Category: Understanding the World

Pooh sticks!

Yesterday, Sunday 3rd June, saw Oxfordshire play host to the ‘World Pooh Sticks Championships’.

As all Winnie the Pooh fans will know, Pooh Sticks is the game of dropping twigs into a stream from the bridge above and seeing whose stick emerges first from the other side.

Here at Aston Childcare we love an impromptu game of pooh sticks! The children’s excitement of watching their floating twig arrive safely at the other side of the bridge never fails to amuse.

It’s a game we probably all remember fondly from our own childhoods. There really is nothing simpler than throwing a stick in the water that the children love so much! No childhood is complete without a game of PoohSticks!

 

 

Goodbye Autumn

Today marks the end of Autumn, where has the time gone?!

I love Autumn, I am glad the heat of the Summer has passed, I am not rushing to cover the children in suncream or hats or frantically hydrating them and cooling them down and I love seeing the first blackberries on hedgerows and pulling on extra cosy layers.

As a childminder it’s a lovely time of year to be with the children. Here at Aston Childcare we have spent this season jumping in crunchy Autumn leaves, blackberry picking, collecting conkers, doing arts and crafts inspired by bonfire night and Halloween, exploring acorns, conkers and leaves in our nature tray and chatting about hibernation.

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter.

Autumn Leaf Suncatchers

This week we have been busy making these lovely Autumn Leaf Suncatchers.

We picked the fresh autumn leaves up off the ground in the garden during playtime after lunch then once back indoors decorated our paper plates with Autumn colours and stuck the leaves on to the contact paper. Once finished, we hung them up on the window and waited for the sun to shine through them. They are really effective and look beautiful when the sun shines.

It was a lovely craft do with the toddlers and pre-schoolers to explore and welcome in the new season.

Areas of learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Art and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Whilst stocking up on new craft supplies in Poundland the other week, I came across this fantastic Very Hungry Caterpillar ‘Create a Scene’ sticker book which the children have really been enjoying.

It’s an A3 laminated picture scene and comes with lots of lovely colourful vinyl stickers to create your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends action scene. The stickers are reusable so the children can change the scene again and again. There are lots of stickers including sunflowers, a cow, a horse, a ladybird, a duck, a bee, a butterfly, a spider, a sunshine and of course a caterpillar!

I first sat down to do it with one of my 2 year old mindees and we had a lovely time as she sat and placed all the stickers in her chosen place and called out all the animals, insects and plants.

“We’ve got TWO caterpillars!” she exclaimed  and then  – “I love these stickers”

She sounded out the animal sounds as she placed each sticker down –  “Moo”, “Neigh”, “Quack”

“Wheres the pond?” she asked me as she laid down the duck sticker.

We have also been enjoying the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which is a lovely story and great for counting. They have also been using their fine motor skills and enjoyed creating collages by gluing and sticking with some great Very Hungry Caterpillar picture cut outs which really help bring the book to life and they’ve learnt new words such as “cocoon”

Next year I hope to do one of these fantastic ‘Caterpillar kits’ from Insectlore which would be such a lovely activity.

https://www.insectlore.co.uk/butterflies/live-butterfly-kits/butterfly-garden-with-5-live-caterpillars.html

they are also available at Argos –

http://www.argos.co.uk/product/6125532

Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Literacy, Mathematics, Arts and Design, Physical Development (Fine motor skills), Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development

 

 

Summer Sunflower Success!

I am pleased to report that we have had great success with this years sunflowers. They are currently standing tall and proud with a few reaching nearly 6 foot!

The children have loved them and they have sparked many conversations and lovely comments –

“Emily, I love your dandelions”

“It’s really big”

“It’s as tall as the house!”

They’ve attracted lots of minibeasts including some beautiful butterflies.

To extend the children’s interest and learning we have worked them in to our arts and crafts sessions too with lots of colouring, drawing, sticking and gluing.

I am now busy thinking what to plant next that will create the same level of interest!

Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Mathematics, Arts and Design.

 

Flags of the World

Here at Aston Childcare, stickers and puzzles are perennially popular so I am delighted with this lovely flag themed puzzle and sticker book I have recently got. Both the puzzle and sticker book are excellent ways to familiarise the children with the flags of the World and are useful for learning about countries. They can be used when discussing international celebrations or supporting a country’s team in sporting events. Whilst my mindees aren’t quite the target age group they are still good tools for discussing what shapes and colours we can see.

Areas of learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication and Language, Mathematics

Lifecycles: Frogs

Spring is seen as a time of new life with both plants and animals being born. It has been lovely to see the newborn lambs in the neighbouring fields and watch the flowers bloom. One sign of new life I haven’t seen this year is frogspawn. I am very envious of fellow childminders that have a pond who are enjoying seeing their frogspawn hatch. It’s such a short period and a shame to miss it. My son loves spotting frogs in books and saying “ribbit-ribbit”!

I have fond memories of our lessons around the pond at my primary school, it was such a lovely, fun and interesting way to learn about lifecycles.

I have some lovely resources detailing the lifecycle of a frog that the children enjoy all year round but nothing beats experiencing and learning something firsthand.

Pre-school Science

I was really interested to read this article in the Guardian this week about pre-schoolers and Science.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/occams-corner/2017/apr/04/can-pre-school-children-learn-to-do-science

Last month was actually British Science Week which had prompted me to reflect on the science opportunities I offer the children in my care so the article was very timely.

Recently we enjoyed flying a kite (force and gravity). We have also been enjoying blowing lots of bubbles (elasticity, surface tension, chemistry, light, and geometry), the children always love this, even the babies.  We have also previously enjoyed planting sunflower seeds (life cycles and processes) in the past. All these activities allowed the children, despite their years, to observe, experiment, investigate and discover.