Friday, 31 May 2013

Caterpillar to Butterfly

This project has created much excitement from children ranging from one to six year of age. We purchased some tiny caterpillars and watched as they grew bigger and bigger, checking them each day and being totally fascinated by them crawling around. 

 After several weeks our caterpillars began to adopt their J shape, hanging from the roof of the pot and changed into a chrysalis. We transferred them into our net waiting for them to hatch into butterflies. 

After several more weeks and daily checks by the children one of our butterflies emerged, closely followed by the rest. The children helped to feed them sugar solution through dropping it onto flowers within their net. We also fed them orange but, contrary to popular belief they were pretty unimpressed with this! 

Finally, once we had admired our new arrivals it was time to let them go. The children opened up the net and, giving them a helping hand, off they flew. I was instantly asked when we were getting more caterpillars!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Water Bead Sensory Play

Water beads, often used by florists in their displays, make a fantastic sensory experience for young children. The older boys were fascinated as the beads grew from a tiny seed like size to large water filled marbles. 

To add to the play we created an animal theme using shells and our plastic wild animals. The boys used the shells and cake cases to scoop the beads out. Our youngest member was fascinated with trying to pick them up but they are pretty slippery although he soon discovered that he could flip them out using a spoon!

The older boys invented stories about making cakes and feeding breakfast to the animals as well as counting the beads. We are now watching the beads as the water evaporates and they shrink back down. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Stained Glass Art

Today we made stained glass art using just wax paper, lots of paint and some old milk bottle lids. I thought the end result was lovely and worth displaying for the sun to enhance the colours.  
I gave each child some wax paper and encouraged them to cover the surface with lots of paint (this did not take that much encouragement!). When they were done I gave them some bottle lids and showed them how to twist the lids in a circle to make circles and swirls in their pictures. 

 We let the pictures dry overnight and then hung them in the window to catch the morning sunlight with some very bright results. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Mini Beast Sensory Tub

This activity kept children ranging from 1 to 4 years of age well entertained for a wet afternoon. I constructed a sensory tray in line with our current theme of mini-beasts. 

I used some rice and coloured it green then added some leaves, pebbles and some mini-beast toys. This was a great success and, as ever, prompted some really fun imaginative play. 

Initially the boys were fascinated with making the beasts sit on the pebbles and then tried to hide them using the leaves. For our one year old, simply exploring the texture of the rice was fun as well as picking out all the pebbles!

The addition of spoons and bowls led to the mini-beasts being fed their dinner as well as the boys deciding that the beasts were poorly and needed looking after. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tissue Paper Snail

We have spent a lot of time out and about looking at various 'mini beasts' in our outdoor environment so I thought it would be fun to turn it into a sticking activity.

I presented the children with a piece of paper shaped like a snail shell and the snail body. They used the squeeze glue to cover their snail and then set to work with the different colours of tissue paper to create their colourful snails. When they had finished the children then placed some googly eyes and some antennae made of pipe cleaners on their snails. 

This activity was really good for enhancing fine motor skills and we talked about how the snails move around outdoors as well as what they eat and where they live. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Topic

This month we will be focussing on mini beasts that live in our environment. 

We are continuing to grow our caterpillars so that we can watch them turn into butterflies. We will also be out and about doing some bug hunting with our magnifying glasses. In addition I have lots of bug related craft and messy play ideas for the children to enjoy!