Saturday, 15 July 2017

"FEED THE KITTY" BOARD GAME REVIEW


We love playing games and I always look for new games that help to support a child's mathematical or literacy development. We picked this up from a car boot sale and it has been a big hit. The game is by a company called Gamewright. 

The blurb on the web site says......
Roll the dice but don't lose your mice! In this fast moving game, try to keep your mice away from the kitty. Roll an arrow and pass one to the left. Roll a sleeping cat and you're lucky to squeak by. But roll a bowl and it's dinner time for kitty! The last player left with mice wins!


 I have found that not only does this encourage turn taking and counting skills as you keep tabs on how many mice you have in your pile, but it also brings in the language of addition and subtraction.  We talk about how many we have now one has been taken away or added. There is talk about more and less. The children start to recognise and estimate how many mice are in a pile just by taking a glance.


If you ever come across this game I really recommend it as a great addition to your collection.  It has become a firm favourite in my setting!

Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Mathematical
  • Personal, Social and Emotional

Friday, 14 July 2017

KEEPING COOL AT FOREST SCHOOL IN A HEAT WAVE!

A local tree surgeon kindly delivered us a HUGE pile of wood chip this week. We use this to cover all our paths. It makes it easier to see the clear routes through the site and helps with maintenance of the paths. Especially if we lay carpet down first as a weed membrane and the cover with the wood chips. The heat wave has hit this week and it is just too hot to move it. So for now it will have to sit where it is.


We now have 2 Forest school sessions running on our site. One is for childcare professionals and their mindees and the other is for all who wish to attend. Heather (our forest school leader) made sure there was a lot of water play on site to keep everyone cool.




Despite the heat we all had a lot of fun and the session was a hit! I think 2 sessions a week is another great step forward for our little Outdoor Learning Center.

Once we got home we set about filling up our pool ready for the after school children to enjoy when they got home. They were very much ready for a cool down and some fun!


OUR REPTILES

All the children love looking after the pets. Since our fluffy pets sadly got old and passed away we have focused more on the reptile world! Toothless has been with us for quite a few years and the children collect him dandelion flowers and feed him meal worms every week. He is very friendly and often scratches to come out of his vivarium and see us. 



6 weeks ago we acquired a new friend. He needed a new home and so came to live with us. We think he is actually a she (although not easy to see for a novice like me) and have called him/her Nagini after the snake in Harry Potter. Big fans in this house so a snake had to have that name!

So much love is being shown for our new family member. A couple of children and parents were nervous but everyone's curiosity has overcome their fear and feeding time each week is a big event!




Monday, 3 July 2017

CREEPY CRAWLEY THEMED PLAY

I have set up some sweet invitations to play this week with the idea that it will encourage conversation and interest in the bugs nd insects we find in the garden and at forest school. We have a couple of very keen bug hunters already so this supports their interests well.
I have incudes some activities that look at planting seeds and growth.  Our sunflowers,  potatoes and tomatoes are doing well so this is a nice follow on activity and great to recap what we learnt when we planted seeds in the spring.

We can also talk about how bugs like to eat the things we have grown and to try out some eco friendly pest maintainance methods to protect our plants. Copper strips have been very effective against the slugs and snails so far!!

We will look at some of our favourite bug rhymes and stories over this time too.

SUNDAY FUN DAY'S!!

This Sunday I spent a few hours with my eldest visiting local fetes and fun days. We always support the  local Blue Cross rescue center and pop on to any fundraising they do. This is their big summer fundraising event and we love testing our luck on the stalls and raffles!  The cakes are always a big draw too!
We won some goodies for my sisters dogs and shared a frozen yogurt while we were at it!
It was great to see so many people supporting a charity that works tirelessly for our less fortunate animals. If you can, why not contact your local animal rescue and see if you can help them in some way. Walking dogs or buying an item from their wishlist is always very welcomed!

The next stop was a local village fete. It was good fun. Brendan was keen to win a coconut. He has a pretty good aim. Shame he isn't in to cricket! 
Before long that coconut was all his! Then he moved on to the nerf gun challenge.  Sadly he didn't make the leader board but he tried hard.
We did win some cute soft toy dogs at the "hearing dogs for the deaf" stall so that made up for nerf disappointment.

It was a lot of fun hanging out with my biggest lad!

FOREST SCHOOL SITE CLEAR UP

This time of year is always hard work on our Outdoor centre. Everything grows so fast and the brambles very quickly take over.  We have been focusing on clearing pathways during our last couple of work sessions. The problem is they grow back so fast.

We have started to lay strips of carpet down to keep the paths open for longer. We are laying wood chip over the top. It works so well and reuses an item that would have otherwise ended up in landfill whilst repurposing tree waste from a local tree surgeon. Win win!!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

BUG HOTEL BUILDING

We have been working hard in our outdoor learning area. There are several jobs that need to be done this year and one was rebuilding the bug hotel. Local people have been kindly donating items over the past month and this week's Forest School session included the rebuild.

The children from as young as 24 months up to 5 years old worked together to build each layer up. Collecting items from the tarp and carrying them over to the bug hotel. Piecing them together so that each layer was well stacked. We discussed what might move in and how different items would appeal to different creatures. Such as bamboo for solitary bees to live in. While we moved things we found lots of different insects that were rehoused. .. not sure if they  wanted to but they were!

The strength shown and careful, safe lifting of heavier items can sometimes be removed from children's activities due to worries about the risk of dropping something or getting hurt. But children understand that heavy things need to be handled carefully and should be given the chance to manage the risk. With careful adult supervision. Even the 30 month olds judged which items they could manage for themselves. Testing the weight before trying to carry it further.

Within 2 hours the children had created a fantastic place for our bugs to live! Recycling items that would have ended up in landfill!

Monday, 19 June 2017

SUNDAY SUN AND RIVER TIME FUN

The weather has just been amazing the past week. Fathers day was a scorcher and my man asked if we could spend the evening by the river. There is a pub a few villages over with a lovely river in the garden where the children like to play. It is shallow and fast running so great fun. The bonus is that there are fish and cray fish to try and catch.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

NEW STICKBREAD STICKS FOR FOREST SCHOOL

The sessions are now back on for our Forest school and one of the first jobs of the day was to decorate the handles of our new Stickbread sticks. We have lengths of willow that have been coppiced and and one end has been slightly tapered. This is where the bread dough gets wrapped. The other end then gets decorated with yarn to make a handle for the children to hold while they cook their bread over the campfire.



Even the very little ones gave it a go. We did help tighten it up a bit but he picked his colours and did the winding!


The sticks look really lovely together and nice a bright once finished.
It also helps the children to distinguish what is a stick to play with and what is a tool for our group.




You can use this technique to make decorations for the garden. Use shorter lengths and wrap them in yarn, then hang the sticks from a tree for a lovely rainbow craft!


Monday, 22 May 2017

"Bb" LETTER TRAY - TODDLER ACTIVITY

This week we are looking at "Bb" letter recognition and sound.
We swapped out "Aa" tray and items for a "Bb" one and the children helped me find lots of "b" items. We found this much easier than for the "a".

A fun activity is to male a little story up using the "b" items. So in our story bear ate brocolli for breakfast and then went on a boat.  But he was too big and couldn't   balance so fell off. But the badgers were  a better fit and all fitted on the boat. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

TOTEM POLES

We have been looking at our number and alphabet books a lot this week. I have a cute set of books called Canada ABC and  Canada 123. Little W really liked these and it was nice to learn some knew words.
He found "T" for Totem poles really interesting.  We looked at the different animals and faces on the poles in the pictures and this led to conversations about what they are and why they are made.
It might be cool to extend this with a week of celebration for Canada day around the 1st July and also to make clay or play dough totems.

SUNFLOWER SEEDS.... PLEASE BRING THE SUN!

We are quite late on this I know but we finally planted our sunflower seeds. My eldest son took his cousin outside and helped him plant seeds in the planter outside our kitchen window. How lovely will it be when they grow! We will be able to see them from the house and they will be a sunny greeting to anyone coming to the house!
They covered up the soil with a propagater lid so the birds and bugs don't eat them as they start to grow.

Let's hope the sunflowers encourage the sun to stay. It pops out for a day and then the rain comes back again..... come on sunflower magic!

"4" NUMBER PLAY TRAY - TODDLER ACTIVITY

After a quick observation of the current children in my setting, I noticed that most could recognise numerals to 3. I suspect this has something to do with those numbers having been relevant to them in their lives as an age. With this in mind I decided to set our first number tray up to start at 4.

I used a cheap pack of playing cards from the pound shop and stuck all the 4 cards on to a tray.  Then collected sets of 4 small items so that the children could count to and recognise groups of 4 and the matching numeral.

This is a simple activity that can be made at home with items you already own. Link this with some number rhymes and board books and you have some lovely play opportunities for reinforcing mathematical learning.

"Aa" TRAY. TODDLER ACTIVITY15

I find setting up play trays a really goo544wd way to focus the children1's interest and play. It's like curiosity sets in and they all want to know what fun the tray hqqàolds today!! Maybe I should set up a tea making tray and train the little ones up early on!  😊 

This week our letter is Aa. I used flash cards stuck to the tray and a little wooden "a" for the introduction to the letter and then added some toys that start with the letter. We also watch the Jolly Phonics rhyme that goes with each letter on You Tube and sing itwa while playing.  Through the week items get added to the tray as we find more things that start with that letter.

I have also made a point of looking through ABC books each day with the children to reinforce the letter and sound recognition.

Monday, 15 May 2017

USING PAINT TO PRACTICE LETTER AND NAMES

It is always good to try name and letter writing with different forms of media. It's a good way to keep the practice fun and feels a lot less like they are doing "work"! 
We use water and paint brushes in the garden, chalk on the patio. marks in the mud or in play dough. Anything really that can be used to leave a mark. Today we used easy painters. 





 I still write letters in pencil for some of the children so that they can paint over the top. Although this child is currently attempting to now make some of the letters for herself. She is so proud of her writing, and so am I!

Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy

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