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!

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