Happy Mother’s Day March 2020

With our worlds turned upside down earlier this week, I have to confess Mother’s Day had slipped completely out my mind until late on Thursday. The little ones just had time to make their Mums a simple card. I am sure that now, more than ever, we are all feeling beyond lucky and grateful for the simple things in life.

I would like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there and particularly to all the wonderful Mothers of the children I have been lucky to care for over the past 5 years.

Arts and Crafts: Spring Daffodil wreaths

We’ve just experienced the wettest winter on record and with Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis bringing some high winds as well it’s possibly one of the windiest too – certainly in the lifetimes of the little ones I look after.

So, the sight of golden, yellow daffodils in the garden, parks and village have been particularly welcome. During the recent half term break we enjoyed these gorgeous daffodil wreaths which lifted our spirits in this particularly gloomy Winter and served as a reminder that Spring is on it’s way!

Valentine’s Day

The children have been busy this week following our Valentines Day theme.

They have enjoyed painting and printing hearts, making cards, colouring pretty heart wreaths, making pretty felt rainbow heart decorations and having fun with heart shapes in playdough and clay.

We have been exploring hearts with our chunky shape puzzles and looking at hearts in our shapes book. Everyone has got involved from the very youngest, aged 1, to the eldest, aged 7.

Sensory Tray: Porridge Play

When I came across a large bag of out of date porridge oats at the back of my cupboard, I knew they would be perfect for a sensory play tray.

Sensory and messy play activities are important in the early years as they help to stimulate and allow children to explore their senses. This activity was great for the children to explore their sense of touch by exploring a new texture.

We started by adding some numbered cups to the oats and the children dived straight in scooping and pouring the oats….

Later on, we brought the tray out again, this time adding some small world farm animals (and some wild ones too by the looks of it!). The children had fun feeding the animals…

And, finally, we then decided to add some water to change the texture of the oats…

The children weren’t put off by the change in texture and got busy stirring the water in and squeezing and exploring handfuls of wet oats in their hands whilst continuing to feed their animals.

Activities such as this that use the senses help contribute to brain development by stimulating the neurons in the brain to make connections, and help with development in all areas of learning.

Baker Ross Sticker scene boards

I have spoken about our love of stickers here at EY&B before! These stickers scene boards from Baker Ross in particular, are fantastic. We have enjoyed all sorts of themes – Genies, Snow Princesses, The Solar System, Spring Animals, Easter Egg Hunts and Santas Workshop to name just a few.

Children are given their own board depicting a scene to which they can add numerous stickers off a sticker sheet. It’s a great activity for developing fine motor skills. The children love having ownership of their very own board and sheet of stickers. They love to chat about where they are placing their stickers. The themes are a great topic of conversation and help extend the children’s vocabulary learning new words such as “sleigh” and “carriage”.

“I’m gonna put my Princess in the carriage here”

“I’m going to put my polar bear here”

“I’m gonna put my snowflakes in the sky”

“My snowman can go in the pond”

Little ones from as young as two can enjoy these and children up to the age of 7 in my care are currently still enjoying them very much too.

Areas of Learning Covered: Communication, Physical Development (Fine Motor Skills), Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World.

Messy Mondays: Kinetic Sand

Our first day back at work after the Christmas break was one of our favourite Messy Mondays!

Well, actually, not so messy, as this time we were exploring Kinetic Sand.

Made with natural sand, Kinetic Sand is easy to shape and mould. The creative possibilities are endless! It flows through fingers just like real sand. It never dries out so you can play again and again and best of all it’s easy to clean up! The children as young as 18 months have really been enjoying it and seem to be mesmerised by it in a way they aren’t with playdough and clay.

It’s a fantastic sensory play material, the colours are really vivid and it makes for a lovely soothing and relaxing activity.

Chinese New Year Arts and Crafts

Welcome back!

I’d like to wish you all Gung Hay Fat Choy! A happy Chinese New Year that is!

Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of twelve animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. The animals have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle.

This year is the year of the Rat, the first of all the zodiac animals. In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.

The children ( ages 1, 1.5, 2, 5 and 6) have had great fun enjoying all manner of Chinese New Year related crafts the past couple of weeks. They have had fun colouring in and wearing fun Chinese hats, making their own chopstick picture frames, using their Chinese fans, making dragon masks and puppets and snake mobiles all the while learning about Chinese Customs. They have enjoyed dressing up in our Chinese Outfits and twirling Chinese parasols above their heads.

Exploring Chinese New Year is a great way to get the kids interested in the wider world. I recall very vividly being taken to China Town as a young girl and observing in wide eyed fascination all the Chinese New Year customs. I remember dragons dancing through the street and loved getting my name written for me in Chinese. I think it’s lovely that the School the older ones attend are exploring China as a topic too.

As you can imagine we have ticked off many EYFS areas of learning including – Communication & Language, Physical Development (Fine Motor Skills), Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World.

Christmas: Part 2

I’ve forgotten how manic Christmas is at the end of the school term. Creative Christmas, Christmas hats, Christmas dinners, Christmas Fairs, Nativities, the list goes on…

Here, the children (Aged 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6) have been busy too with all things Christmas…aren’t they a talented bunch?!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and we’ll see you the other side in 2020!

Christmas: Part 1

Unlike many other Childminders, I point blank refuse to start anything Christmas related before 1st December! I like to avoid Christmas fatigue setting in before the big day which can be overwhelming in itself for children. That said, it doesn’t give us long to motor through all our Christmas related activities!

So far, the children have enjoyed pretty Snow Princess sticker scene boards and some fun Santas workshop ones. We have been reading Dear Santa by Rod Campbell and colouring in Christmas Present pictures. We have made some lovely cone angel decorations and decorated some wooden decorations for the children to take home for their Christmas trees.

The younger children have also been extending their vocabulary learning new words such as “halo” and “sleigh”.

Check back soon to see what other Christmas fun we have been having!