Today, Tuesday 5th February, Chinese New Year begins.
This year is the year of the pig.
In nurseries and schools up and down the country today, children will be celebrating and learning about Chinese New Year in lots of fun and exciting ways. With just two little ones aged just 16 and 19 months however, we kept it simple with this fab Peppa Pig Chinese New Year book. Because, if there’s one thing all my mindees love it’s Peppa Pig!
In 2018 as well as planting and growing our annual sunflowers which, this year were a mixed success(!) we also planted some herbs, fruit and vegetables. We had some success with rhubarb and also with mint. However, despite also planting some peppers, courgettes and onions, only the carrots proved fruitful – I blame the weather!
We will be having another go in 2019 and hope to report better success!!
Yesterday, Sunday 3rd June, saw Oxfordshire play host to the ‘World Pooh Sticks Championships’.
As all Winnie the Pooh fans will know, Pooh Sticks is the game of dropping twigs into a stream from the bridge above and seeing whose stick emerges first from the other side.
Here at Aston Childcare we love an impromptu game of pooh sticks! The children’s excitement of watching their floating twig arrive safely at the other side of the bridge never fails to amuse.
It’s a game we probably all remember fondly from our own childhoods. There really is nothing simpler than throwing a stick in the water that the children love so much! No childhood is complete without a game of PoohSticks!
Today marks the end of Autumn, where has the time gone?!
I love Autumn, I am glad the heat of the Summer has passed, I am not rushing to cover the children in suncream or hats or frantically hydrating them and cooling them down and I love seeing the first blackberries on hedgerows and pulling on extra cosy layers.
As a childminder it’s a lovely time of year to be with the children. Here at Aston Childcare we have spent this season jumping in crunchy Autumn leaves, blackberry picking, collecting conkers, doing arts and crafts inspired by bonfire night and Halloween, exploring acorns, conkers and leaves in our nature tray and chatting about hibernation.
This week we have been busy making these lovely Autumn Leaf Suncatchers.
We picked the fresh autumn leaves up off the ground in the garden during playtime after lunch then once back indoors decorated our paper plates with Autumn colours and stuck the leaves on to the contact paper. Once finished, we hung them up on the window and waited for the sun to shine through them. They are really effective and look beautiful when the sun shines.
It was a lovely craft do with the toddlers and pre-schoolers to explore and welcome in the new season.
Areas of learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Art and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
Whilst stocking up on new craft supplies in Poundland the other week, I came across this fantastic Very Hungry Caterpillar ‘Create a Scene’ sticker book which the children have really been enjoying.
It’s an A3 laminated picture scene and comes with lots of lovely colourful vinyl stickers to create your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends action scene. The stickers are reusable so the children can change the scene again and again. There are lots of stickers including sunflowers, a cow, a horse, a ladybird, a duck, a bee, a butterfly, a spider, a sunshine and of course a caterpillar!
I first sat down to do it with one of my 2 year old mindees and we had a lovely time as she sat and placed all the stickers in her chosen place and called out all the animals, insects and plants.
“We’ve got TWO caterpillars!” she exclaimed and then – “I love these stickers”
She sounded out the animal sounds as she placed each sticker down – “Moo”, “Neigh”, “Quack”
“Wheres the pond?” she asked me as she laid down the duck sticker.
We have also been enjoying the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which is a lovely story and great for counting. They have also been using their fine motor skills and enjoyed creating collages by gluing and sticking with some great Very Hungry Caterpillar picture cut outs which really help bring the book to life and they’ve learnt new words such as “cocoon”
Next year I hope to do one of these fantastic ‘Caterpillar kits’ from Insectlore which would be such a lovely activity.
Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Literacy, Mathematics, Arts and Design, Physical Development (Fine motor skills), Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Here at Aston Childcare, stickers and puzzles are perennially popular so I am delighted with this lovely flag themed puzzle and sticker book I have recently got. Both the puzzle and sticker book are excellent ways to familiarise the children with the flags of the World and are useful for learning about countries. They can be used when discussing international celebrations or supporting a country’s team in sporting events. Whilst my mindees aren’t quite the target age group they are still good tools for discussing what shapes and colours we can see.
Areas of learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication and Language, Mathematics
Spring is seen as a time of new life with both plants and animals being born. It has been lovely to see the newborn lambs in the neighbouring fields and watch the flowers bloom. One sign of new life I haven’t seen this year is frogspawn. I am very envious of fellow childminders that have a pond who are enjoying seeing their frogspawn hatch. It’s such a short period and a shame to miss it. My son loves spotting frogs in books and saying “ribbit-ribbit”!
I have fond memories of our lessons around the pond at my primary school, it was such a lovely, fun and interesting way to learn about lifecycles.
I have some lovely resources detailing the lifecycle of a frog that the children enjoy all year round but nothing beats experiencing and learning something firsthand.