Wednesday, 19 November 2014

HOW TO MAKE ......... PAPER PLATE TEPEES!



A nice activity to set up over Thanksgiving is Tepee making. While reading our Thanksgiving story, the children noticed the different houses that the native Indians lived in and then the ones built by the Pilgrims. We had a look online at the difference between Wigwams, which were like huts and the Tepees which are tall and pointy! The Tepees have some lovely symbols and shapes drawn on them. I have a book of crafts from around the world and It shows some tribal markings and their meanings in it. I shared this with the children and we had a go at drawing some of them on our own Tepee’s. You could look online for a similar printout of symbols for the children to look at and use as a prompt.

To make these you will need:
Paper plates cut in half
Wax crayons
A stapler



Decorate the half plate with wax crayons, drawing symbols and bright shapes. 



Then use the flat edge of a brown crayon to lightly colour over the top. Curve the plate round and staple it half way up the join. Fold back the flaps for doors. We also added a feather in the top!


Today's activity meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
Physical Development
Expressive Art and Design
Communications and Language

Understanding the world

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

DIWALI ART


Today is Diwali. I thought it would be fun to introduce the children to the story of Rama and Sita. I told the children a simple version of the story while the were working on the Rangoli pattern pictured below. We used a little Diwali board book to familiarise ourselves with key Diwali images.


I bought this stencil from a charity shop earlier in the summer with Diwali in mind. The idea is to use a quarter section,turn it and then redo the same section. This will make a symmetrical pattern. We cheated though and just used it as one pattern.
Little "L" did this blue design all by herself after helping make the joint pattern!


This wa the Rangoli that everyone worked on together!


We spent some time at the park as well today and took the mandala maker and chalks so that we could draw some patterns outside in the sun!



Everyone took a turn and after watching the pthers, even little "M" worked out where she needed to draw!

LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
  • To introduce the children to a cultural festival that is celebrated in India. To help them learn about life and traditions outside of their own community and experience some of the traditional activities and stories.
NEXT STEPS: 
    • The Rangoli patterns were very much enjoyed. I would like to continue this style of art by offering similar activities. Maybe collage style using dried lentils and beans on a paper plate. I will look for some mandala patterns to print out and place in the drawing caddy.
    • Explore symmetrical patterns using mirrors with the children.
    • Offer "M" some play with mirrors so that she can start to experience reflection and repeating patterns.

    CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

    The children had a great time working together to make one large piece of art. They shared the pencils, asked to swap pencils, talked about colours they were using. They were actively learning and showed high levels of concentration and engagement. By telling the the story to the children as they coloured, it helped the children to listen. Many children learn well when they are actively doing. So by working on this pattern they found it much easier to listen to the story of Rama and Sita and take in the details.
    They were so happy to see their large Rangoli patterns cut out and displayed in the playroom and excited to share the colour and beauty in the park as they created them on the tarmac. They were proud of themselves and the others who had worked with them to create the finished art!


    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Personal, Social and Emotional
    • Communication and language
    • Physical Development
    • Literacy
    • Mathematics 
    • Expressive Art and Design
    • Understanding the world.


    Wednesday, 15 October 2014

    ENJOYING OUR TREES!

    Autumn, low sun, beautiful coloured leaves! Sounds like a perfect setting for lots of fun and fresh air!



    We spent a lot of time outside today. Little "L" collected pretty leaves and threw handfuls of leaves in the air so that she could watch them rain down on top of her.



    Little "M" is still in the early stages of walking. The "I'm so very close!!!" stage!
    She wants to be out of the buggy and exploring but can become frustrated with her limited mobility. It was really lovely to see the other children including her in their play/ They picked up leaves and threw them in the air. She squealed and giggled as they rained down over her and this encouraged the others to keep throwing leaves up for her.


    "M" is becoming more confident in her walking with just one handed support. Last week she was too scared and refused to step forward, becoming anxious. It was love;y to see her so keen to walk in the leaves while only holding one of my hands.


    After a while she sat down and and started to [pick up individual leaves. She held the stalk and twisted them around in her fingers. She flapped them by her face, sniffed them and tasted them. Using all her senses to explore.


    I love how intensely she is looking at them. Passing them from one hand to the other. Putting them down and selecting another.



    She crawled through the leaves and pulled herself up against the fence. Laughing at the children playing inside the park! Shouting to them and trying to get them to look at her. When they did, she laughed and shouted some more!


    We noticed lots of lovely changes in the trees. A few months ago and all the leaves were green and thick on the branches. This has slowly been changing and now we have less leaves on the trees. We can see through the leaves to the blue sky behind. The sun is shining through and lighting up all the lovely colours!
    The children noticed the seeds on the branches. We watched a few of them fall in the breeze and the children all pointed to them and told me they that they spin! We watched them and talked about the shape of the seeds. They look like helicopter propellers! Maybe this is why they fly? They all started to share their ideas and thoughts. Talking excitedly!




    Little "L" and "X" noticed lines in the bark of a tree and used sticks to trace over them from top to bottom. We talked about making sure we were gentle with the bark. The bark protects the tree and stops it from getting damaged. We need to make sure we are gentle with the bark so that the tree can stay safe and healthy. They were really respectful and you could see they were protecting the tree.


    Round the other side there is a big split in the tree and they could see how the wood inside had been damaged because it didn't have bark on it. There is a big dip that has wood pulp in it. Probably munched up by insects. They used their sticks to move it around and look for the bugs that might have made it.





    LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
    • Visiting the park to observer the changes in the trees now that Autumn is upon us. 
    • Draw attention to the colours, differences in the leaves and general look of the trees over the past few weeks.
    •  Playing in the leaves. Throwing them, watching how they float, catching them.

    NEXT STEPS: 
      • The children were really interested in the tree and why it's bark protected it. Look online or in books to see how bark protects trees and what can damage the bark.
      • Look at different trees and see if we can identify some using our pocket tree book.
      • Bring leaves home and collect the seeds as well. Pop them in a nature tray and allow the little ones to explore them. 

      CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

      The children had a great time laying outside in the sun and finding all the changes. They were exploring and investigating all the time.
      Little "M" loved the leaves and used many senses to explore them. She crawled through them and lay on them. She felt part of the fun as the other children included her in their play and could fully take part despite not being able to run around with them. She was curious about the leaves and showed a high level of interest and concentration. 
      "X" was fascinated about the trees. Actively learning as he noticed small details and asked questions about them. Why the leaves change colour? Why do they need bark? How does it protect the tree? He was careful while investigating and talked through his thoughts with "L".
      "L" was very interested in the marks in the bark and gave ideas on what might have made them. Bugs maybe? She talked through questions and thoughts with "X" and worked cooperatively to learn more about the world we live in. She was really interested and focused and wanted to bring leaves and sticks home to play with later. She looked for pretty leaves that she could take home. She likes pink so was looking for leaves that had lots of pinky red on them!

      Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
      • Personal, Social and Emotional
      • Communication and language
      • Physical Development 
      • Understanding the world.

      Monday, 13 October 2014

      LET PLAY STAY!

      Happy land is a huge hit in my house. I did really well at the car boot sales this summer and have managed to get a nice little set together as well as some road mats and storage boxes that turn in to play mats. I am always finding whole towns and villages set up in the playroom or on the living room floor. I really enjoying sitting down to one side and listening to how they make little stories with the figures and talk through how they want their stories to play out.


      Each child has their favourite little people or animals. Little "M" loves the church as it sings songs and bells chime when you press a button. Little "B" likes the animals especially the horses!


      I love seeing play develop and spread out as they create the scene. We often leave this out all day and the children come back to it after meals or after the school run. The older children bring a new dimension to the play and it carries on growing and developing!

      I think we sometimes forget how important it is to let children expand their own play and learning and can be quick to get things tidied away for the next activity or for lunch. I used to see children at toddler groups really engaged in their play only to have everything packed up around them after an hour. I tried to put myself in their shoes. If you are enjoying something, such as a hobby or craft, you don't want to pack it all away for lunch. You want to come back to it and enjoy it some more!
      After tidying things up for nap time, I have often seen the same little ones wake up and come back to the same toy, trying to recreate the same set up they had before. This must be very frustrating for them! I then witness the same story line carrying on.
      Imaginative play can not really be fully enjoyed if it is under a time restraint. We need to give children time to take the play in the direction they want and to see it to a natural conclusion for themselves! That is a really fulfilling imaginative play session!

      So this is why I try very hard to let small world stay out all day long! The same with role play!
       If the toys are just strewn around the floor and being walked over then pack away. But when time has been taken to set a scene and children are thoroughly absorbed in story lines, make it a "Tidy up free zone" for the day. Listen to their stories, watch how they use the set up and enjoy it with them!



      LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
      • Provide the children with the time and space to play, immerse themselves in an imaginary world that they have created, explore their own story lines and revisit their play over and over again.
      • Observe the children at play and make some lovely observations about language used and imaginative play. Look at how the children play together or along side each other. Using the same space and engaging others in their play and stories.


      OBSERVATION TIPS AND IDEAS:

      You should see lots of engagement, focus and playing with what they know. Small world play is great for children working through situations form their own lives and experiences. Taking roles in their play and acting out experiences with other people.
      Their will be a lot of cooperative play and drawing others in. Sharing their ideas and taking turns to lead the direction of play. There are likely to be times when all the children are playing in the same space and times when a solitary child is playing with the set up. Both provides great opportunities to observe and note for the children's learning journeys. It is also  interesting to see how the older children deal with disagreements and differences in story line direction. They always seem to sort it out with out any help! Very young children show their understanding of how toys are used and tend to use repetitive patterns when exploring the set up.


      Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
      • Personal, Social and Emotional
      • Communication and language
      • Physical Development
      • Literacy 
      • Expressive Art and Design
      • Understanding the world.

      AUTUMN OUTDOOR KITCHEN AND LITTLE B

      Despite the change in weather the past week or so, the outdoor kitchen is still the children's favorite place to play. We are having to be more conscious of putting on wet weather gear which does mean the free flow is not as free as it has been over the Summer and early Autumn. Otherwise we get very soggy and mucky crawling babies! 

      It is interesting to see the children notice the changes in this play space now that the season has changed. The bark chip is wet and squishy underfoot. There is always rain water in the pots. Interesting things are growing on the log stumps and in the woodchip!

      Little "B" really likes to get out there and mix us some yummy dinners. She looks around for the right bowls, the right spoons and the right ingredients!





      It was really lovely to watch her transfer water from one pot to another. She had to work out which pot was best for this job. She settled on a smaller one that was easier to maneuver, even when full.


      She found out that pouring water in to the colander means that you loose all your water. But that pouring acorns in is just fine!


      LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
      • Natural play and exploration in the outdoor kitchen. Looking at the changes now the weather is changing. Pointing out the different temperature and look of the sky now Autumn has kicked in. Talking about appropriate clothing for outdoor play. Using Autumn items in our potions and play cooking.
      NEXT STEPS: 
        • Go on a nature walk and choose some more interesting things to add to the area like pine cones and sticks.
        • Have a selection of cold and wet weather clothing in the dressing up box and talk about why we wear them. Practice putting them on, doing them up.

        CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:
        Little "B" spent much of this play activity, exploring and checking out how things work best. Through trial and error she worked out the right pots to use for the job she had in mind and which ones were just not suitable. She used her senses to learn about the natural items she was exploring. She felt the cold of the rain water, the mud on her fingers, the smooth acorns and the hard bits of bark. She was engaged and motivated by her own interest in transferring items from pot to pot. Lift and moving the pans and finding items to put in the water. She stirred wet and dry items and noticed the differences in how they feel.
        She was actively learning and showed extended periods of concentration. She problem solved as she chose the pots for each ingredient she used. The holes in a colander did not help her collect water but did work for collecting acorns!

        Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
        • Personal, Social and Emotional
        • Communication and language
        • Physical Development
        • Mathematics 
        • Expressive Art and Design
        • Understanding the world.

        Wednesday, 8 October 2014

        WHAT'S THE TIME MR WOLF?

        Wednesdays are a great day here. I have all my pre-schoolers together and we can enjoy some older play and activities.
        This is just one example of a child initiated and child led game that happened this week. The children talked to each other and decided together that this is what they wanted to do. They worked out who took on what role and even agreed to 2 wolves at one point!


        They shouted out the time and "X" took the corresponding number of steps towards them. After a couple of goes, he worked out that he should take smaller steps so  that he had a better chance of running away!


        DINNER TIME!!!


        Then they swapped roles and started all over again.



        RUN AWAY!!


        LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
        • This observation was to note how X, L and I interact with each other and initiate their own play ideas. How they work out the small details of their games and work through disagreements.
        NEXT STEPS: 
          • Teach them some other simple games that they can play without adult interventions. Such as Simon Says, Hot Potato, Red light Green light.
          CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

          All three children were trying to agree on a game to play. There was discussions and clear views as to why they each wanted to go with their own ideas. They used persuasive reasoning to talk the others around. This shows good critical thinking skills. Having their own ideas and planning their play, Eventually they came up with a new idea and all jumped up to play. There was a little chat about who would be the wolf and it was agreed that "X" could have this role first, as he is good at being a tiger and can roar! This would be good for a wolf too! This was a fantastic example of working together to make decisions, solve problems and achieve their goal.
          This came was played several times over and each time someone was caught, they happily changed roles. They adapted the rules to suit their own play. The girls wanted to stay together so at times there were 2 wolves telling the time. They maintained focus on their chosen game and showed a high level of energy and interest.


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


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