Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Understanding Food

It is important that children learn where their food comes from in order to establish a healthy diet and a good relationship with food as well as developing healthy eating habits. This term we have undertaken a number of activities to help the children learn about their food whilst having fun. 

Together with another childminder we planted and then harvested some potatoes. The children helped tip out the contents of the pots and took it in turns to find potatoes within the mud. Some used their hands whilst others were more comfortable with spades.  The children discussed and then put into practice washing the mud from the potatoes. This was also a great opportunity for counting them out and incorporating size language. 

Once our potatoes were clean we cooked them and included them within our lunch with each child enjoying tasting them.

Our term ended in a slightly damp trip to the local pick your own. The children were not put off by the rain and were keen to all have a go at picking a variety of fruit and vegetables ranging from strawberries and raspberries through to carrots and onions.

We were lucky enough to have the farmer show off a section of fruit and vegetables to the children before taking them home for lunch. For the older children I used the opportunity to enable use of knives for cutting up the strawberries before the children polished these off with a large spoon of ice cream!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Butterfly Life Cycles

Even the youngest of children are often fascinated by butterflies and the children here are no exception. This gives the perfect way in which to start to teach them about life cycles, something that will enable them to connect with nature as they develop and start to gain an understanding of basic science. 

We started with 5 caterpillars that the children came and counted on a daily basis as well as commenting on their size and their movement. We talked about the food that the caterpillars were eating and the fact that we must not put them in the direct sun. It is important that the children can relate such activities to the outdoor environment and we were lucky enough to find some caterpillars on one of our trips to the local nature garden at the park. 

Whilst our caterpillars grew and became chrysalises we undertook a range of age-appropriate activities with older ones discussing the life cycle order for the caterpillars from egg through to butterfly with the aid of our toy models and appropriate picture books through to painting butterfly pictures for the younger children. 

Finally our butterflies all hatched safely and, having fed them with flowers and orange juice, it was time to release them to the wild, something that the children particularly enjoyed. 

Other life cycles that we have covered this term include that of the frog with several visits to Saltram House to view the frogspawn and subsequently tadpoles and frogs together with that of fruit, predominantly focussing on strawberries and a trip to the local pick your own.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Heatwave Week

With the heatwave we have had this week my priority has been keeping the children cool and out of the direct sun but we have still managed to incorporate a variety of fun play activities!

We have been to another childminder's house to play with both water and ice cubes in her lovely shaded outdoor space. Children were fascinated by the colours, shapes and textures of the ice. They realised they had to share them out so they could all get a turn to explore. One child was determined to squeeze the ice as hard as she possibly could until it melted!

We have visited the sensory garden in Devonport Park and used the shade of the trees there to enable the children to explore. With the absence of play equipment they soon invented their own games including hide and seek through to chase.  We also introduced some bubbles that were being swept around rapidly by the wind creating much excitement for the children.

Our final morning was spent at West Hoe Park where the cloud cover provided some relief from the heat. Hear the children were all able to develop their physical skills, working together to push the roundabout and then using the climbing frames and slides as well as the large boat which was great for imaginative play.

Areas of learning covered through these activities:

PSED: children have enhanced social skills through working together to share resources, come up with games to play and push the roundabout together.
Physical Development: Numerous opportunities for running, climbing and balancing through to ball catching and kicking.
Communication: Children have listened to and followed instruction, communicated with each other and heard new language introduced through play to describe the ice.

Literacy: Children used water and paintbrushes to make marks through to looking at the signs in the play areas.
Maths: Children commented on the number and shapes of the ice cubes through to playing hopscotch in the park.
Understanding the World: Children have enjoyed being out within the community.
Expressive art and Design: Children used their imagination to invent games and used the natural resources in the park to invent games.