Monday, 30 September 2013

SMALL WORLD PLAY- FIRE STATION

We have a fabby new toy here and it was a bargain from a Facebook sale site. All the children have had a go at playing with it and lots of little stories have been told with the extra fire men that I bought for it from Amazon.



I love listening to the children giving the characters voices and little lives. Little "X" spent ages chatting and acting out little scenarios.  This toy really captured his interest and imagination.

The Firemen were driving so fast that the Engine tipped over and everyone fell out.......


Little "X" saved someone from a wardrobe!



CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:
 Each of the children showed great involvement in the new Fire station toy. They all used knowledge from stories we had read and episodes of "Fireman Sam" that they have watched on the TV and transferred it to their small world play. They were so involved and focused on their play. 
 Each child explored the toy in their own way. Using the fire truck and filling it with firemen and driving it around while others spent their time setting up the furniture in the Fire station and putting little computers on to desks. They worked things out for themselves and used items to represent other items. Making links with past play or learning and bringing that to the current activity.



Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Communication and Language
  • Personal, Social and Emotional
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Understanding the World

Friday, 27 September 2013

OUR LITTLE HOME CORNER AREA

Last week I set up a little Homecorner area for the children. I wanted to make it a nice enclosed space for them. I remember loving enclosed spaces as a child. 
I used a clothes horse style wooden den making frame and draped a duvet cover over it. My parents gave me an old bedside table that my sisters and I used as children. It has made the best cooker! I drew a couple of hobs on the top and I plan on adding some buttons to it as well.


I put an enamel bowl in there and a stool.





The children have all got stuck in to this with lots of enthusiasm and it has really helped them to consider others and their thoughts and ideas. Having a smaller area means they have to get along if they are going to play in that space together. They have to consider other peoples personal space and be aware of others as they move around. It has really helped with their personal, social and emotional development!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

"HOW TO" ....... IMPROVE HAND STRENGTH AND HAND- EYE COORDINATION BY USING SCISSORS



This week we have been practising our scissor skills. Cutting with scissors is a really hard thing for children to learn but it is very useful for developing their hand muscles which will in turn make learning to write much easier. Not only does it develop the muscles in the palms of their hands but using scissors uses Bilateral coordination. This means that they are using both sides of their body at the same time. For example, using the scissors in one hand to cut and move forwards while holding and turning paper in the other. Bilateral coordination is a skill that we use every day of our lives. For example when we do up zips, chop and prepare vegetables and do the dishes.

We currently do a lot of pre cutting activities to help children develop the movement needed to actually use scissors.

  • We do sorting activities using tweezers to pick up Pom Poms.
  • We use playdough. Moulding, shaping, kneading and stretching the dough works the same muscles.
  • We have been using spray bottles in the garden over the summer.
  • Using clothes pegs for attaching blankets when den making.

Little "R" has really worked hard on her cutting skills over the past year and can manage to cut paper in half, in a strait line. She has now moved on to trying to cut around pictures and shapes.
Little "L" "X" and "I" are at the stage of cutting individual snips in the edges of pages and tearing the rest apart.

I have set up a fun cutting activity for the children to try and I am seeing some real improvement in the children's cutting skills.


You will need....


  • some old toy magazines
  • plain paper
  • glue sticks
  • scissors
Each of the children chose a magazine and flicked through until they found something they really liked. They then took the scissors and tried to cut out the picture. It helps if you can pull the page out of the magazine for them before they try cutting it. It is also an idea to help the children get the right fingers in the right holes on scissor handles.



Sometimes it can help if you place your hands over the top and move the scissors for them so that they get a feel for the movement needed to cut.

Little "R" is now showing the bilateral coordination that i described above. She is turning her paper as she cuts and following a strait line much easier than she was a few months ago.




Little "I" needed quite a lot of my help to position her fingers and to master the opening and closing motion needed to cut. She became very excited every time a piece of paper came off and was very eager to stick it on her paper. She asked me to cut some pictures out for her.


Little "X" is finding the positioning of scissors very tricky. He is not sure which fingers to put in which holes on the handles and finds them tricky to control. He is still very much at the snipping the edges and tearing stage. He seems to prefer using two hands to control them at this point.




CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:
This activity was offered to the children to give them the opportunity to practice their cutting skills and for me to observe what stage they are at in this area. It has shown that some children would benefit from some more tweezer activities and also some more playdough play as well. I will plan to offer these more over the coming weeks. Each child showed great interest and concentration in this activity and there was clear joy from achieving what they had set out to do. With each piece of paper that became separated, there was a smile and shout of excitement and a rush to stick it down with the glue! Every child kept trying even though some of them found this activity much harder than others.


Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Physical Development

STENCILS- MARK MAKING

I have been thinking of some different things to set out for mark making. Especially things that encourage a more controlled mark making experience. 
I lay out some paper, gel pens and stencils. Farm animals and Dinosaur shapes.

It didn't take long for the children to give them a go. This is another activity that helps a child develop their Bilateral coordination. They have to hold the stencil carefully in place and then use the other hand to draw around it. This is quite a tricky task. It takes a lot of concentration and a very steady hand.



Both girls have a good pencil grip and and can control the gel pens quite easily. They did find following the edge of the stencil hard though. They missed some areas and occasionally the stencil slipped which changed the look of the shape.



Both the girls were pleased with how their pictures turned out and gave each shape a name. They told me the animal that they had drawn or that it was a Dinosaur.


CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:
This activity was offered to the children to give them the opportunity to practice their mark making skills and for me to observe what stage they are at in this area. It has shown that some children would benefit from some more controlled mark making activities More opportunities to use stencils and maybe some tracing boards. I will plan to offer these more over the coming weeks. Each child showed great interest and concentration in this activity and there was clear joy from achieving what they had set out to do. With each animal or Dinosaur they drew , there was an eagerness to share their achievement with others around them and asking to see each others picture as they were being drawn Each child kept trying even though they all found it quite tricky. They seemed to enjoy the challenge!


Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Physical Development

Monday, 23 September 2013

MUSIC MAN AND SO MUCH MORE!

Little "T" is a real music boy! He asks for "Row your boat" by sitting on your lap and rocking back and forth, he responds with pleasure and excitement every time we have a singing session and on this particular day he self selected the instruments from the shelf and spent over half an hour exploring them.


I love these pictures! I did of course make sure he didn't push this too far in to his mouth but he was getting such pleasure from exploring the beater with his mouth and then making a noise around the side of the stick while it was in his mouth.



It was interesting to watch him try to grasp the stick with his hand while it was in his mouth. Every time he moved his head to try and see the stick, it of course moved the stick as well... this made it tricky for his hands to grasp at the stick end.
It did encourage some good mid-line cross over which is important in itself. Children need to learn to do this so that they can judge speeds and distances as they get older and it is shown that children who do not have this skill have many problems with reading and writing. Little "T" is just starting to move his body in to a crawling position and has managed a couple of coordinated shuffles of his hands and knees to move forwards slightly. Crawling really is the most important milestone for this to develop and it is the first time a child uses their eyes and hands to cross the bodies mid-line. Children should not be rushed through the crawling stage as it is doing some very important jobs when it comes to brain development.


I watched as Little "T" used the beater to make noise as he rolled it along the Xylophone. Again he rotated the trunk of his body to make the beater reach the far end of the Xylophone, more mid-line crossover


One by one he reached in to the basket on the shelf and pulled out different instruments. Each time he explored it first with his hands. Looking at it as he handled it. Then he would bang it against something and explore the sound it made and he would also bring it to his mouth to taste it.


Bit by bit the shelf was emptied of its contents. Every now and then we sang a little rhyme while he made a noise with the instruments. He smiled and made sounds, interacting the whole time with me and the instruments. He listened carefully to the sounds I made and watched my face with intense concentration. Taking a moment to form his mouth in to the same shape and then reproducing the sound for himself. We spent a long time practising this language and speech development. Taking turns and responding to the sound made. I changed my sound and he would copy the new sound each time.


After about half an hour he moved on to the basket of finger puppets. We use these as song prompts. The children can choose a puppet and we sing a song linked to it. This is especially helpful for children who have 
not yet learnt to talk or for children who have speech delay. The understanding is there much sooner than the ability to voice it and so by offering the puppets, children can select their favourite songs during our music sessions. Every puppet Little "T" selected, I sang the the song connected to it, to him.



Once both baskets were empty he found the shelf itself interesting. It was just the right hight for him to lean on and to pull himself up.




CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:
During this play session, Little "T" had self selected what he wanted to do. He had moved himself in to a position by the shelf and had chosen to look at the instruments. This meant that he was motivated and engaged on this activity. He was following his own interests. As he selected the instruments he was finding out about them and exploring them. He Made sounds with them, held them in his hands, manipulated them, passed them from one hand to the next, using his mouth to explore the taste and textures of the instrument. Experiencing the cold metal on his mouth or the warmth of wooden ones. The whole time he had his ideas of what he wanted to do and achieve and was content in his learning experience.
We spent valuable time sharing face to face time. learning the basic skills of conversation by taking turns and repeating sounds back and forth to each other. Listening and copying. Non verbal communication was shared as Little "T" held up the puppets to hear another song. In time he will associate each puppet with a song and this will make it easier for him to chose the ones he would like us to sing.
There was a lot of physical development taking place here. Fine motor skills as he explored each instrument and again when he formed specific shapes with his mouth to make the same sounds as I was making. Larger Gross motor development as he pulled himself to standing and then balanced himself, then lowered himself back down again. This is still a very new achievement and is very much in the emerging stage. He still needed my help to stay balanced and to reposition his legs for him as they started to slide out from under him before sitting again.


Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, social and emotional 
  • Expressive Art and Design

Thursday, 19 September 2013

INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

Thursday September 19th 2013 was "International talk like a Pirate day"!

I had planned several Pirate themed activates to do through out the day as well as setting up a Pirate small world play area and leaving lots of props and dressing up clothes out for Imaginative role play!

We started the day by making some painted Pirate biscuits for snack time.


There was a felt story board out for the children to use either to make a picture or as an aid to telling their own Pirate tales!



We had a lot of role play and dressing up! This has been a big hit for most of the week to be honest and also last week.


The Treasure chest that we made last week has had a lot of play and is standing up quite well to being buried, hidden, stolen and seized!




We painted Pirate Parrots!



Using our hands as wings!


We decorated our biscuits!


Enjoyed a Pirate themed lunch!





Everyone went home with Pirate Certificate for joining in with our Pirate fun!!

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