Wednesday, 3 June 2015


We have many bottle tops in our loose parts station and they are something that gets used a lot!
This week I have been adding mirrors to our loose part play and enhancing the experience.

The mirrors add depth and a new perspective to the children's play. If you add several mirrors then you introduce the children to a basic concept of endless and infinity.
Mirrors reflect light and images and by moving their bodies the children will see something different in their mirror. But the structures built on them will stay the same as the base image changes!

This activity can be used to 

  • Discuss size and height
  • Colour match/ sort and organise
  • Build structures
  • Balance
  • Explore reflections
  • Explore infinity
  • Help develop a steady hand


A great way to make some take home art with children using nature as their medium! This one also works the finger muscles!

The children an I collected some coloured leaves. It would have been nice to have more reds and oranges so I will do this again with them in the Autumn. The waxy leaves worked better as well.


I offered them all some crafting shape punches and showed them how to push a leaf in and then push down to cut a hole in the leaf. 

They were amazed to see little rabbits and ducks falling from the cutter and that they could see rabbit and duck shaped holes in the leaves! This encouraged them to carry on cutting them. It took careful control and skill to get the leaf in the gap and push it in far enough that the leaf was in properly. They also had to keep it there while they pushed the cutter down. They very quickly got the hang of this and we had little shaped bits of leaf all over the paper.

Once they had finished with the cutting part of the activity. they used the pens to draw pictures and then added the cut out leaves to it.

    • Use different shape and size cutters.
    • Offer paper and hole punch for free play.
    • Use the leaves as a threading activity after the holes have been cut.
    •  Use the leaves in the story of the "Very hungry caterpillar". 


    This took focus, perseverance and a "keep trying" attitude. It was a bit fiddly but the reward was seeing a little shape fall out the bottom. This encouraged the children to stick at it even, when it was a challenge.
    They both paid attention to details such as making sure the leaf went in far enough and noticing patterns on the leaves! They then used the patterns to make patterned ducks and rabbits! 

    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Communication and language
    • Physical Development
    • Expressive Art and Design
    • Understanding The World


    The weather has been so nice this week that it was great to get outside. We had started the week off with 2 days of high winds and weather warnings and we were all feeling rather cooped up. Then the sun came out and we were "FREE"!

    I set up an activity on the table outside and let the children explore it. I placed perspex mirrors and a bowl of coloured glass nuggets out popped a few of the nuggets on to a mirror as an introduction to play.

    The girls were both very interested to see what I was doing and came over, asking if they could touch them.
    "Of course! See what you can find to do with them!"

    So they set about exploring the mirror and the effects of the reflections changing as they moved . From one angle they could see the fence and from a different angel they could see the sky and clouds!

    "I" placed green nuggets along the bottom of the mirror and told me it was grass.

    "L" spent time grouping and naming the colours of the nuggets before making a picture. She also spent quite a bit of time moving on her chair so that one minute she was working with a sky reflection and other times she was working with a fence reflection, or a bush.

    "I" continued to make her picture, giving it sky and a sun.

    "L" made a waterfall and lake. She added a rabbit to the little area of grass and then a Dinosaur came along!

    The learning outcomes of this activity are broad.

    • Grouping and sorting buy colour
    • Talking about texture
    • Counting
    • Colour recognition
    • Creative art activities
    • Adding and subtraction exploration
    • Pattern making and following
    • Mosaic making
    • Quantity comparison
    • Letter formation
    By adding the mirror you are extending these opportunities further.
    • Looking at doubling by standing the mirror up and places nuggets on the table in front of it.
    • Depth perception
    • Exploring how reflections change as you move and change your perspective
    • Scientific enquiry
    • Exploring reflections.

    Thursday, 28 May 2015


    Half term is always a great time to enjoy some crafting. I always get far too much and we never have a lot of time to really enjoy crafting in term time. School and meal times get in the way! So we have really been making the most of being creative this week!

    My boys joined the little ones and sat with them making and painting Warhammer figures.

    Tuesday, 26 May 2015


    Bug hotel making was the aim of the day at Forest school this week! We put a shout out on line for donations and as usual so many people were generous with their gifts!

    This is the end result of our mornings work. Grand job, lead by our Forest school leader, Charlie and her helpers!

    Our other Forest School leader, Melanie, helped the children make smaller versions to take home! Using real tools and wood!

    Give children good quality tools to use and they will find a love for creating and building. We have all used low standard tools and the job is never as enjoyable as if we had the right tools for the job.
    Children are the same. If everything is too hard or doesn't work properly then they will soon become frustrated, By giving them the real, quality tools we are showing them that we trust them and respect them to use the tools safely and correctly.
    With supervision and the opportunity, these little ones can make some amazing things!

    I suspect we have many bugs living in real luxury around the county tonight!

    Tuesday, 19 May 2015


     Today we dug a mud pit in our Forest school session. I am hoping that this will be a well loved area of the site and one that I know we will use a lot on our visits here.

     Little "X" in particular, loved the mud pit. He wallowed in it for ages!

    We used some boards of wood as painting canvas's and used twigs and our fingers to paint with. Mud is an amazing medium to use in art activities outside. It really encourages your artistic and creative side to come out! It can be molded in a way that sand can not and in the case of this mud, which is very high in clay, it can dry hard to make lovely natural sculptures!

    The little ones were not afraid to get messy. They could not wait to get in and feel the mud under their feet. We laughed a lot each time a well got sucked down and a foot was pulled out of the pit minus the welly boot!

    It is so important for children to be able to experience this sort of play. Not only does it connect them with Nature in a very physical way but it also seems to calm children. I am not sure if it is the act of mud play in itself but I have read that scientist have found micro bacteria in mud that boosts serotonin and gives a general "Fell good" good mood to the person exposed to it.

    Mud is a sensory experience like no other.... people pay good money for someone to cover them in mud at a spa! Sensory play for children is a way of learning that can not be underestimated. Children learn and experience the world with their whole bodies. The more "in it" they can be the better! They not only learn about the item they are exploring through listening to you telling them about it, but they are feeling it for themselves, smelling it and even tasting it in some cases! This makes stronger neural connections that strengthen the learning potential and outcomes for our little ones. Many children are kinesthetic learners and this hands on approach is so important for them.

    The opportunity for language development is endless. In this session we talked about the feel and smell of the mud. We used descriptive language such as "sticky, slippy, thick" mud!
    Little "X" told me he was a hippo because he was bigger than a piggy!
    I love this quote! The connections that he made to mud, animals that like mud and his size in relation to those animals was wonderful!

    Mud is also such a universal experience for all ages. It is so inclusive! It doesn't matter how old you are or how mobile you are. It doesn't mater if you have delayed speech or understanding. It is enjoyable for all. Each child will bring their own ideas to this area of play. Making things from it, painting with it, or just enjoying the feel of it!

    You know what..... we all come washable! Yes it is messy but it is what childhood memories are made of! And that is the biggest part of my job as a parent and childminder. Giving these little ones the childhood they deserve and the memories that will make them the adults and parents that they might become themselves.

    Monday, 18 May 2015


    I picked these up really cheap from a supermarket and thought nothing more of them. I found them this week while sorting out a cupboard and thought they would work nicely with the minibeast tray I had set up.

    Little "L" was the first to try these out and with some help we sounded out the letters on the cards to see if she could work out what each one said. We were also introduced to some of the more unusual insects which we hadn't talked about, like Mosquito. This led to looking in the bug reference book to see if we could learn more about Mosquito's.

    For such a cheap item, it was a great addition to the minibeast tray for my pre-school aged children. Extending the learning in the activity and making it suitable for a larger range of children.

    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Communication and language
    • Literacy
    • Understanding The World


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