Category: Autumn

Outdoor Classroom Day

Yesterday was Outdoor Classroom Day 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.

Halloween Themed Arts and Crafts

The children have been loving their Halloween themed Arts and Crafts the past week or so. We try not to start too early to avoid Halloween fatigue setting in! We’ve read spooky Halloween themed books, coloured pumpkin masks, painted and coloured fun, hanging bats and enjoyed lots of spooky stickers!

These were all enjoyed by children ages 2, 4, 5 and 6.

Stickers and Bats from our favourite Arts and Crafts suppliers Baker Ross.

Childminding Activities: Conker Collecting

I think conker collecting is my favourite activity to do with the children. It’s not just fun, it gets us out in the fresh air, it’s easy and it’s free! The children, whatever their age, all love it too.

We are extremely lucky that we have a beautiful horse chestnut tree just seconds from our door so on our way to school and back each day collecting conkers is a highlight of our day. We also have some other favourite spots to collect them too.

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

Take a look at some of our other favourite childminding activities –

Autumn Arts and Crafts: Pinecone painting

As part of our Autumn Themed Arts and Crafts, we recently enjoyed some pinecone painting. My mindees aged 2 years old and 1 years old both gave this a go. Whilst the 2 year old absolutely loved it the 1 year old wasn’t quite so sure!

I love the results, don’t you?


With the mercury falling to below -5c last night we were excited to find huge sheets of ice in our sand and water table today. The last time I explored ice was with a 4 year old mindee but this time it was a mindee and my son who are 30 and 29 months old respectively, and it was lovely to watch them explore something for the first time. They started to lift out the sheets with their hands before deciding to fish the remainder out with the fishing net.

They filled up a bucket before transporting it to a wheelbarrow and then mixing in some soil. I’m not sure of their thought process but they were completely emerged in their little game!

Areas of Learning covered: Communication & Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design

Characteristic of Effective Learning:  Playing & Exploring: Finding out and exploring, Active Learning: Being involved and concentrating, Creating and thinking critically: Having their own ideas, Choosing ways to do things

Autumn Calling

Tomorrow marks the official start of Autumn!

I have to admit I love the end of the summer and the start of Autumn. As a childminder Autumn is a lovely season with a wealth of opportunities for things to do and explore outdoors and lots of fun arts and crafts to enjoy inside.

To mark the start of Autumn we enjoyed a simple but fun autumn leaves collage. One mindee aged 2.3 is enjoying learning some of her colours. We chatted about whether to use small or larger leaves and how many we had. I explained about how the leaves change colour in the Autumn and then fall off the trees. They loved using their fine motor skills to peel off the back of the stickers and stick them down. They enjoyed chatting to one another and taking turns to pick their next leaf to use.

All in all it was a lovely, simple activity that was a great example of the Active Learning (Characteristics of Effective Learning) in that they were involved and concentrating and enjoyed achieving what they set out to do.

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

Characteristics of Effective Learning – Active Learning


Country Life!

This morning I woke up to straw all over our lawn! At first I wondered what on earth had happened until I realised its harvest time again when the farmers are raking the hay ready for processing into bales afterwards. We collected up the straw and popped it in a wheelbarrow. The children have used straw in their small world play before with farm animals which provides them with  a great sensory element to their play.

We are so lucky to live in the country and it affords us with lots of great real life learning opportunities…

  • It’s blackberry picking time again, no need for special trips to pick your own farms we have them in the wild right here on our doorstep!
  • Our neighouring fields have lambs and sheep in and we see lots of lovely horses, pony’s and cows on our village walks.
  • Tractors and other farm machinery going by provide us with a great opportunity to talk and learn about different vehicles.
  • The open countryside means the children can have great fun rolling down hills and walks through corn fields.
  • We learn about classic countryside sights such as kissing gates and sty’s.
  • We get to help ourselves to locals offering homegrown apples and produce fresh from their gardens.
  • Added to this the country air is good for our lungs and means we all sleep well!

Areas of Learning covered: Physical Development, Communication & Language, Expressive Arts and Design, Understanding the World.

Sensory Walk

When we had a slight break from the rain and the sun popped out for ooh, 5 minutes earlier this week(!), we went on a lovely sensory walk. On our walk we talked about what we could see (ponies, berries, daisies), what we could feel (wind on our faces), what we could smell (fresh air) and what we could hear (cars, wind, leaves crunching on the ground).

I’m always surprised how these simple activities ignite the children’s interest.

Without any prompting and within a few paces my mindee was naming all that he could see, feel, smell and hear. His imagination and language flowed as he told me I should be the discoverer and he should be the explorer…

It was lovely to get out and soak up our surroundings! IMG_6711

Areas of Learning covered: Communication and Language, Physical Development, Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World.

Conker collecting

A recent report by the collectible toy company Sylvanian Families has shown that children’s knowledge of nature is dwindling. The research shows that their knowledge of basic facts is declining to worrying levels.

One in five (21 per cent) 25 to 30 year olds didn’t realise conkers fell from horse chestnut trees – instead believing they must fall from conker trees. Of course, there is no such thing as conker trees but over half (53 per cent) of 25 to 30 year olds thought they fell from conker trees, silver birch trees or even oak trees.

They say “Playing outside as a family has emotional and social benefits, as well as encouraging curiosity about the world around us.”

Here at Aston Childcare we are lucky to have lots of beautiful nature right on our doorstep for us to enjoy.

One of my fondest memories as a child was collecting bag upon bag of conkers with my Dad so I was excited when this week we went out conker collecting. We picked the conkers out of their fallen horse chestnuts and picked up some lovely horse chestnut leaves. We looked closely at the conkers the children collected, talking about their shape, colour and how they feel. We discussed where they came from and how they grew. Children proudly counted how many they had.

We have been looking for other signs of autumn when out and about and in the garden and talking about what we can see – especially the leaves changing colour and falling from the trees.

Back at home, we have a great book with sliding windows about the seasons which all the children love and that encourages them to chat about the changing seasons.