Buttercups

Running in the buttercups

We made the most of the sunshine last week and went for walks, looking at all the wild flowers that are growing.  The children loved having so much space to run around in.

Picking flowers

Picking buttercups

They ran around freely, rolled around in the grass and picked the buttercups to get a closer look.

Do I like butter

We held them under our chins to see if we like butter.

Bunch of buttercups

I was presented with a beautiful bouquet.

Blowing dandelions

We picked daisies and couldn’t resist blowing dandelions.  We stopped to look at the fruit beginning to grow on the trees and spotted bees and butterflies.  It was great getting up close with nature, having free unstructured play outdoors where the children can set their own challenges and have their own adventures.

Life Cycles & Pets

Looking at eggs

We took part in a chick hatching programme and all the children waited eagerly, watching the incubator, hoping for cracks to appear.  We were very lucky to see the chicks hatch out of their eggs and talked about what the incubator was for and how to care for our new chicks.  We were very lucky, ending up with nine chicks in total.

Looking at chicks

Holding chicks

We talked about the life cycle of chickens and all the children got to handle the chicks.  They loved it and were all very gentle.  We’ve also been looking at the life cycle of frogs and have been keeping an eye on our tank of tadpoles. It has been fascinating watching them and at the last look, their front legs were growing.

Looking at tadpoles

We have also been caring for the nursery pets.
The children have loved holding Buzz and Woody, the guinea pigs.

Holding guinea pigs

And we have been for lovely walks to visit Marley the pony and Irene the pygmy goat.

Visiting the pony

Visiting the goat

And one of the children, brought in their new kittens for all their friends to meet.

Holding kittens

Meeting all the animals and learning how to care for them has been a great experience for all the children. They have all been very gentle and caring towards them.

Story telling

Whatever next story telling

I have recently been on training courses for speech and language and also sensory play and wanted to get the children more involved in the stories we read.  Over the past few weeks, we have read the same book after snack every day, for a week or two and provided the children with props/small world toys that they can use to retell the story.  Hearing the language in the stories over and over again and using props to teach them new vocabulary has been really successful.

Whatever Next boots

At the moment we are reading ‘Whatever Next!’ by Jill Murphy.  This tells the story of a little bear, who finds some wellies (space boots), a colander (space helmet), a box (a rocket) and takes a picnic to the moon.  The children love re-enacting the story, putting on their space boots and packing their picnic – waving to the aeroplane that flies past.

Whatever Next role play

Shark in the dark storytelling

Before this we read ‘Shark in the park’ and ‘Shark in the dark’ by Nick Sharratt.  This is the story of a little boy, Timothy Pope who looks through his telescope and believes he can see a shark.  All the children have sat down with the book at one time or another and looked through their telescopes, having great fun retelling the story.

Shark in the park - telescope

I’ve heard cries of ‘I’m Timothy Pope and I’m looking through my telescope.’

Shark in the park

And many very loud cries of ‘THERE’S A SHARK IN THE PARK!!!’

If you’re child has a favourite story we can use in the future, please send it in.

Gingerbread

Gingerbread playdough

I made some gingerbread play dough today, which smelt delicious.  The children were keen to make gingerbread men, rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes.  They used pencils to make faces and added buttons.

Elephant eats gingerbread boy

This is an ‘elephant that has eaten a gingerbread man’  I love this! Such brilliant imagination.

Gingerbread men

We ended up with a little production line, with many gingerbread men being made.

Gingerbread shop

We added a cash register, money and purses.  The used their fine motor skills to undo the fastenings on the different purses – zips, clasps, poppers and took it in turns to buy and sell their gingerbread men.  We counted buttons, talked about money and placed orders. ‘Can I have a gingerbread mummy with 2 buttons please?’

Baking gingerbread

After snack, we read the story of the ‘Gingerbread Man.’

We then baked real gingerbread men that could be taken home to eat.

More gingerbread men

In the woods

We’ve started going down to the woods, and hope to be spending a lot more time down there.  The children love the freedom and the ever changing environment.  We’ve just added a mud kitchen, a weaving frame and we have plenty more additions to come.

In the woods

The children climbed on logs, which became a bus, a train, a horse – the list went on.  They hunted for bugs, moved logs, dragged large sticks and swung on rope swings.  They rubbed sticks together to make ‘fire’ and cooked dinner.

Cooking on the fire

Firebuilding

One little boy turned his log table into a drum kit, which ended  up as a band of drummers.

Drumming in the woods

It is such a wonderful multi-sensory experience which provides endless opportunity for creativity and imagination with the added benefits of improved fitness and physical development.  We are so lucky to have access to this fantastic area and I’m looking forward to many more visits and sharing what we’ve been up to.

Meeting the pony

And we always have time to say hello to Marley on the way.

Painting with…

We have used lots of different painting techniques recently, which I thought I’d share with you.

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scourer2

We’ve painted with scourers.

Painting with trains

We’ve painted with trains.

Painting with forks

We’ve painted with forks.

Painting with bottles

And we’ve painted with water bottles.

Wooden blocks

Princess Anna's Castle

I have been trying to encourage the girls to use the wooden construction blocks and by introducing some small world princess figures, actually managed it.  They are still into Frozen, with one little girl building a castle for Princess Anna, whilst another built a tower for Queen Elsa.

Using wooden blocks to build Queen Elsa's Castle

Kristof to the rescue

And as with all fairy tales, they were both rescued by a handsome prince.

Hello sunshine!

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I wanted to share some photos of the children enjoying the glorious sunshine we’ve had.  It is so lovely to be able to just go outside without worrying about coats, hats and scarves!  The children are growing in confidence and have begun trying to climb the tree in the garden.

treeclimb2

treeclimb1

They try all sorts of techniques and it is great watching them trying to help each other.  The sense of achievement is clearly visible from the big smiles when they reach their goal.  We also spent time in the mud kitchen yesterday, with all the children eager to get stuck in.

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They stirred, whisked, mashed and poured mud, water, sand and petals.  They picked grass and daisies to add to their creations.  I hope I don’t end up boring you over the summer with mud kitchen pictures, but I do love it in there!  Watching the cooperation, listening to the language and seeing how involved the children become is fascinating.  If you want some peace and quiet over the summer, let them loose in the garden with some old pots and pans.

Incy Wincy Spider

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Today the water tray was set up with some guttering, small pots, rocks and spiders (with a dash of glitter!) I wound some yarn around the water tray to create a spider’s web.  There was lots of interest from the children and it was interesting to watch the different ways in which they chose to play, with all the children breaking into spontaneous song at some point.

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Some children poured water down the guttering, washing their spiders away.  Others tried to balance their spiders on the intersections of the web, demonstrating their patience, whilst others hung their spiders from the yarn.

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It was a great activity for modelling lots of language such ‘balancing’, ‘hanging’, ‘splashing’ and we counted the spiders and the rocks. There was also some problem solving as the children worked out different ways to position the guttering, watching the water flow.  We also talked about spiders and how they spin webs, with two little boys very excited when they later found one in the garden.

Happy Easter

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It’s Easter already and the children have been enjoying lots of Easter themed activities, getting us ready for Spring.  We have had an Easter table set up, introducing the children to lots of new vocabulary such as eggs, chicks, hatching and daffodils.  The children have used shredded paper to make nests for their eggs, hiding chicks inside their eggs and matching colours.

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They have filled baskets, which have been transported around the nursery as they talk to us about all the different objects they have collected.

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Some of the children made these yummy cakes – they used their fingers to crush the shredded wheat, before adding melted chocolate and topping them off with chocolate eggs.

chickpaint

The children painted these gorgeous chicks.  As well as this being a creative activity, it was also a lesson in following instructions.  They were asked to use a sponge to make a body and a head.  Then they used a cotton bud and were asked to give their chick two eyes.  The children were then asked to paint two legs and a beak, and I think the results speak for themselves – they look brilliant.

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We will be taking part in the ‘Living eggs’ programme, and our eggs will be arriving in May.  The children will be able to see the eggs in the incubator and hopefully watch them hatch.  Once hatched,  they will get the opportunity to hold and help care for the baby chicks – we can’t wait!  In the meantime, the children have been helping to care for our nursery pets, and have been petting and feeding the rabbits, Ella and Bobby.

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We had an Easter egg hunt in the garden today, with all the children running around, getting very excited, collecting eggs and putting them in the basket before listening to some Easter stories.

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We have been reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ this week, and have set up an activity for the children to play with and retell the story.  This really helps the children develop new vocabulary when they have the objects to hold and play with as well as seeing the pictures in the book.  We have been counting oranges, strawberries and plums and giving the caterpillar a ‘tummy ache’ and it is also another great introduction to life cycles as the caterpillar turns into a ‘beautiful butterfly.’

Happy Easter everyone!