Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Sensory Play

We like any excuse for some sensory play here and a Halloween themed tray was a perfect excuse to engage!

This year we used water beads, the beads normally used in flower vases! These are great for sensory and fine motor skills as the children try and pick them up, both with fingers and spoon, and pour them into various cups and pots. I added some other halloween goodies and off they went.

 As ever we saw some great imaginary play with the children making wonderful potions. The aspect they were most fascinated with was pouring the slimy beads from one cup to the other, using their descriptive language to talk about the feel of the beads.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Diwali Candle Holders (Diyas)

This week marks the ancient Hindu festival of light celebrations known as Diwali. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) places considerable emphasis on enhancing children's awareness of other cultures to support their learning and development and at the relatively young age of the children here a good way to do this is through craft activities.

We have used salt dough in the past but never baked it so this was a bit of an experiment! I made two different colours of dough and the children talked about the colours and chose their dough. They played with the dough, rolling it into balls and then flattening it out. We used the candle to make imprints in the dough and then placed it in the oven to bake - this did lead to some confusion as the children thought we were going to then eat the dough!

Once baked the children then set about decorating their candle holders with glitter glue and sequins, enhancing their fine motor skills to create some lovely candle holders. We lit them and talked about the festival of lights. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Paignton Zoo

Today, much to the delight of the children, we had a fantastic visit to Paignton Zoo. We love visiting new places as it prompts the children to ask so many questions that they wouldn't  had they been in the same environment each day. enabling them to understand their world so much better. They wanted to know the answers to many why the stalk stood on one leg through to why the gorillas were indoors!

We looked at a wide range of animals ranging from the crocodiles and elephants through to monkeys and giraffes with the children particularly enjoying the very large elephants and the active monkeys. They also enjoyed measuring their height to see what animal they were similar too in size - we had a lot of tigers!

The children were not so sure about our lunchtime visitor - the peacock! Although we agreed he looked spectacular he was determined that he would share our lunch!

These two year olds were having so much fun that they didn't once complain about the 3 miles that we ended up walking, jumping and running but they did all grab a snooze on the way home after singing a rendition of monkeys jumping on the bed!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Autumn Sensory Dough

We are all big fans of play dough here and as it can be adapted for most themes I decided to make some Autumn Play Dough. I divided the dough into three and added orange, yellow and green colouring along with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Through adding both colour and fragrance to the dough the children are able to engages their senses of sight, smell and touch. 

I offered this activity to the children with a variety of open ended autumnal resources that we had collected on our many outing including sticks, pine cones and conkers (or ponkers as the children call them!) along with some wooden blocks and glass beads. 

Whilst our youngest investigated the imprints that the various objects made in the dough, the older ones began to create some more elaborate structures, pretending the beads were the eyes of animals and the twigs were arms and legs. 

As ever, our after school crowd insisted they get a chance with the dough. They had a great time and our seven year old even took it upon herself to create a particularly realistic Christmas tree! 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Wax resist Autumn Leaf Watercolours

Every time we go outdoors (which is a lot!) the children are currently fascinated by just how many leaves are on the ground at the moment. They look at the colours and watch them blowing from the trees and often decide that they want to bring their favourites home, giving me the task of thinking of new ideas for using these items that they have such great fun collecting!

We have attempted wax crayon leaf rubbings in the past but the children favour activities that result in more vibrant colours, particularly the younger ones who do not yet have the strength to press down the crayon sufficiently. This is where I thought painting over the crayon with watercolours would help. 

The children enjoyed watching the patterns of the leaves occur when they used their crayon but got particularly excited when the paint appeared, they all loves painting! They set about painting over the leaves, the older ones able to distinguish between the leaves to paint them different colours while the younger ones simply enjoyed covering the paper with the vibrant colours.