Thursday, 31 May 2012

Counting pebbles, playful numeracy

These natural stones would make a great addition to a maths table or to explore playfully at home.

For a while I've been thinking up ideas to get 'The fairy' more interested in numbers in a fun, non pressurised way. We look at numbers when were out and about, in shops, on our neighbours doors, on the phone, speed limit signs etc. We love to sing number rhymes. I'm confident that she knows her numbers 1-20 (and 1-10 in Spanish) but I'm not convinced she knows the value of these.

As she loves collecting things - especially natural objects I thought that making some 'number pebbles' would be right up her street. I painted some (basic!) ladybirds on one side and the number of ladybirds on the other. Fantastic for manipulating, stacking, putting in boxes and generally playing with whilst at the same time getting used 'how big' the number looks/ value of numbers. Perfect props for playful numeracy.

I hadn't planned to use these in another way other than to just let her explore them (i.e. I didn't want it to become an adult directed, 'this is the right way to do this' exercise) but as I was watching her play with them it struck me that you could use them with older children as a replacement dice (i.e. you put them all in a bag and draw one out ). However I'm not sure if that would work as they all are different sizes and it may lead to some  cheating if you could work out what number you could feel in the bag...maybe if they last long enough we'll have a go and see!!

*Please note The Fairy is past the 'putting things in her mouth' stage but all children should be carefully supervised when playing with small objects. This activity is not suitable for very young children*

Language focus
Vocabulary: ladybird, smooth, round, (numbers)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Daisy daisy..

We've had a few days away this week and have been staying at a lovely bungalow - with a garden! Perfect for enjoying the sunshine. There were a magnificent display of daisies growing in the lawn. As I have already posted 'The Fairy' loves collecting flowers.

These daisies were no exception.

Once collected they made perfect objects to manipulate and create with. 'I'm making a circle'

They also made a great surface to roll on

A perfect play time activity whilst the grown ups were eating breakfast!

Language focus
Vocabulary: pick, hold, daisy, grass, roll

Monday, 21 May 2012

Spring Sensory box

Well the weather hasn't been fantastic but we thought we'd have a bit more 'spring themed' fun before it turns into 'summer' Cue a spring themed sensory tub...

butterflys, flowers and some spring pulses (split peas, and pearl barley to be precise).

The pulses were sooo touchable there was alot of scooping - and not just with the coffee scoop I'd added - why use instruments when you can do it with your hands!

Language focus
Vocabulary: pour, tip, touch, scoop, flower, butterfly

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Inspired by Kandinsky #2

After the success of our first Kandinsky inspired art work I thought it would be fun to try another one, this time using different materials. We looked again at the pictures in the book and talked about how some of the pictures had shapes with hard edges and some soft.

The piece that caught 'The Fairy's' eye was more water colour-y than the piece we had previously done.

After seeing this post I'd really wanted to use ice to paint so though now may be a good time (we are big fans of playing with ice).

We used a mixture of painting with food colouring in water and using ice cubes of frozen food colouring to make a back ground. We rubbed the ice cubes on the paper and as they melted the painted. It was great seeing how the colours mixed.

When they had dried (we used a hair dryer because 'The Fairy' wanted to get cracking and they were VERY wet) we added some black lines (we didn't do it whilst they were we as the colour looked like it might 'bleed')

We added the lines by sliding ice cubes down the picture (whilst the picture was stuck to a tray). Unfortunately as this needed a lot of adult hands we didn't get a photo (ever think the job description of a parent needs a bit about having more hands than an octopus??!)
The finished masterpieces with the inspiration.

Language focus
Vocabulary: slide, cold, mix, brush, dry, wet, colours

Inspired by Kandinsky #1

When we heard about RedTed's kids art linky we thought 'that sounds lots of fun'. As we had at lots of time to think about the project (unlike our usual 'we need an activity fast' mode) we visited the library and flicked thought picture books of great artists to inspire us (well 'The Fairy' and flicked and I tried to stop 'The Frog' chewing the books - luckily our library are very child friendly and don't seem to mind!) . I had originally thought of taking inspiration from Kandinsky as I love the colour and shapes in this piece.   However I'm trying really hard not to be too 'adult directed' with 'The Fairy' so I let her choose. Fortunately she chose the book on Kandinsky. When I asked her why she chose it, she siad 'Because its soooo big mummy - I like big!'  (and it was massive which meant we had an interesting walk home from the library - I could have thought that one through a bit better!)

We looked through the book and found a picture the 'The Fairy' liked. We talked about the colours and shapes in the picture (lots of rectangles and squares). Apparently Kandinsky used red for peoples bodies alot so we decided to have 2 tones of red.

I then cut up some rectangles out of coloured paper (under a watchful gaze of 'The Fairy').

She then got sticking.

I love the layered effect of this one.

Finished pictures with the inspiration in the book.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

CD plant protectors

Being a gardener you need to be an optimist - you plant things in the hope that they will germinate and grow. No mean feat with all the things that eat young plants on our allotment- not only do we have the usual slugs and birds, we also have rabbits and deer - its a wonder anything survives!.

After our bean crop was decimated, I decided I needed to take action. We looked at all the other allotment plots I could see CDs worked well to scare birds. So we visited the pound shop to buy some. I asked the 'The Fairy' if she wanted to jazz them up - she suggested making flowers.

Sorting out which colours she wanted where


The finished product (don't look too closely at the bed below - most of the beans have already been eaten and the bed needed weeding when I took the photo!)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

20 books in 2012

No doubt if you live in the UK and have a child you'll be aware of  Bookstart.  They are a national programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with their children from as early an age as possible. Their aim is to 'give every child the priceless gift of becoming a reader for life'.

To celebrate 20 years of the programme the charity are asking that you pledge to share 20 books in 2012. You get to enjoy sharing books with your child at the same time as showing your support to this brilliant cause.

Making a pledge is really easy - you can either pop along to your local library and fill in the special 'Bookstart 20' post card or visit the 'Bookstart 20' web page and sign up on line.

Happy book sharing and Happy birthday Bookstart!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Say cheese!

Since I have started blogging I have been taking more photos. 'The Fairy' has noticed this and really wanted a turn.... So I gave her our old camera and off she went to point and click.

She had a great time. Here are a selection of some of her results (there were lots of blurred ones too - but hey, that's the joy of digital photography!)

She loved seeing the pictures she had taken uploaded onto our computer and was very keen to tell me which ones she liked.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Red, white and blue

After seeing a picture of the Queen in the paper 'The Fairy' was very inquisitive about the Jubilee. This lead to a very long conversation about who the Queen was, where she lives, the Union Jack, crowns and jewels. A perfect idea for some sensory exploration....

Union Jack pulses (pearl barley dyed blue and red with white rice). I prepared the sensory box whilst the children were having a nap -I'm glad they were, as it took alot of concentration to get the Union Jack pattern.

We added 'jewels' (glass beads - we didn't have any real diamonds) and some 'gold' corrugated cardboard crowns. Later on we some coins and red/silver and blue stars at 'The Fairy's request.

Quickly the Union Jack had disappeared!

There was lots of hiding of the treasure.

Her 'Royal family' came to play.

Making 'A stepping' (when I asked, 'Do you mean stepping stones?') She replied - 'No. A stepping Mummy ... you know a path!')

 I'm sure there will be some more Diamond Jubilee play before the end of the Summer...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Fingerprint blossom

Having enjoyed the hand print dragon we thought we should continue with the theme of painting with our hands. On the way to pre school there is an amazing tree currently in full bloom - so we took inspiration from there.
I drew some branches

'The Fairy' got to work with her fingers printing - I love how the pink and white have mixed to create a mottled effect.

The finished article complete with a thumb print butterfly

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Collecting flowers

'The Fairy' loves gathering and transporting  things... I'm forever finding little bags filled with pebbles and hair clips or pots with shells and bricks (it worries me that she may develop a habit of collecting things like her Papa - but that's a whole other story!) Because of this I try to provide her with a range of collecting receptacles (old handbags/ purses/ pots/muffin and bun tins etc)

Today I wasn't feeling very well so I was relived that she was busy occupying her self. I thought I should probably check that she was OK and I found her collecting and sorting flowers and leaves with 'her' bun tin (and one she had 'borrowed' from the kitchen!)

I asked her to 'tell me about them' (I once went on a training course that suggested to ask a child this rather than 'What are you making/doing?' as 'can you tell me all about it' was more open ended and encouraged communication).

'I'm collecting flowers for my Mum, just like Goldilocks... they are decorations'. She must have noticed I was feeling poorly! As I've already blogged we are trying to expand our Spanish/ English book selection and have recently borrowed this great book from the library. It starts with Goldilocks collecting flowers in the wood before discovering the house of the 3 bears. I also love it because it rhymes (in English). Developing rhyming skills are important in developing early language and literacy skills.

We brought them inside and she used her small world people to 'have a party' (we've had lots of birthday parties lately so obviously a theme on her mind currently!)

Language Focus:
Vocabulary: prepositions (in)
Other rhyme (if you read the lovely Goldilocks book!)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mint playdough

This play dough is perfect for spring, it smells and looks fresh.
We made some peppermint play dough using our usual recipe 

Then added some fresh mint (from Grandmas garden) 'The Fairy' thought it looked like trees

She then wanted to make a house. The holes are 'windows' and the mint is now people looking out of them

Language Focus
Vocabulary: push, squeeze, press, poke, green, mint, leaf, tree, house, window
Other skills: imaginative play

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