Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Train Trip

One of the brilliant aspects of childminding is that ,with our relatively small numbers, we are able to access areas of the community that are not so easy for larger settings. Today was no exception to this. We decided to go on a train trip. The timing was perfect as many of the children enjoy the small world train track within the setting and two of our gang had been on a steam train recently so it was good to show them the modern day alternative. 
We identified the signs within the local area that gave directions to the local station and the children took great excitement from following these and telling us which way to go. Once on the platform there was great excitement about having to climb over the bridge. All children followed instructions to stand behind the yellow line for safety. We watched several trains pass through the station before ours stopped. 

We boarded the train and the conductor sold us some tickets. He was generous enough to give each of the children their own special ticket. As the train moved the children pointed out aspects of the local area they recognised before we reached Plymouth Central Station. 

While waiting for the train home we looked at train timetables and platform numbers that we recognised. The older children initiated a role play amongst themselves where they pretended to be conductors, holding out their hands for the tickets and stamping them! As we arrived back at our starting point the train driver kindly waved goodbye to all the children and tooted the horn! 

Whilst this was a simple morning outing within the nearby community we covered all aspects of learning:-

PSED: The children all chatted on the train and took it in turns as they got on and off the vehicle
PD: We walked to the station and climbed the large bridge to cross the tracks safely
C&L: Instructions were followed and many questions were asked by the older children 
L: The children looked for the letters they could identify within the station and followed signs
N: We talked about the shapes of the fronts of the trains and looked at the numbers of the platforms
UTW: The children enjoyed being out in the community and learnt how the computer screens conveyed information. 
EA&D: The children initiated role play about being a train conductor 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Chinese New Year 2019

We aim to incorporate other cultural celebrations within the setting wherever we can in an age appropriate way. 

This year we have covered many areas of learning to celebrate Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the pig so the children engaged in a pig counting activity. They rolled the dice and counted out the correct number of pigs, placing them on a tray. This also promoted turn taking.  

For literacy and fine motor skills the children looked at the various animals that have represented each Chinese new year including rabbit and dragon. They identified the letter sounds from the picture cards and set about creating the animals using the small coloured shapes. 

Using chopsticks and coloured sand the children attempted to recreate Chinese letters as well as numbers. Some simply used the chopsticks to make swirling patterns in the sand. 

The children also got to express themselves in various ways through listening to Chinese music. They used musical instruments and danced with the dragon whilst waving coloured scarves to the music.  The children have definitely enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year!

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Christmas Activities 2018

The children get so excited about Christmas it is always great fun to find learning activities based around this theme. This year we have managed to find a wide range of activities that incorporate the children's interests. 

We have visited several places within the local community that have enabled the children to socialise and view a wide range of Christmas displays. These have included the fairy tale displays at Saltram where the children discussed the lost shoe of the princess in the display. We have visited Buckland Abbey where the children discussed the size of the Christmas trees and all the items that could form part of a snowman. We finally went to Endsleigh where the children picked out letters they recognised from the display. The younger ones loved the lights and the noise and a different play space to negotiate! Furthermore we have had some lovely fresh air in this cold December weather. 

We have done several activities including using fine motor skills to decorate the Christmas Trees and Christmas themed cards to write letters in the salt. We have also explored several sensory trays that have helped the senses and exploration of the younger children and enabling the older ones to create imaginative christmas stories. 

Finally we used our crafting skills to make some lovely sponge prints to take home to our parents. The older children were able to chose colours and make lovely star prints. The younger children used the sponges (and their fingers!) to move paint around that could be cut into some festive star shapes. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Highway Rat

On of my little ones loves the Highway Rat book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Malden Forest run a trail associated with the book so we thought it was time to take full advantage of the surrounding environment and plan a day trip. 

We had an amazing day out. The children loved finding the various checkpoints along the trail, discussing with their friends excitedly when they spotted a sign. Whilst doing this they talked about the story but also were so observant of the Autumn woodland. 

We talked about the colours of the flowers and leaves that they could see, spotted wild mushrooms and used their developing writing skills to complete an Autumn Checklist. Our youngest, not yet mobile, was able to explore the forest floor using her sense. 

We used counting skills to talk about the number of cones we could collect and birds we could spot. We discussed how the squirrels were gathering nuts ready for the winter. 

The children then enjoyed the play area and having a social picnic together. This learning was taken back to the home environment where the boys used available props to dress up as the Highway rat and to finish the day we read the story once more - what a fun day of learning that was!