This week we’ve had a great time with our Easter theme! Beside the usual easter hunt and bunny excitement we had fun exploring texture, colour, music and plenty of movement…
The children had great fun with the easter templates on our felt board – there were bunnies, chicks, mother hen and plenty of easter eggs! As an easter provocation there was an easter landscape filled with basket nests and wooden eggs, scarves, “hidey” holes for eggs, easter bunny, spring animals and assorted loose parts. They spent hours hiding the eggs, sorting them, counting them and re-arranging the items creating their own space.
On the shelves there were plenty of little baskets with lids and wooden eggs and pebble owls to sort, count and explore. I made some felt “eggs” to manipulate the scarves inside – great for fine motor co-ordination. On the tables plenty of sorting trays and plastic eggs to fill with an assortment of different textured pom-poms.
Great bustle and creativity for all before the holidays filled with plenty of open-ended art opportunities, play and general easter excitement!
We had a few days at the end of a term last year when I decided to surprise the children with some frozen fun! It’s not the type of theme or provocation we’d normally have out – but it was the end of term and just suited the general holiday anticipation in the air!
Instead of buying the figurines I found some good frozen pictures I printed and laminated – it actually worked out perfectly as each child could have their own set of each character. I would have never afforded to buy them each a set of actual figurines!
Items I used: white sheet; white tissue paper; white doilies; foil; glass pebbles; wood discs; wood branches; christmas tree branches; shells; christmas baubles; pinecones; tinsel; wooden tree; wooden cave; cotton wool balls; recycled plastic; penguins; bear; laminated characters
Basically I threw together a lot of white, silver, blue and loose parts of different textures and the children had an absolute ball…They re-arranged and built their own frozen landscape together for ages. Interacting with the different creatures and characters – organising the various bits and pieces.
I don’t know about anyone else out there but we have a number of budding palaeontologists at playschool! They absolutely love learning about dinosaurs and are fascinated by all the different types. In this post I’ve included some of our ideas to inspire and encourage creative discussions about dinosaurs. I tried to fill our space with different provocations all over the show – from bigger floor space play areas to tiny cubby spaces – the children loved discovering little surprises all over the show!
Somedays we would have a lush dinosaur jungle filled with dangerous dinosaurs! I made my own rocks and caves using filla foam from the hardware store. I’ve included more on how to make these in another post.
On another day we would have a rocky outcrop filled with caves, volcanoes and waterfalls…
On another just a big floor space filled with different levels and loose parts to get creative.
There was great fun as the children searched for dinosaur “fossils” buried under the sand. They had their own mini spoons and paintbrushes to dig around and discover. (I’ve since done this activity with kinetic sand and I don’t even have to tell you how mesmerising this was!)
The highlight of the week is always a simple volcano experiment. So simple and so much fun. The children will do this over and over taking turns – their delight is contagious…
I just love dinosaur week – the enthusiasm and excitement is paramount!
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There are so many lovely creative activities for children to do in Autumn. The seasons are changing and the air is crisp and fresh…They start arriving in warmer clothes and we bundle up before we go outdoors. We don’t need an excuse for warm tea and biscuits! Even though the weather starts restricting our outdoor activity at times – there is no shortage of energy and enthusiasm!
I’ve included a few displays in this post for Autumn inspiration! On our theme table we had miniature Autumn leaves with pine needle brooms and Autumn creatures. The children spent ages sweeping up the leaves and making “nests” and “warm beds” for the animals. We even painted with our home made brushes as the week progressed.
On the other side of the class we had an Autumn felt board that had the children riveted in long periods of avid story telling and re-organising!
Outside we had various areas with bundles of Autumn finds – as the week progressed every one’s treasures and finds got added to the piles. Each day there were little “creatures” and “insects” hidden among the leaves, pinecones and needles waiting to be found and played with.
We loved playing with the projector and experimenting with all our finds. Playing with light, shadow and colours kept everyone busy for ages. There were so many different items to explore and discover. The children even played at being “Autumn” leaves as they danced amongst the shadows!
I don’t have much free wall space in our class – so what I do have available has to be utilised really well. I knew I wanted a felt board as I have lots of felt resources I’ve made over the years to let the children make their own stories and use them in story telling during circle times. I also wanted an activity board…and a chalk board! Oh boy…
So we came up with a way to incorporate all 3 into the space I had available for them with a series of boards that I can easily change on the wall. The easiest to make was the chalk and felt boards and these make use of the same board back to back. The activity board was a little more complicated and patient husband pretty much put that one together for me.
Items we used: wood for frame; thin board for inside frame; blackboard paint; glue gun; wall screws; hooks; felt; board for activity board; various second hand items for activity board.
The chalk/feltboard was relatively easy to make. Besides the time for the paint to dry it’s also a quick project. We found an old frame that I painted on one side and attached the felt to the other with a glue gun. Patient husband attached the screw to the wall and hooks to the board and thats it!
The activity board was a little more complicated and took a few
days weeks months to make. The most time consuming part is gathering all the items you are going to put on the board. We went to a car boot sale market and sourced most of the items there – otherwise the board will end up costing you a fortune. It’s also quite difficult to attach the items to the board securely – patient husband helped with this as you need to be handy with a number of tools to make holes, screws and rings to secure at the back and sanders to smooth off edges.
The boards are great – I use them all the time and am constantly changing their original purpose to suit the occasion! Sometimes the children paint with thin paint brushes and water on the chalk board, draw with thin and fat chalks etc. The activity board is a great hit and the children will turn it into whatever they are currently into – race car, fire engine, aeroplane or just an activity board!
I consider having plenty of loose parts available at all times for play one of the most important things at school. There are so many different types, sizes, uses – the list is endless! I’m constantly on the look out for new loose parts to add to our collection at school. I love natural loose parts but I definitely feel there is a place for synthetic loose parts as well.
I like to swop in and out with different items so that there is plenty to inspire play, teamwork and interaction. One of my best buys was a set of large pvc covered colourful shapes. These are always outside and available for construction and building – whether the children are building castles, shops, firetrucks, you name it, there is a constant hive of activity as they move, build and climb. They are fantastic for developing body awareness and movement. In the past I have also provided plastic crates for holding bottles (a LOT of them!) – these are fantastic as they clip into each other and the children can actually construct whole play scenes for themselves.
In the summer months the loose parts are stored in large garden pots in a wooden frame (actually an old sandpit frame) that is often turned into some creative vessel or other. Other great items we love are: various ropes of different length and texture; pinecones; curtain rings; pegs; gutter piping and all the varying joining bits; plastic balls; pebbles in the dry creek bed – the list can be endless!
I’ve always seen wonderful wooden fences in gorgeous school blogs and never been able to find them. As a substitute I’ve tried plastic fences – but lets face it they just fall over and cause endless frustration! To have sturdy wooden fences would be awesome right? So after having the wood lying around for
days weeks patient husband pandered my whims and made me a whole box of wooden fences – bliss!
Items we used: long squared piece of wood (25mm x 25mm), dowling rod (your pick of thickness – thicker the sturdier), sander, glue gun
Basically just cut the fence ends into equal lengths (mine are just over 10cm) and sand the edges so that they are not sharp. Cut the dowling rod into equal lenths. Measure and and drill holes into wooden sides and attach dowling into holes with extra glue to secure. Your measurements need to be quite acurate to ensure the fences actually stand. We applied a non toxic wood sealant to ours – optional. If you are unable to make your own get in touch with me to buy a batch – firstname.lastname@example.org…
The great thing about wooden fences is that they can be used for all sorts of smaller loose part play provocations. They also stand on most surfaces (you can see they even stand on our grass carpet). I use them indoors and outdoors and the children spend ages incorporating them into their play.