Probably one of our most exciting themes of the year! The children just love their little shop and have spent hours buying, selling and chatting…There has been a lot of discussion around the concepts of money, saving and spending… Listening to them chatter amongst themselves and organise their shopping while sharing and taking turns has been exciting!
We have had fun with sensory & counting activities and plenty of time for process art.
And some art to remind us of our fun at the shops!
We’ve had great fun this week talking about pets and how much they mean to us… Chat and discussion about how to look after pets, what we love about pets and what we think having a pet is all about… The children have especially loved dramatic play this week – school has been bustling with the sounds and scampering of every pet under the sun!
A discussion table, felt fish pets and lots of small world and sensory play…
Colour sorting, shape matching and emergent reading…
Of course plenty of open art…
Pet craft activities…
And a class full of gorgeous puppies…
This week we are exploring shopping at school. We made a little shop in the corner of our class and the children have shopped till they dropped! Great fun fitting all their items into baskets and weighing and paying! A little corner cafe also provided a quiet spot to relax and watch all the happenings in the shop!
Great excitement taking turns to be shop keeper!
And lots of counting and sorting activities…
I found a little “tree/branch” on a base in the second hand shop a few months ago and turned it into a “who is here to play today” tree. The tree would be pretty easy to make – just finding a nicely shaped branch and fixing it onto a base, light sand and varnish would do the trick. For the picture discs I printed and laminated a picture of everyone and fixed them to wooden curtain rings from the hardware shop.
Every morning the children never loose excitement to go and find their picture and hang it on the tree! During circle time its a great tool to use to count how many friends are at school, discuss who is not at school and why and generally get everyone participating. Even the quietest child is happy to find their picture and join in the discussion and action.
I even find the children playing with the tree during the morning – identifying all their friends and chatting away to each other – turning it into a great social tool and even a fine motor exercise!
My middle son has a great collection of marbles that I sometimes use in activities – depending on the ages attending! I got together a collection of plastic tubs, bottles, spoons, containers, baskets, ice trays – you name it – and left everything out for the children to explore. I don’t have to tell you how much they enjoyed it – they spent absolutely ages sorting through the marbles! Filling, counting, pouring, rolling…After a while they started noticing all the different sizes, colours and patterns and this sparked off a whole new train of conversation and delight…
The pictures say it all – great for fine motor, manipulation, numeracy etc.
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!
I’ve always wanted a dry creek bed as a play space – but actually making one seemed like an impossible task! Luckily patient husband sat through my drawings and endless pictures and helped come up with a very basic creek bed design to fit our small space. It is one of the children’s favourite spaces to come and you will always find someone sorting, counting, mixing, exploring textures, chatting, balancing or even just having a quiet reflective moment.
The end product was pretty spot on to the vision and drawings I made and even though it’s a “small” creek bed it has actually made the space intimately socially interactive and led the children to be mindful and patient of each other moving around it. As it was arranged against a wall I decided on a half circle design with an “island” in the middle. The island has a little bridge with a small TP on it.
Things we used: Large rocks for creek bed border; thick plastic to line creek bed; malleable plastic mesh for inside cement; cement mix; assorted stones and pebbles to place in cement to set and to fill creek bed.
We were lucky that we had a parking space to clear and sourced a number of larger rocks that formed the basic shape of the creek. We also dug the shape on a slight incline so that if I wanted to put fresh water into the pond side of the creek to splash around in I could. Once the basic shape was dug out we could figure out where the rocks could be placed.
The next bit was a little trickier – I’d advise you get someone with a basic knowledge of cement and its processes to help you out – luckily patient husband was hands on and had a grasp of exactly what I had in mind! To start with he laid plastic in the furrowed out creek bed (best to use a thickish plastic) and then he laid a malleable plastic mesh on the plastic. He then mixed up the cement and spaded and patted it into the creek shape. Once we had the basic shape we arranged a variety of stones and pebbles (the rounded type) into the cement. Although this was time consuming it definitely gives the creek bed a more authentic feel and adds a great textural quality as opposed to plain cement.
And thats IT!! After roughly one week the cement was set and we could place the loose stones and pebbles in the creek bed. Guaranteed the pebbles end up all over the school and it is a maintenance play space, but despite this it is one of the children’s favourite play spaces and totally worth the effort. Unfortunately we don’t get any natural “creatures” inhabiting our creek bed so I will regularly hide plastic frogs, insects, fish, mice etc in the nooks and crannies around the creek. Coupled with some buckets and small fish nets they will spend ages together exploring, catching and chatting about their adventures.