Childminding Activities: Blackberry picking

I have spoken before about my favourite activities to do with the children. Just like feeding the ducks and conker collecting, Blackberry picking is another favourite of ours. Once again, it gets us outside, the children love it and it’s free!

Blackberry picking is a great activity to help children learn to manage risks. Blackberries are often found in amongst stinging nettles and prickly bushes which gives the children an opportunity to assess risk.

It provides children the opportunity for some Maths – counting their blackberries being an obvious one and they can explore mathematical concepts such as full and empty.

They can extend their vocabulary learning new words such as “ripe”. Children learn where blackberries grow and how to care for things in the environment. They develop their fine motor skills in picking the blackberries and handling them whilst using their gross motor skills stretching up high to reach them and on the walk itself.

All the while they are developing their personal, social and emotional development and communication and language skills by interacting and chatting to one another.

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

Take a look at some of our other favourite activities:

Sowing and Growing! Magic Beanstalks

The children had great fun growing their very own magic beanstalks last month.

First they chose their own beans, carefully weighing up which looked the best! They then soaked their chosen bean in water before placing it in a jar on some damp kitchen towel, no soil – magic! We placed them in a sunny windowsill in the kitchen and at every snack and mealtime we took a look to monitor their progress and water them.

We also read and enjoyed ‘Jasper’s Beanstalk’ and the children enjoyed comparing Jasper’s beanstalk to their own.

The children loved taking their bean plants home once they grew and transferring them to a place in their own gardens where they continued to grow. Ours has now been planted outside too and is currently growing happily alongside our sunflowers.

Areas of Learning covered: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication & Language, Understanding the World, Literacy and Mathematics.

See what else we have enjoyed sowing and growing:

Gardening with kids: Growing Sunflowers

Growing sunflowers is one of our favourite annual activities! We were a little late in sowing our sunflower seeds this year but, are hoping that, with this amazing weather we’ve been experiencing these past few weeks, that we have some lovely Sunflowers soon!

Check back to see how they get on…!

Arts and Crafts: Beautiful Butterflies

Apparently, this year, “record-breaking sunshine has encouraged midsummer butterflies to emerge unusually early, with dozens of species appearing a month before their usual flight season.” I wasn’t surprised to read this as our garden has been inundated with some beautiful butterfly species for a few months now.

We absolutely love butterflies here and they often inspire our arts and crafts. Nothing signals Summer like butterflies in the garden.  Our annual sunflowers always attract lots of beautiful butterflies and the children never fail to get excited when they spot a pretty butterfly flying by.

Brands we love…Little Tikes

Take one look around our garden and it’s clear to see which brand of outdoor play equipment we favour!

It’s not often you get childminders extolling the virtues of plastic(!) but, in the case of outdoor equipment, you really can’t beat Little Tikes in my opinion.

Little Tikes sell lots of toys which help children, grow, develop and have fun from babies through to 8 years old.

We regularly enjoy our Little Tikes slides, cosy coupe car, turtle sandpit, see-saws, ‘gas and go’ lawnmower, basketball hoop and picnic table. The children have been loving our recent additions of the Anchors Away pirate ship water table and golf set. Indoors we enjoy building with their waffle blocks and taking pictures on the fun push button camera.

All their items are made of fun, brightly coloured plastic which seems indestructible and doesn’t fade in the sun or with everyday use.

Which brands do you favour and why?

See which other brands we love and why:

Sensory play tray: Construction play tray

I was so encouraged by the success of our sensory porridge play tray a while ago that I set up another sensory play tray recently to follow the little ones interest in transport.

I currently care for 2 little ones who both love diggers and cars and can often be heard playing and making a brrrm sound* so I was hopeful that the construction play tray would be a hit.

I had filled the tray with some old ingredients left over from my sons weaning days. I added a number of diggers and sat back and let the children explore.

Whilst observing their play, I could see many areas of learning and characteristics of effective learning taking place.

  • *Early Years Outcomes; Speaking – Uses sounds in play eg. Brrrm for a car (8 -20 months)

Take a look at our other favourite sensory play trays:

Lockdown Activities: Baking

One look at the baking section in our local supermarket, tells me we are not the only ones to have enjoyed a lot of baking during lockdown! We’ve all heard stories in the last few months about the difficulty of getting hold of flour and eggs and baking ingredients. Luckily, on the times we found what we needed, we had fun with the ingredients making some of our favourite recipes.

We all know that cooking is a great learning experience for children which covers a multitude of learning areas, so whilst it may not have been so good for our waistlines, we can be satisfied in the knowledge that the children were learning!

Check out some of our other favourite lockdown activtites:

Summertime!

The blazing sunshine and scorching temperatures this week have certainly marked the arrival of Summer! The children have enjoyed shady, morning, lakeside walks, splashing in our water table, water painting, ice lollies in the garden and fun ice lolly crafts.

We always ensure in high temperatures that we have our sunhats and suncream on. We stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and ensure that we stay hydrated.

Here’s to a great Summer!