Tuesday, 21 June 2016

10 Simple Ideas to Enhance Block Play !!

Blocks are an important part of all Early Childhood classrooms and are also an important educational toy to have at home. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and children of all ages love to build, create and play with them.

Playing with blocks provides excellent learning opportunities for children from problem solving,
language and social skills, maths skills and creativity to name just a few.

As a teacher, I change the materials to enhance the block play frequently depending on the childrens interests, topic or season.

Some of the materials I like to add to the block area include....

1. Cardboard cylinders and boxes
2. Natural materials-rocks, nuts, twigs, branches
3. Paper, cardboard, foil, cellophane 
4. Measuring tapes and rulers
5. Mirrors
6. Material, artificial grass, rugs and artificial flowers
7. Dinosaurs and animals
8. People
9. Cars, signs, traffic lights and trains
10. Pop sticks, pipe cleaners, wool and string

I love watching the children play and interact in the block area and observing all of the positive learning experiences that evolve. If you have any creative block ideas I would love to hear them!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Going Nuts!!!

Whenever I go for a walk or to the park, I am always amazed by the beautiful natural materials all around me. I always collect nuts, sticks, bark or seed pods that that fallen from trees around me to use in and around the classroom.
Last weekend at the local park I couldn't resist collecting gum nuts for school. I have used them in many different ways in the past and thought I would share some of my ideas.

These are different nuts but also very useful!!


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pop Sticks and Playdough

I use pop sticks for lots of things in the classroom, but here is a quick and easy way to use them at the playdough table to help children recognise their names.

I have used two different sized pop sticks, large and small.

I wrote the children's names on the small pop sticks and they made cakes and used them as birthday candles. The children had fun finding their name, their friends names and singing happy birthday!!

I wrote a different group of children's names on the large pop sticks and encouraged them to make lolly pops, ice-creams and cakes.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Garden Car Track

I posted this a while back, but as the children in my class still enjoy it as much as the day I made it, I thought I would share it again, especially for those of you going into Summer !!

I saw a similar idea once and thought it would be perfect for a little nook in our outdoor area. This little car track is perfect for your garden or playground, it is inexpensive to make and fun for all to play with.

Choose the bricks you want to use. I chose grey to resemble real roads.

Measure the middle of the bricks and mark the centre lines with a pencil.

Paint the lines on the bricks with white outdoor paint to resemble the white lines on the road.
( It would be a good idea to plan your road map before painting. I didn't do this and the lines don't flow as well as they could!!)

Sink the bricks into the sand and add pebbles, plants, cars, people, wooden blocks.....anything you can think of.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Feelings and Faces

We have been talking about our feelings and also looking at photos of ourselves and our facial features. We have been singing songs, making faces on the light table, enjoying stories on the theme and having lots of discussions. 
This playdough activity provided a great platform for play and language and was easy to set up.

I drew a variety of faces on cardboard and laminated them. I drew happy, sad, angry and surprised expressions on the faces of boys, girls, men and women.

I added buttons, rolling pins, garlic presses and cutting utensils.

This man didn't need a body because he was in bed!!!!

I loved the way the children related to the faces, gave the characters names and invented scenarios to reflect their expressions.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Don't Throw Out Your Egg Cartons

I love recycling and always try to find a use for containers, lids, cardboard, paper or plastic bottles before I throw them away.
Here are some of the ways we have recycled egg cartons. Of course, before using them, you need to check if children in your care have any egg allergies in case a broken egg has leaked in the carton!!

They are perfect for paint.

For Sorting.

To store collage materials

In the sandpit

For sensory materials.

In dramatic play.

Or as little beds!!!!

Until next Tuesday