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! 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Autumnal Spices Watercolours

The natural colours at this time of year are so vibrant that we decided to try and create some of these colours by making our own watercolour paint using everyday spices. We went out through the woods and collected some autumn leaves, looking at all the different colours we could identify in the leaves.

Having chosen colours we then set about making paints. The children shook the spices into the palette, taking time to smell the spice and comment on this. We used cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper and mixed spice amongst others. The children then added water to the spices using pipettes and we mixed the resulting paste together.

We grabbed out paint brushes and the children set to work using the different colours to create works of art. The smell was amazing as all the spices got moved around. We left our art work to dry and added it to our autumn display.

This activity covered so many areas of learning and was great fun together with making the house smell heavenly!

Social Development: The children took turns sharing the pipettes and the spices
Physical Development: The use of pipettes and mixing tools develops fine motor skills
Communication: The children followed instructions to make the paint
Literacy: Through using the paintbrushes the children developed early writing skills
Understanding the World: We talked about Autumn and the reason for leaves changing colour
Being Imaginative: The children designed their own artwork, expressing themselves through paint

Monday, 8 October 2018

Butterfly Phonics

For the past few weeks we have been attending a phonics session with another local childminder. I have been super impressed by the boys interest in the session as well as the aspects of learning covered within the hour and the huge range of amazing resources that Hazel brings each week.

The session starts by looking at two or three sounds of the phonetic alphabet, helping the boys recognise but more importantly attempt to sound the sounds as well as learning the accompanying actions. The session is very gentle and adapted to each child's needs so for the quieter ones they can watch and learn whilst others prefer to join in the more musical aspect when we sing the sounds.

Following this a session on fine motor skills is incorporated. This varies each week and so far we have had colours and turning cogs through to farmyard animals and using tweezers for picking up vegetables and fruit to tie in with the harvest festival.

A final part of the session focusses on counting and awareness of numbers This week's activity was farmyard bingo. Other activities have included rolling a dice and removing the resulting number of autumn leaves from the tree.

The session finishes with some singing and dancing followed by some quiet relaxing reflection time although the boys often fund this highly amusing! This is a great session that enhances their literacy and communication, understanding the world through the relevance of the topics and their numeracy. Additionally the chance to be expressive is offered through music and dance as well as meeting and socialising with different children. We love this session and will definitely attend again.