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When I came across a large bag of out of date porridge oats at the back of my cupboard, I knew they would be perfect for a sensory play tray.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

Children In Need

The children have enjoyed colouring these fun Pudsey Bear pictures this week. They older children have been supporting Children In Need by buying lots of fun Pudsey Bear merchandise at school, dressing in non-uniform in return for a donation and buying some yummy cakes from the cake sale.

Outdoor Classroom Day

Yesterday was Outdoor Classroom Day https://outdoorclassroomday.org.uk/ which is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor play and learning.

As a childminder with two school runs, multiple children’s nap times to manage and hot lunches and dinners to prepare, getting out comes with its challenges so Outdoor Classroom Day was a great impetus to get us outside.

We were blessed with beautiful skies and sunshine so armed with just waterproofs to protect us from the wet ground we headed out.

We started off by feeding the ducks…

And some beautiful swans swam over to see us…

Then we had a fun game of pooh sticks…

We saw some lovely sheep…

Before taking a nice walk and jumping in some big muddy puddles…

We went back home for a nice hot lunch and a long afternoon nap…

We had a lovely morning chatting and discussing what we could see. We experienced lots of different surfaces underfoot and found that some were slippy like the wooden bridge when wet. We got up close to open water and listened closely to instructions to ensure we stayed safe.

How did you spend Outdoor Classroom Day?

Areas of Learning Covered: Physical Development, Communication & Language, Personal Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World.

Elmer’s Slime Starter Pack: A review

My son, like any other 5 year old, loves slime! He has been on at me to make slime with him for a while now. It wasn’t the inevitable sticky mess that was putting me off but rather the lack of knowledge of the best slime recipe. I have read about all sorts of concoctions that supposedly make the best slime but I wasn’t 100% convinced by any of them. So, when we spotted this Elmer’s Slime starter pack I knew it was for me!

The pack contains 2 clear glues, 4 glitter pens and 2 bottles of the all important magical liquid.

Using a bowl he tipped the mixtures in to the bowl and stirred well with a spoon.

You then have to knead the slime until it forms a stuff mixture.

I have to say it made fantastic slime. It washes off hands really easily which is good.

I did try to keep the slime by storing it in an airtight container but when we returned to it a few days later it hadn’t kept well at all so I would say that this makes it quite expensive for a one off activity. However, as a fun birthday present or stocking filler or Christmas present I would highly recommend this.

Available to purchase from Hobbycraft:

https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/elmers-slime-starter-pack/640762-1000