Monday, 15 February 2016

SCIENTIFIC & MATHEMATICAL THEORY IN WATER PLAY

Children are naturally drawn to water play. Like moths to a light, they just can't help themselves. If water is there then it has to be explored. 
Free play with water is a fantastic way for children to learn the foundations to many scientific theories in a way that has meaning and context for them. The same has to be said about the mathematical learning opportunities as well.
Basic Physics such as motion and mathematical concepts such as volume and measurement.

Time and space to explore and test ideas is a vital part of Scientific investigation. Repeating a process to see if the results stay the same. Adding additional factors to see if the results change.


Our job as childcare practitioners is to facilitate this learning through the provision of resources. Most of which can be found for free. A bucket of water and pots from the recycling bin is all that is needed.
The tricky bit for us is making sure we make the most of this exploration with well thought out prompting and questioning. Encouraging the children to make predictions. Offering new language to extend their learning. We can help children develop their thinking with observation and questioning.


Today's water play was very much based around the concept of capacity. Using different sized pots to scoop and transfer water and working out which pots were of a similar size so that they did not overflow.

Exploring how many of these small scoops fit in to this big jug?
This bottle is a different shape to this one but they hold the same amount of water...... how can this be?

Developing mathematical language such as full and empty, more and less, heavier and lighter is just one area of learning that water play offers in abundance. Not to mention the discussions around the shapes and size of the bottles and pots used. Adding numbers evenly spaced along a bottle can give a numerical reference to water play and a way for children to compare quantity as they transfer water from one to another.



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

Thursday, 11 February 2016

WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THIS PIECE OF ICE?

Playing in the garden today, little "E" found a piece of ice covering the water in a bowl. We managed to loosen it and lift it out. She picked it up and told me it was cold. She also pointed out that it was very slippy! I asked her why she thought there might be ice in the garden today. She was not really sure what to answer. Little "M" told me it was "very cold outside today!"
"That's right I said!"


I had brought some warm water out with me for the girls to use. I didn't want their hands to get too cold too quickly. "M" had some in her tea pot. She took a piece of the ice and lay it on the table.
"What will happen if we put hot water on it?" I asked.
"It will melt!" She told me.
This was a great piece of scientific thinking at just over 2.5 years of age. It shows that playing outside and being free to explore has given her an understanding about some simple scientific principles, These are things that she has experienced for herself and remembered.


"Look Pippa! It's tiny........ It's all melted!"


Time for another piece of ice and a repeat of the process. Repetition and cementing of concepts is an important part of learning and understanding. Giving children the time to experience and engage in their own learning is far better than anything we could set up. "M" is learning because she is curious and enjoying something that she has found and wants to know more about!


NEXT STEPS:
  • Encourage more play with ice while the weather is cold. Point out that the ice stops appearing as the weather gets warmer.
  • Offer other ways to melt ice such as salt.

Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Understanding the World

Monday, 8 February 2016

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2016


Setting up the playroom for the week ahead is always fun, but even more so when I have a special celebration or festival  on the plans.


This morning we looked at where China is on the map and talked about what food grows there, the animals that live there and looked at the flag! I printed some pictures off that included the Chinese flag and an outline of the country.


I added a small basket of China themed stickers to the table as well as pencil crayons and let the children explore the resources. They all remembered what colour the flag was most of the children selected the right colours for realistic flag image.


We explored some chop stick use. I bought some training chop sticks which are really a bit like tweezers! There were many different approaches to using these. Some used them in a traditional chop stick grip and others went for the full hand approach. Either way they all engaged to pick up large pompoms and then transferred them in to bottle tops and pots!



We also printed out and decorated some jointed figures! The children noticed all the lovely colours that are embroidered on the Cheongsam (Chinese dresses) and the patterns and pictures that they used in the decoration.



"E" and "J" set up their own little Chinese picnic meal. Using their chop sticks they tried to pick up yarn noodles!




Then we had a real Chinese meal! Which was much more tasty!


Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Understanding the World

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

ADVENTURING OFF OUTDOORS!

17 month old "H" has been walking around with confidence but not so much outside. He gets anxious and wants to sit down. I hoped that playing in the garden would encourage him to try and brake these fears. He does tend to stand and cry if I put him down outside. I am supporting him by spending more time in the garden and encouraging him to stand on the ground. I am really hoping he will be brave enough to take some steps out there.



Although we didn't get much in the way of steps outside today, we did see smiles and he was far more confident than he has been for a while. He found balls to throw and the older children brought him lots of pots from the mud kitchen to bang and bash!



NEXT STEPS:
  • Spend more time outside to encourage walking.
  • Have free access to the garden on warmer days with back doors open.
  • Little and often approach.

Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
  • Physical Development
  • Personal Social and Emotional Development

Monday, 1 February 2016

MUDDY SWAMPY FUN!

Our local Outdoor Education Center is rather waterlogged at the moment. We are all waiting for it to dry up so that we can run our Forest School Sessions again. 


In the meantime we are making the most of the space and trying not to slip over too much!
We made a car today with pallets and tyres!


The water butts have filled up nicely with all the wet weather. So lots of water to use for the mud kitchen! The mud pit is actually filled to the brim with water and is more like a small pond!



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