Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Playdough Christmas Mats

I can't believe we are already singing Christmas carols, making presents and cards and getting in the Christmas spirit at school already!!!
Here is a super easy Christmas activity that will keep your young children busy and happy while they develop skills and learn through play.

Christmas Tree Playdough Mats

I cut out and laminated some simple tree shapes for the playdough table and added some little coloured decorations and glitter. You could add sequins, buttons, tinsel....really anything but my class loved this combination.

Make one batch of playdough, divide it into balls and make multiple colours. (That is if you don't mind your children mixing the colours- because they definitely will!)

Let your children get to work rolling, squashing, creating and decorating their trees.

Playdough is such a wonderful activity as it has so many learning opportunities but what is really fabulous is that children just LOVE playing with it.
Make some Christmas Trees for your children..

Monday, 16 November 2015

Block Area Challenge Cards

A while back, I wrote about adding loose parts to the block area to stimulate imaginative play. 

This term I made some block area challenge cards for the children to use in the block area. These cards can be as challenging or as simple as you like, depending on the age and ability of your class. They also provide a great starting point for your children's own creative block constructions.

We don't have a huge variety of blocks in our block shelf so I included some lovely natural loose parts from the wonder table.

I laid out block constructions that I thought the children could make. I photographed them, printed them and then laminated them for durability. 
Some samples....

Laminated cards ready for the children to use...

Here are some examples of how I incorporated the numbers 1-10 in the block cards also.

You don't have to use wooden blocks, you could use Duplo or any construction materials you have. Make some cards and challenge your kids !!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - VIDEO

For those of you who have been kind enough to follow my blog for the past three years means you may have seen one of my stories on YouTube already.  My  class absolutely love it when I  'draw a story' and it doesn't matter how many times they have seen it. This song  tells the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears from the Playschool series, and I draw the story as it evolves. I started doing this years ago because I had a few children that spoke very little English and this seemed to hold their attention and keep them engaged.

I hope you enjoy sharing it with your class or kids at home or try drawing your own story!!
Let me know how you go.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Exploring Nature

Since graduating as a teacher many, MANY, years ago, I have continued to grow, learn and change. One really important change has been to encourage children to explore nature and the world around them, to appreciate the beauty in small details and to use loose parts to challenge their learning and discoveries. I am constantly looking at different ways to up-cycle materials and to use resources that are abundant in our immediate environment.

Here are a few ways I have incorporated natural materials and recycled materials into our playground.

I picked up a few old drawers that someone was throwing out and painted them. They are perfect for storing loose parts.

Loose parts- pine cones

Loose parts- gum nuts

Loose parts- seed pods

Loose parts- pebbles

Electrical cable reel and wood cookies.

Planting in tyres.

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on how you incorporate natural materials into your program.