Monday, 22 September 2014

Autumn Collage

The parks are full of beautiful autumn leaves at he moment and the children absolutely love kicking the leaves and collecting the fallen sticks and conkers. We decided to make use of some of these leaves and create an Autumn collage.

The children first made a backdrop for their autumn treasures - using sponges and various brushes to combine oranges, reds and golds and then leaving these to dry.

The next day the children squirted and spread glue about their pictures and then selected the Autumn items they wanted to attach to their pictures. To finish off their work much fun was had adding some gold glitter for that final sparkle!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cinnamon Scented Salt

Out of all the sensory trays that I put together for the children they always seem to remember the ones that I add flavour too so in line with our Autumn theme I thought cinnamon would be a good place to start.

I mixed cinnamon with some good old table salt which resulted in a lovely golden colour and a sweet smell that filled the entire room! I combined this with some of our Autumn discoveries that morning including leaves, twigs and conkers complete with their shells along with a few props such as spoons and cake cases.

My role in these play activities is to provide an 'invitation to play' and then step back and allow the children's imaginations to engage. In this activity we ended up with making each other breakfast, seeing how many conkers could be balanced on spoons and making marks through the salt. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Conker Counting

This week we have been on a conker hunt in our local park. Whilst this was fascinating for them to split the green shells open and discover the lovely shiny conkers, we did end up with quite a few! As a result I decided that they would be perfect to play a little counting game. 

The children, still fascinated with the shiny surfaces of the conkers, had all been attempting to count the number of conkers they had found. To vary this I provided them with some cards with both the number symbol and text on the card and encouraged them to count out the correct amount of conkers for each card. 

In addition to counting, which the children always enjoy,  we used this opportunity to enhance sorting and number recognition. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Social Park Play

With the lovely Autumn weather we are having the numerous local parks have been an excellent base for encouraging play and social development. Whilst the parks are fun for the children there is also so much learning that goes on here.

Outdoor playgrounds stimulate age appropriate physical development such as balance, coordination and  controlled movements such as grasping. The children have certainly demonstrated this with their climbing, operating pulley systems and balancing on logs as well as swinging on ropes and digging up sand. 

Through playing together the children have been developing their social skills and their language through working together to lift buckets of sand, pushing each other on the swings and negotiating the rules of the games they invented such as singing together from the basket swing. 

Given the importance of play for a child's development I like to take full advantage of the parks that give each child the opportunity to engage in age appropriate developmental play and most importantly, the children love it!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Rainbow Tree

With some of the children meeting for the first time today I wanted an activity that was fun but within which they could get to know each other. This activity involving painting a tree branch was perfect!

After going to the park to investigate available branches the children each chose a colour of acrylic paint, we collected our brushes and ventured out into the garden. The children quickly got to work on their painting. 

They began chatting about what they were doing and with very little prompting began to share the paints so each child could try the different colours. We talked about the high and the low branches and they worked beautifully together to ensure all areas of the tree were covered.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Puffy Paint

We are back in action after a lovely summer holiday and keen to try out some new painting ideas. 

I have wanted to try puffy paint for a while and today I had children ranging from two to seven in ages which I thought would be great for producing a range of different pictures.

We first made the paint by combining self-raising flour and salt with a little water and some food colouring. The children loved helping to mix these. They then set about their creations using cotton wool buds to spread the paint. 

When they had finished we popped the pictures in the microwave for 30 seconds and everyone was fascinated by the way the paint puffed up to create a whole new dimension to the pictures.