Tuesday, 29 March 2011

GARDEN CENTER ROLE PLAY!

Today I had planed to take the children to the garden center to look at all the plants and pick up a few bits for our garden. We dropped the boys off at school and then headed off to a local one about 10 minutes away.
We had a lovely time looking at water features, plants, mothers day and Easter gifts! We looked at some bird feeding stations and decided it would be nice to get one. So we did! Along with a nice bird table and a nest!
We also found some bunches of silk flowers on offer. we decided to buy some so we could make our own Garden Center when we got home!


Once home we planted up our Lettuces that we bought! The children loved digging holes and putting in the plant plugs. We covered them over with cloches to stop the bunny from eating them!























We then set up the feeding station. the children are really hoping a bird will set up home in our nest but I am worried it might be a bit late..... we will have to see.



After planting we decided to gather up all the bits we needed for a Garden Center role play area. We had a lovely time and the little ones really got in to the role play. taking turns to be the shop keeper and the customers. Lots of mathematical language and talking about money and the coin values.

























I think this might be something we will play over several weeks and add to as we go along!

Monday, 28 March 2011

OUR PEACEFULL, SUNNY, SUNDAY!

This Sunday Brendan woke up and asked for Pancakes... Pooh Bear shaped Pancakes!  As with many people with Aspergers, Brendan has his obsessions. The latest is Pooh bear. which I actually don't mind so much as he seems to be quite a gentle and wholesome character.



So I set about making pancake batter and pouring it in to our Pooh Bear egg mould. I think it worked out quite well! He LOVED them and was very happy with how they turned out!


We also made some bread... not enough it would seem and by the evening I had another loaf in the oven! Kenzie did the kneeding for me!


We also finished off our Chicken coop. We have missed the middle bit of construction as my Sister and Dad did it last weekend and we were too busy. Yesterday they dropped it off and we all painted it with the Forget-me-not Blue that the boys chose! It's really bright and summery!


After lots of coats of paint and the sun drying it off nicely, we added it to the run which I had given a spring clean! The boys helped to spread the straw!


We think it looks fabby and the Chickens seem very happy with their new home!


We emptied the compost bin and Georgia, Heather and the boys dug it in to the veg bed while  I went and made everyone some food and a cup of tea!
After a food brake, we went out the back to the allotment and planted out our Potatoes and Onions. We had a lot of fun and it was lovely to chat with neighbours and be a bit more involved with the people that live around us. The children helped out with the planting and then went for a zoom around the close on their scooters!


Then it was getting dark and time for a well earnt rest! The Chickens are settled and the veg bed ready for some veg! And I ACHE!!!!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A DAY OF BEANS!

Today we looked at Beans! Not the baked beans you get in a can! The magic beans that make Beanstalks!!

We started off by looking at the bean its self. We had 2 varieties and talked about the colours and shape and texture. "Purple, pink, spotty, smooth, shiny!"  Lots of lovely descriptive vocab!
Next we looked at a book about growing Vegetables and looked at what the bean would look like once it was grown and baring fruit. We even found a recipe for a bean stir fry and looked at the ingredients we would add to make this dish!


I have a lovely book of gardening activities and we opened it up on the page for growing beans in a jar. We read out the list of resources that we needed together. and then followed the instructions for adding the blotting paper (kitchen towel in our case) and the water and beans.... We did have some naughty beans that wanted to fall all the way to the bottom, but this did give us a giggle!

 




















We labeled our jars so we knew who's was who's. I gave each child a label and a pen and said I needed them to write their names. "A" can write her name well and is the oldest of the group. "C" and "E" both made marks on the paper and sounded out letters or "made up" letter sounds as they made these marks.


We talked about what seeds needed to grow and we decided they needed water and light! so then we talked about where was best for the beans to sit whilst they grew.

I asked if a cold dark freezer was a good place?
"NOOOO PIP!!"
... so what about a dark cupboard?
"C" said this would be a good place and "A" and "E" said this was not a good place because the seed needed light!
So I asked if they thought the window sill was a good place?
"YESSSS!"
So that's where we put them.


 After planting our beans we went for story time before lunch. we read a version of Jack and the beanstalk that my son was bought by a teacher at his school. It is a really lovely version with no killing of the Giant or actual Stealing. The goose and lady who looks after the Giant actually asks Jack to take them with him! Very sweet!

After lunch and a run around for an hour at the park we had another beanstalk story. This was called Jasper's Beanstalk by Nick Butterworth. I love his books and we had a good giggle at this one, especially at the page where Jasper gets cross and digs his bean back up...... flicking mud and worms in the air behind him as he digs!

We decided to draw some pictures of Jasper and his beanstalk for our display in the playroom!



As you can see, lots of bean fun! What are you growing this Spring? I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A DAY WITH MOTHER NATURE!


Today the children and I enjoyed the sun and fantastic warmth that came with it! Such an amazing day that gave you a real summery feeling!

We started off the day helping a neighbour plant some fruit trees in our new communal allotment area. This is something that has come about, due to a couple of neighbours hard work and organisation. Applying for a grant and organising plans for a bit of waste land behind the house to be turned in to a usable area for everyone in the street. Lots of neighbours joined to clear, shovel, build and create this area. Sadly I could not help with this but we did help with the new seating area that was also included in this grant!

Each house has 2 plots and I have chosen a couple of corner plots where the children can dig without disturbing anyone else! They can use one to dig in and if they like add some seeds... not sure if anything will grow there but it gives them somewhere to "work" while I tend to my other plot next to them!

We carried buckets and spades up the road and they had a fantastic time digging mud pies and gather bits of bark to decorate the tops.






















"C" helped me dig holes for the tree's to go in! She did a really good job! We found some really big fat worms and talked about how good they are for the garden. The children even collected some to put in their veg bed!



After the trees were planted we pulled some of the Ivy off the fences. We found lots of sleeping ladybirds and a shield bug behind the ivy and had a great time talking about them and holding them.


I noticed a birds nest on the more established ivy that had been trimmed. It was an old nest so I took it off the branch and the children had a lovely time looking at it. We looked at what the birds had used to make the nest and the children shared their ideas and knowledge about birds and nests! We also found a rather gruesome discovery. Above the nest was the complete skeleton of a young bird tangled in the ivy. It was very interesting to talk about the bones and how we have bones in our bodies.






















We spent most of the afternoon up the park or in the garden playing with the garden toys and the outdoor kitchen area! "C" asked if she could collect the eggs. I hadn't done this for a few days so she went in to the run and opened the door. "There are LOADS PIP!!!" she screamed!!
I gave "E" a pot to put them in and we counted them as they came out and were placed in "E's" pot. There were 7 in total and I really thought we might need a bigger pot!

























So all in all today was a wonderful day spent with mother nature and enjoying all she gives us!

Monday, 21 March 2011

EXPLORING MINI BEASTS!

I thought I would share with you, this weeks planned activities. We are still looking at Spring, Gardens and mini beasts and today was a fantastically hot day for the time of year. I think I have even managed to catch a little of the sun on my chest.

I spent a lot of time gathering FANTASTIC nature resources from here and got to printing, cutting and laminating!! I have come up with a few ideas for using them.

The first is for this Minibeast matching tray activity. I laminated the print outs and then cut the cards up to make little individual bug cards. I added a basket of plastic mini beasts and set a few out on the tray! The children simply match then plastic bugs to their card!



The second idea I had was to print out Minibeast colouring sheets and leave them out on a tray for the children to use, as and when they wanted.


 Next I laminated and cut out these idials. I joined them together with a split pin and already the boys have had a lovely time moving the front dial and seeing what each Minibeast is called! There are two. One for Minibeasts in the air and another for Minibeasts on the ground.


I also printed out some of the resources, laminated them and pinned them to the garden fences. I put up print outs of Butterfly and ladybird species, Minibeasts you might find in the garden and I have one about Spring plants and flowers and another about garden birds to put up!



The children loved looking at the posters and even found a ladybird to try and match to the ladybird identification poster!

the sheet of writing is more for my reference than theirs!!


On a side note, I noticed some of the little ones are a bit confused with their colour recognition so I set up a fun colour matching tray activity! 


I hope the sun stays with us now! it was lovely being outside all day and making the most of it!!


We Play

Saturday, 19 March 2011

ROUND UP OF THIS WEEK!

This week has been quite random. I hadn't really set up much in the way of play trays or planned activities but this turned out to be quite a good thing as the children raided cupboards and found things they haven't played with for ages!

We spent a morning exploring letters. Mainly letter recognition and matching. "C" and "E" found the Jnr Scrabble which I have never got out for the little ones before. I have always felt it was more for the older children. Both of them got very excited about pulling letter tiles out of the bag and even little "M" was asking me "what that one?"
We decided to make up a new game and just match up any tiles we pulled out to, the words on the board!


Next they brought me the Melisa and Doug's see and spell toy. We love this and we all had a lot of fun matching up the letters to the indents in the boards and then sounding out our finished words!

We also had a good time with numbers! They choose a number puzzle to work on together and with some help (only talking them through the next number) They helped each other to look at the box to see what they needed next and then search through the jigsaw pieces on the floor to find the piece they needed.


We have had some lovely weather this week and we had a lovely time walking in the woods with friends and dogs! We played in dens, collected treasures, peeled sticks and listened out for wildlife.... mainly pheasants!


St Patricks Day was spent with another childminder. Heather had set up some fantastic activities for all the children to do and we had a fantastic time. The little ones were asking when we can go back for a play as we drove home!
We made some Green peppermint creams, made marks in a tray of green rice, played with a green sensory box, a rainbow peg colour matching game and some water play with green ice.

I thought this looked a bit like abstract art!  
We had a really long chat about what was making the green ice stars melt in our hands. It was great to watch them trying to work this out.
"A" said "Our hands!" .... So I asked what it was about our hands that made it melt. This was causing some problems so I asked if we had hot or cold hands. This was a silly question as the ice was making our hands very cold... so they answered "Cold", I suddenly realised the flaw in my question, So I changed tact....
"What would happen if we put this ice back in the freezer? ... "It would freeze?" said "A".
"yes it would..... because it is very cold.... we are quite warm and when the ice touches us it feels that heat and melts! So it's the heat that makes it melt!"
We spent a long time seeing who could make their star the smallest by holding it and melting it!

Yummy edible messy play!

 So as you can see.... its been a week of fun, mainly child initiated play with lot's of exploring and learning!

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