Tag: early years

On our bookshelf…Childhood Classics

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.

Childminder
Childhood Classics

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.

See which other books we enjoy reading –

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:

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:

Happy Mother’s Day March 2020

With our worlds turned upside down earlier this week, I have to confess Mother’s Day had slipped completely out my mind until late on Thursday. The little ones just had time to make their Mums a simple card. I am sure that now, more than ever, we are all feeling beyond lucky and grateful for the simple things in life.

I would like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there and particularly to all the wonderful Mothers of the children I have been lucky to care for over the past 5 years.

Arts and Crafts: Spring Daffodil wreaths

We’ve just experienced the wettest winter on record and with Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis bringing some high winds as well it’s possibly one of the windiest too – certainly in the lifetimes of the little ones I look after.

So, the sight of golden, yellow daffodils in the garden, parks and village have been particularly welcome. During the recent half term break we enjoyed these gorgeous daffodil wreaths which lifted our spirits in this particularly gloomy Winter and served as a reminder that Spring is on it’s way!

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 play 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.