I can’t always be sure when I suggest an activity that it will excite or engage the children, but I was reasonably confident when, one evening after school, I suggested they make their own Rocket Colour-in Gliders. “YEHHH!!” came the response.
They each excitedly picked the different parts to make up their gliders, and then set about colouring them. There was much debate about how they fixed together to form the correct glider shape and a few last minute adjustments to create their perfect glider. Once they were happy, they (rather too enthusiastically!) flew them around the kitchen mostly aimed at my head(!) before heading out to the garden to try them outside.
“You need to face where the wind is” they encouraged one another.
After a while they rushed back in, asking to make another one so that they could pitch their first gliders against their second.
Way back at the beginning of last year well before pandemics, face masks and social distancing were part of our everyday language we were taking a good old look at…ourselves!
The children had great fun re-creating themselves and various family members with these fun head and body cut outs. Meanwhile the babies and little ones enjoyed spending time looking in the mirror. This helps boosts their sensory development as babies discover their reflection and learn about who they are. The toddlers and pre-schoolers enjoyed looking at our “All about me” book which helps them learn where their features are.
The children loved chatting away as they did these discussing the things that make them unique, how they see themselves, their special interests and important people in their lives –
“That looks nice, that’s your skin”
“I’ve got ginger hair”.
“Mummy says my hair is golden”
“Mummy, what colour are my ears?”
“What colour is my hair?”
“Your hair is brown”
“What colour are my lips?”
Learning about what we look like and who we are is a great first lesson in diversity, learning that we are all different and that’s ok.
I like to keep a well stocked bookshelf for the children full of fun, quality, colourful books for the children to enjoy. Amongst our favourites are these two books which I remember fondly from my childhood.
Both books are by the wonderful Janet and Allan Ahlberg with the most beautiful illustrations. The first is Each Peach Pear Plum and the other is Peepo. Opening the pages of these transports me back to my own childhood and I love having the opportunity to read them to a whole new generation.
For an easy, go-to activity, a mask is always a winner! The little ones can explore an early mark making opportunity whilst older children can get as creative as they wish. They always spark enjoyment in the children and are often the start of some fantastic role-playing games. We’ve enjoyed lots over the years, here are just some of them –
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.