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. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Halloween Black Cats - FREE DOWNLOAD

These black cats can be used in many different ways at home or in the classroom but here are three learning activities to get you started.
These activities can help your child with counting, matching, colour recognition and provide
wonderful language experiences. They are also a great fine motor activity.

Activity 1:
- Print out the cat shape on card, and cut it out. (I made five cats for my children, but you can make any number)

- Draw faces on your cats.

- Laminate the cats for durability.
- Decorate the wooden pegs with different patterns. (Decorate both sides)

- Ask your child some questions – How many legs does a cat have? Can you find four legs that are the same? 
- Encourage your child to peg the cat’s legs onto the body and count with them.
- Continue until all of the cats have 4 legs.

Activity 2:
- Print out the cat shape on card and cut it out. 
- Make coloured cat collars out of card and glue them onto the cat’s necks.
- Laminate the cats for durability.
- Instead of drawing patterns on the legs, colour the pegs with the same colours used for the collars. 
- Encourage your child to match the coloured pegs to the corresponding cat. 
- Continue until all of the cats have 4 legs.

Activity 3:
- After your child has successfully completed the last activity, you could sing the song…
-  “5 little cats went out one day, over the hills and far away,  Mother Cat said “Meow, meow, meow’ and only 4 little cats came back.” Sung to the tune of “5 Little Ducks” – as you sing, encourage your child to remove one of the cats each time until no cats are left, counting backwards from 5.

To get the most from these learning activities, ensure you talk, encourage, question, model and play with your child.

You can download your cat here. Get some pegs, and make some purrrfect Halloween black cats.
Let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Dying Pasta

Here is a simple way to dye pasta and a few creative ways to use it.

Start with the cheapest pasta and get some zip lock bags or plastic shopping bags.

I used food colouring, so I was only doing three colours- red, blue and green. ( I didn't dye all of the pasta, as the pasta is quite yellow already)

Put a few squirts of hand sanitiser in each bag along with some pasta. ( this helps the dye adhere to the pasta!!)

Place a few drops of food colouring in each bag.

Hold the bag closed and massage the contents until everything is mixed thoroughly and the pasta is evenly coated with the dye.

Spread out the pasta to dry on some newspaper.

Now the fun begins!!!!
You could use the dyed pasta for many craft, learning and play based activities. Here are a few......

Making names with pasta.

Making the alphabet.

Sorting according to colour.

The pasta could be used for counting, weighing, sensory activities,  pretend food, craft....the list goes on.
Why don't you try dying some pasta for your children and get creative!!!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Enjoying Nature

We have just spent some time away as a family at the most beautiful location, four hours out of Perth.


We had to talk, play games, explore our surroundings, read and basically enjoy each other's company in the most beautiful setting. We spent lots of time outside. We climbed, walked, paddled, swam, tried archery, played mini golf, rowed, ran and LOVED it.
I thought I would share a few photos with you.....

I feel inspired to start the term, fresh from a beautiful holiday.