Monday, 7 March 2016


I am currently working with children who have just turned 3 years of age. Although most of them can count to 10, I wanted to focus on counting items individually and number recognition to 5.

With St Patrick's Day just around the corner I thought I would create some themed activities to encourage this. I have started with a simple number line. I added a numeral to each space and also Shamrocks in the same pattern as we see on dice.

 This reinforces children's understanding of

  •  Cardinality - That this represents how many of something there is. 
  •  Subitising - Instantly recognising the quantity without having to count.

By placing an item on each space, the children can count the items. I added 5 of each item for the purpose of this activity. The children can see that although each group of items looks different, there is in fact the same number of each. 

  • Conservation of number - Knowing that the quantity is the same however the items are arranged and grouped.

  • Place different items on the number line and add them together. Use the counting on method so that children can see that they do not need to start at 1 each time.
  • Use 2 different items on the number line to look at number bonds to 5.

Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Communication and Language
  • Mathematics 

Sunday, 6 March 2016


The play room has been set up ready to explore! I will be adding activities and experiences to the environment for the children over the next 2 weeks.

Monday, 11 January 2016


After the Christmas screening of Julia Donaldson's "Stick Man", the children have been really interested in the book. This is one of my favorites, after the Gruffalo series. I wanted the children to be able to explore the elements of the story and make their own Stick Men so set up an area in the playroom for them to do this. A selection of materials that they could use to make their own Stick Man to take home.

I made a Stick Man for the children to play with as they read the story. He has been a big hit and has been incorporated in to lots of other play and daily routines!

Storytelling is an important skill for young children to learn. It enhances their speech and language skills. They pick up richer language and expression. Stories spark imagination and creativity in all ages! Once a child becomes familiar with a story, they will start to "read" it from memory. They know the words on each page and this is an important step in pre-reading skills. Even more so if you run a finger under each word as you read it. The children will pick this up and use it themselves when looking at books.
Books like "Stick Man" have such a wonderful element of rhyming to them. This is another pre-reading skill that will help ready a child for school.
Braking stories down not only encourages comprehension and language, but it also opens up opportunities to make predictions about what might happen next or how a character might be feeling.
Sharing books is a lovely social time either one to one or in a small group. It is engaging and calming. Perfect for calming frustrated toddlers!

  • Prepare a story sack for the children to either select as they wish too or borrow to share with family at home.
  • Tell the story many times over the coming weeks and use props for the children 

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

Thursday, 7 January 2016


"M" and I spent some time looking at word sounds this morning. She has started to pick out the beginning sound of some familiar words like "m for mummy".
I have a word Bingo game that I thought might be a bit hard for her but thought we would give it a go. She really enjoyed it and can recognise some letters by site. Especially letters that are in her name. 

"M" is just over 2.5 years so quite young to be picking out the letter sounds that start words, but because she is interested we will play this game a few times and use her interest to spark her learning. She has also started to write some of the letters in her name, independently!

  • Sound out beginnning letter sounds for every day items and when writing names. 
  • Play the game a few times while she has an interest.

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

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


We signed up to help out at our local wildlife rescue center, back in the summer. We often taken injured wildlife to the center and the children like to visit the animals that have not recovered enough to be released. They have a lovely home at the center so it is not as sad as it sounds for them. 

We picked them up and took them home with us. The Wildlife Hospital gave us a Hedgehog house for them to sleep in. We filled it with hay and put down some water and dog food.

Three little prickly palls settled in well but one did not move or try and get to shelter or food. We brought him in for the night and took him back to the hospital to be checked on and released at a later date. The boys are very pleased that we have been able to help these little ones. The children I care for have been popping in to the garden to check on them and as the days have gone by, we seem to have less Hedgehogs. Hopefully they are finding their feet and venturing off through the gardens to find their own food.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Early communication skills are important for young babies and children. They are born with an inbuilt desire to connect to others and part of this is their ability to mimic facial expressions. Babies as young as 6 weeks have shown the ability to copy the expressions that their parents have made to them. 
My favourite is sticking my tongue out and watching them copy back to me. I have always done it and never really known why until I started to learn about child development in the 90's. I guess it is hardwired in to us adults as well!

Other fun things to try include making your eyes wide or opening and shutting your mouth. Very often the baby or toddler will make the same face back to you.

This isn't just play. It is early language and communication skills. Babies are primed for social interaction and have a preference for zoning in on faces. They respond to you when you look at them and make eye contact, but if you look away they will go quiet and  look somewhere else. They can pick up on your expression and many tests have shown that they respond better to someone that smiles rather than a neutral facial expression. 

This early form of non verbal communication is all part of the important development for successful language and social skills. This sounds like a perfect excuse to sit and play with baby for as long as possible!


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