Love Child led learning – Old MacDonald sensory bin 

Following a child’s lead…As you can see I had set up a lovely little sensory bin this morning for the little man. He is very into animal sounds at the moment and constantly points out animals in books and picks up toys to make sounds. He is also on constant repeat singing his version on old macdonald. So I made this modest little sensory bin with his farm.


Needless to say the farm went out the window very quickly, as he went and got some bowls out of the cupboard to fill and empty rather than play with the animals. So I followed his lead and did some filling and emptying. I then added a funnel and a jug to practice pouring, which he absolutely loved! 


Second child lead learning of the day was the Hoover. Needless to say having a lentils sensory bin down stairs in your open plan house was asking for a large amount of cleaning up. Whilst he was deeply involved in the sensory bin I decided to have a quick Hoover up of the rug that was now full of lentils. He stopped and watched and suddenly made the revelation of what a hoover does! He watched me Hoover the mass amount of lentils, ran back to the sensory bin, grabbed a hand full of lentils and threw them on the floor in front of me as I hoovered and continued to watch in awe as I hoovered them up. He did this a few more times before he wanted to test this theory that the hoover will make anything in its path disappear. He tried balls and cars, obviously neither of which worked. So he went back to lentils. Thankfully he decided since it only hoovered up lentils it wasn’t that fun and went back to his sensory bin.

Sensory bins are a wonderful experience for children and there are probably thousands of ideas out there for them. You can shape them to a child’s interests and Schemas and also to current themes or planning in your settings. I had planned on writing a post about sensory bins today and sharing lots of ideas, I will do that another day, as today I wanted to show you that the magic of learning happens when you let children guide their own learning and your planning and play. You can extend their play through parallel play, sustained shared thinking or my adding a few more resources that fit the play they are immersing themselves in but please please please never stop a child and show them how you want them to play or what the activity ‘should be’! Be truly child centred and child led even in your adult led and planned provision, this is how the most learning will get done. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Love Early Education,

Love, Kylie x

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Love nursery rhymes – day 6 of 30 days wild

Due to the grey thundery skies Day 6 of #30dayswild wasn’t as wild as it could of been.


Today we listened to the thunder and the rain from inside and took the opportunity to sing some weather related songs. These included I hear thunder and it’s raining it’s pouring. 

Nursery rhymes are great for children’s communication and language development as well as literacy skills. The joy of nursery rhymes are they are completely free and available anytime any place. Currently our favourite in this house is baa baa black sheep, now that the little one can say baa. 

Have a read of this wonderful document all about the importance of nursery rhymes for children’s development:
http://www.kbyutv.org/kidsandfamily/readytolearn/file.axd?file=2011%2F3%2F2+Rhymers+are+Readers-Why+Important.pdf 

Also there the activities you can plan around nursery rhymes are endless! 

From sensory bins:
http://adventuresofadam.co.uk/old-macdonalds-farm-tuff-spot/

To maths activities:
http://picklebums.com/five-currant-buns-free-printable-puppets/

And everything in between!

Physical development – http://lifeovercs.com/jumping-with-jack-be-nimble-gross-motor-activity/#comment-51620

Science – http://www.science-sparks.com/2015/08/06/humpty-dumpty-science-ideas/

Here are 45 nursery rhyme crafts from How Wee Learn:

45 Nursery Rhyme Crafts

Enjoy.
Love Early Education,

Love, Kylie x 

Love outdoor learning – day 5 of 30 days wild

Day 5 of #30dayswildForest School!
Tuesday is usually forest school day for us at Ace Forest School.


Forest school is a fantastic learning experience for children. We are lucky enough to have Ace Forest School locally which caters to children from birth and up as they have forest school playgroup. Most forest school cater from pre-school and up and are happy to take classes of up to 30 children during a session. During a forest school session children tend to learn about fire safety and often get to cook some food on a fire. They also get to handle tools and most importantly get to grips with the outdoors through mud kitchens, muddy puddles, climbing trees. The opportunities are endless. There are so many opportunities in the outdoors including maths and literacy. Here are 35 ideas for outdoor learning that include maths and literacy among some other lovely ideas:

http://nurturestore.co.uk/forest-school-activities

Today we took part in some lovely activities at Ace Forest School, we did some leaf threading – all you need are some nice strong leafs, a hole punch and some wool. We also made some ladybirds – this included some wood cookies/slices, some paint and some corks or anything that will print a round shape. Our lovely forest school leader Jane provided us with edible paint incase any of the little ones fancied a taste and they did some printing and once it was dry they could decorate their ladybirds with some black dots.

Some of our favourite activities at forest school are the mud kitchen, the treasure basket (you can create your own with some outdoor goodies you collect, such as acorns, sticks, stones etc), playing hide and seek and also going on a bug hunt. Using magnifiers to have a good look at some little bugs can provide lots of fun and an opportunity to embrace learning across the curriculums. But these activities are to name just a few. 

Forest schools are available to settings and schools for block sessions or one offs. Forest schools are becoming widely available to children on weekends, so even if your child’s setting isn’t involved in one it doesn’t mean you can find one yourself. Some nurseries offer forest school as part of there curriculum, either on site on a small scale or at a separate site. A fantastic setting that offers this in the Liverpool area is Dukes and Duchesses Day Nursery. 

The forest school association offers a lot of information about forest school including its rich history and the learning opportunities it holds http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/

But don’t worry if you can’t get to a forest school, there is plenty of fun to be had in your local woods or national parks, or even in your own garden. Let children take risks, climb trees, look a buys, dig in the mud and jump in muddy puddles. 
Love Early Education,

Love, Kylie x 

(Non of the organisations mentioned are affiliates, just some examples of outstanding provision).

Love Science – Stinky potions

This week I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to share any Valentines Day activities. Since Valentines Day has been and gone for this year, I’m going share one that we did for Valentines Day in my setting but it’s a great one you can do all year round 🙂

I discovered this activity on Pinterest as a Valentines Day activity for making love potions:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2013/01/love-potions-valentines-day-science-play.html#comment-309142

I absolutely loved the idea and decided to do it with my preschoolers. We ordered White Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for the activity but Malt vinegar was delivered instead and we ended up making what the children called stinky potions instead. The potions were obviously darker in colour and smelled really strong but the children loved it. Once they got over the initial excitement of seeming the expanding foam pour out of the containers they asked if we could make big potion and they started to add things like toy bugs, one of them even asked did we have any toy eyes to make a scary potion.

It was fantastic we got to do some counting and measuring of the ingredients and we used fine and gross motor skills picking up the jugs and using them to pour and fill the jugs and containers. Also the language the children used and developed was brilliant, talking about how it smelled and how it felt, eventually the children came up with the title of stinky potions.

I will definitely be recreating this for Halloween.

Love Early Education
Love, Kylie x

Love Outdoor Play – Forest Schools

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Over the past few weeks in university we have been talking about forest schools. Forest Schools were first seen in Sweden during the 1950s and since 1995 have been popping all over the UK, there are now upwards of 180 around the UK. The importance of natural resources and outdoor play has been around since the days of Frobel and McMillan and is now an integral part of Early Years Practice, especially in Forest Schools.

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As part of our exploration of Forest schools we went into our local woods last week to do a risk assessment and planned some early years activities and this week we went back into the woods to take part in these activities.

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These activities included sitting at a ‘log pile house’ and reading The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, exploring for twigs and building twigs towers and going on a bear hunt. As well as an activity on outdoor fire making.

The Gruffalo –
We decided on a outdoor story after finding this little beauty…

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Which we used as a somewhere to read The Gruffalo from as it had strong logs around that the ‘children’ could sit on.

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We sat around by our ‘log pile house’ and read The Gruffalo, with group participation.

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As well as The Gruffalo, we then went on to explore for sticks and build twig towers. We used string to create an enclosed area that the ‘children’ could safely explore in, the string held by hanging branches and branches that stuck out and where unsafe, we also closed off areas that included nettles and holly.

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Once we found enough twigs we started to build our towers, we included counting and shapes.

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After our twig towers we went on a bear hunt, we went through the grass, mud and the deep dark forest.

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And we made arrows to find our way back.

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After all that excitement it was time for us all to learn something new. Our tutor showed us how to create an outdoor fire using a fire can and different resources including a magnesium fire flint key.

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We eventually got our fire started, although it didn’t last very long. It gave Sutherland opportunity to explore fire safety and exciting ways to learn about the world including science. Although this wouldn’t be right for every child and every setting, in the right context this could be a fantastic experience for children.

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Forest schools and outdoor play has so many opportunities for childre, it includes sensory play, physical developing and developing a understanding about the world, as well as helping children develop confidence.

These last few weeks have definitely inspired me to explore Forest schools and outdoor play further. I hope it has inspired you all too.

Love Early Education
Love, Kylie x

Love Diversity – Chinese New Year also known as The Spring festival.

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I had the chance to see some of the Chinese New Year celebrations at my university yesterday. There was Chinese food including some tasty spring rolls and a tea ceremony. There was also Chinese calligraphy, origami, table tennis and Chinese drums with a dragon dance.

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These are fantastic for a university but are you wondering what to do in your early years setting for Chinese New Year? Here are a few ideas:

🐴 Year of the horse – so for the most basic of activities get the paint or the pens out and draw some horses. Talk about Chinese New Year and the zodiac and let the children pick what animals they would like to draw, talk about what they look like, how many legs, what colours they are and what noises they make etc.

🐴 Expressive arts – Want some more arts and crafts activities? Well there are plenty for Chinese New Year, as well as the animals paintings you can make Lanterns, Chinese fans and for your pre schoolers you could even try some basic origami. You could also help the children to make some red envelopes or a Chinese drum.

🐴 Music and movement – you can make some Chinese drums with your children, all you need is two paper plates each, some sticks (lolly sticks will do), some string and something like a pair of bells or beads and you are good to go. Let the children decorate them and then let the music and movement begin 🙂 As well as your Chinese drums you could include some sings such as gung hay fat choy!
http://www.nancymusic.com/Gunghayplay.htm

🐴 Fine motor skills – Today in my setting we made some rainbow rice (red is perfect for this time of year)
and used our fine motor skills to try and use chop sticks to pick the rice up, it was good fun and the kids loved it.

🐴 Maths – Make some Chinese food this week, some that takes a few ingredients, something like spring rolls. That way you can get the children to help measure and count the ingredients and at the end of it, they even get to try some yummy Chinese food 🙂

I know there are a lot more activities out there to celebrate this special time of year but we have 23 days of spring festival starting tomorrow, so please share all your ideas and keep an eye on my Pinterest for more ideas.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Love Early Education
Love, Kylie x