what have we learned by playing on the Mega Drive? Through the intrinsic motivation to play the game we want we have practised:

  • letter recognition
  • counting  
  • logic
  • whole word recognition and matching

Not bad for half an hour of work.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Banana and Date Breakfast Muffins!

Let's lighten things up a bit here!

I've been investigating making muffins for about 6 months now and finally think I'm getting the hang of it. 

I invented these with NP and they were well received by all, they are low on (added, refined) sugar and not too fatty (I think). I reckon they could be tarted up a bit more with some nuts to slow the release of the sugar, perhaps some chopped walnuts? 

So, so sorry there's no picture, I'll remedy that next time we make them. Have to say, there's some guesswork gone into remembering this, but I hope you enjoy them.

makes around 12 large muffins

150g self raising flour
50g wholemeal flour 
100g oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
50g soft brown sugar
c.100g chopped dates
3 really ripe bananas (the browner they are, the sweeter)
50g sultanas
1 large egg
60g melted butter
c.2 tbsp of milk (just for binding because the wholemeal flour sucks up liquid, add one at a time to make sure you're not adding too much)

Get some muffin tins ready in your preferred manner. Grease really well or use some paper cases. 
Put your oven on a high temp (gas 6 or 7, 200-220c, 400-425f) and put a tin filled with water in the bottom (the steam is supposed to help your muffins rise) 
You will be turning this temp down later - don't forget!
Mix the dry ingredients together by sieving them all into a bowl, then add the dried fruit and have a good stir. 
(if you chop the dates yourself you might want to roll them in cornflour before adding to the mixture to stop them clumping together) 
Mash the bananas to a good smush in a separate bowl then chuck them into the melted butter and whisk in the egg slightly. 
Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to a cakey-slop with some of the milk, don't take too long over this, make sure they're *just* combined. 
Spoon into the prepared tins (I fill them to the top and do a little peak in the middle so they rise like mini mountains :) 
TURN YOUR OVEN DOWN TO gas 4/180c/350f
Bake in the oven for 20-25mins. They will be nice and brown when they come out.

We love cooking with bananas and dates because they are lovely and sweet for baking, it might even be possible to reduce the amount of sugar you add, but that's an experiment for next time.

You can also change the proportions of flours, but remember, the more wholemeal you use, the more liquid it will suck up, making your cakes drier if you don't add more!

Please leave me a comment if you make these ;o)