Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dinosaur Play

The children love playing with dinosaurs and often demonstrate the formation of very imaginative plots around these little plastic creatures so this week I tried to provide a bit of a variation. 

Using the stones and shells that we collected at the beach (complete with some water from the sea that had remained in the bottom of the bucket) the boys created a dinosaur habitat. 

The addition of 'the habitat' extended play considerably with the stones becoming mountains and at one point the shells were even dinosaur hats. I shall definitely be looking for new ways to extend our small world play in this way!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Growing Seeds

As we have been learning about life cycles we embarked on an easy indoor growing project to show the children how seeds turn into plants. We went on a trip to the shops and each of the children chose a packet of seeds, one cress and one peas. They were very proud of their packets and each insisted on paying the cashier and carrying them home. 

 Each child filled their container with cotton wool. They then added some water (some a little more than others!). Finally they got to open their seed packets. The children compared how different the seeds were and then got to work decorating their cotton wool. The boys asked several times throughout the day if their seeds had grown. 

Over the next week we watched the seeds develop although the cress was much faster than the peas. When the cress had reached the height of the jar I set the boys the task of using the scissors to cut the cress, they loved this! 

Finally, we incorporated some literacy into the whole activity and read 'The Tiny Seed' by Eric Carle which illustrated the life of a seed beautifully.   

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

World Earth Day

This week marked world earth day so we took this as an opportunity to learn a little bit more about our planet and the end result was these lovely world pictures. 

Using the very helpful google earth application we looked at a picture of our planet from space and then the children watched with fascination as it zoomed in to our particular location on the planet, excitedly recognising our house and the local school. Then it was time to get to work!

We decided to paint some pictures of the planet using the technique of 'cling film painting'. I placed some green and blue blobs on some circles of paper, placed them within a plastic wallet and let the children loose! Initially they began to bang the paper with their fists, moving the paint around. Then, the older children used their fingers to move the paint around under the protective plastic cover. 

The end result looked surprisingly like a globe. The most amusing part was that the children kept looking at his hands to see if they were covered in paint, which of course they were not!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sensory Sound Bottles

My youngest mindee loves musical instruments and basically anything that makes a nice noise. As an opportunity to move away from the normal instruments I made up some bottles using everyday objects, all of which create different sounds and let him have a play. Contents included lentils, popcorn, pasta and sugar. 

When he saw the bottles, the different colours immediately caught his eye and he crawled rapidly towards them. He gently picked one up and, realising it made a noise, gave it a good shake. 

He went through all the bottles trying out the different noises and watching the contents moving as he did so. We used this as an opportunity to engage in singing some of our favourite rhymes and he was keen to give his new found instruments a shake while he danced!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Apple Life Cycles

As we regularly eat apples for our snack time I though it would be nice for the children to understand a little about where their apples come from. 

Using some lovely pictures, courtesy of 'Montessori for everyone', showing the different stages of the apple life cycles. There was a mixed age group today but the children took turns in sticking the pictures in the right order, talking about them and acting out being a tree! 

Our eldest then practised her presentation skills by putting some writing and arrows on for us. It was then time for a snack so it seemed appropriate to have some apple! The children looked inside the apples to see where the seeds were living and then asked to go and plant some outside. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sensory Play with Gloop

'Gloop' is a fascinating substance made by simply mixing cornflour with water. It is a solid that can be moulded but as it is lifted from the bowl it becomes liquid. Although it can get a bit messy the beauty of it is that when dry the gloop then brushes off of everything again! I thought it would be a perfect experience to share with my 11 month old mindee and he loved it. 

 After an initially tentative reaction I showed him how I could put my fingers in to life the substance out. He began to copy me and inspected the resulting gloop that was falling from his fingers. As he became more confident he began to use both hands, lifting it up much higher and trying to touch the gloop as it fell back to the bowl. Even after I had cleared the bowl away he found some on the table and took great fascination from running his fingers through it and banging it. 

This is a great sensory activity, encouraging little ones to use their senses and movement to explore and generally have fun!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lavender Scented Salt

As it is the end of a pretty active week we settled for a more relaxing afternoon activity. Salt is great for children to practise mark making and through adding lavender oil we turned it into a relaxing sensory activity. The children thought the purple colour was pretty good too!

We are working on name recognition with some of the children at the moment so I helped them use their fingers to write their names in the salt. I then encouraged them to make their own marks using their hands, fingers and some simple tools. 

Through adding a few cups and spoons the children's creative abilities were demonstrated. Talking together they pretended they were in a milkshake shop, making up milkshakes with the salt and cups and handing them to each other. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Painting Pebbles

Although it is still a little chilly down here in Devon we decided to make the most of the gorgeous sunshine and headed out to Wembury Beach. Wrapped up nice and warm the children had a lovely time chasing the waves, searching the rock pools and doing a lot of climbing. 

For a fun afternoon activity we though that painting stones would be a great idea. I set the children the mission of collecting their own stones that they would like to take home to paint. 

At home I gave the children some acrylic paints, glitter and googly eyes. This led to some lovely sparkly creations to remind us of our sunny day at the beach. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Making the most of this gorgeous sunny weather we ventured out to the park. The children loved looking at the vast quantities of colourful daffodils that we saw during our walk and this gave me an idea for an afternoon activity. 

Showing the children the daffodils in our garden I then gave each child some yellow and some green paint and asked them to paint the daffodils. I thought their creations were lovely and they enjoyed trying to reconstruct what they had seen outside. 

The paintings above were done by a two year old, a three year old and a six year old and show the lovely developments in drawing as the children get older.