Splish, Splash, Splosh!

With Autumn upon us, we can say goodbye to our Summer which we may all remember as being notably wetter than average!

Whilst many were bemoaning the rain filled days however, as a childminder it was an opportunity to indulge in one of the children’s favourite activities – Jumping in muddy puddles!

As adults if we see a muddy puddle our instinct is to avoid them, when children see them they want to jump in and splash in them.

The children love getting bundled up in their waterproofs and wellies and even a short drive to our chosen muddy puddle destination(!) is an adventure for them as we drive over bridges, spot sheep in the fields, pass big tractors, and drive along the bumpy country roads.

The children love it and it’s a great way for them to let off some steam whilst getting some fresh air rather than being cooped up in an overcrowded soft play on a wet day.

It gives great opportunities for the children to learn and discover and to indulge in some “risky play”.

Areas of learning covered: Physical Development, Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Mathematics, Personal, Social and Emotional development

 

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Back to School…School Readiness

With the children I look after in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) age range (birth to 5 years old), I am ultimately aiming to provide them with all the necessary skills for starting school.

Through all the activities we do, the resources I provide and the games we play we are establishing school readiness and a solid foundation for their future.

This road map is a great way to see if your child is on track for starting school.

School-Readiness-Poster

 

Magic!

A mindee (aged 2.5) arrived recently one morning desperate to make a fairy wand. It was 8am and I didn’t quite have my arts and crafts head on at that time(!) but with some quick thinking I summoned up some glittery card, a star shaped object to draw around, grabbed some drinking straws, sequins, pens and some sticky tape and off to work we set!

They loved the end result so much that we had to make a few!

Aren’t they fab?!

 

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.

 

Stickers!

Here at Aston childcare the children all love stickers. They get immense satisfaction from peeling the backs off and sticking them down in their chosen spot.

At one time, I questioned whether they were slightly limited in what they can teach children but, after reflecting, I found that they are great for Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language skills and Physical Development (Fine motor skills). They also help children learn and talk about all manner of subjects (Understanding the World) so I think they do have their place when varied with other activities.

I always try and have a good stock of them. I find they are particularly useful say, at transition times, when we are waiting for parents to pick up at the end of the day when it’s not so suitable to have messy paints or arts and crafts out. I also have a range of reward stickers that the children always love to receive with positive comments such as “lovely listener”, “great helper” and ones to reward self care and healthy eating such as “I ate all my food” and “I used the toilet”.

Some of our favourites have been from the Usborne sticker books and some fab re-usable Melissa and Doug ones. We’ve covered all manner of subjects – sea creatures, wild animals, domestic animals, minibeasts, airports, trucks and transport, children of the world, letters, numbers and shapes  to name but a few!

Areas of learning covered: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Communication and Language, Maths, Literacy and  Understanding the world

Focus on…Phonics

Here at Aston Childcare, with my son and mindee turning 3, my mind has turned to phonics and how I can support them in their learning. We have this lights and sounds phonics toy and I also have this I’m ready for phonics – Say the sound book both from the Early Learning Centre.

The book is a fun, bright book that helps children from the age of 3 upwards focus on the initial letter sounds at the beginning of simple words. It contains all 26 letters of the alphabet and words beginning with that letter. It claims to have been developed in conjunction with a literacy consultant and phonics expert and says it’s ideal for introducing phonics to your child.

Meanwhile the lights and sounds phonics ‘desk’ is an Interactive game unit teaching phonics, spelling and counting and colours has 8 different games to play. It claims to help with early reading and builds communication skills and is good for learning to sort and match.

I am also in the process of creating a ‘Letters and Sounds’ file with further activities we can enjoy.

Finally, there are lots of fun phonics songs on YouTube that are fun to watch too, here’s just some –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq3yfQnllfQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BELlZKpi1Zs

What a hoot!

The children have been enjoying the lovely ‘Owl Babies’ by Author Martin Waddell recently. Owl babies is a lovely tale of three baby owls who wake up one morning to find that their mother has gone. They sit on a branch and wait wondering when their mother will return. It’s a charming, reassuring book for any child who has ever worried about Mummy leaving them alone and the beautiful illustration seems to really capture their imagination.

To extend their interest in Owls, we have made some fab Owls in our Arts and Crafts sessions and enjoyed sticking with some cute Owl stickers. We’ve read more Owl related books including “Wow! said the Owl”. I still have some lovely Owl drawings an older ex mindee did which I just love.

Sensory garden

When we said goodbye to our chickens earlier this year I was determined to use the space for something the children could still all enjoy and benefit from. In their place we now have two raised beds, one for growing fruit and vegetables, and one which I am creating a sensory garden in.

I have made a start on this by planting the last of my sunflower seeds that I have used in previous years, I hope the bright colour and eye-catching flowers will be popular with this years mindees.

Along the front of the bed I have planted some mint taken from a cutting elsehwhere in the garden and also some basil and some rosemary which hopefully the children will enjoy using their sense of smell to enjoy.

Next up, I would like to plant something called ‘Lambs ears’. I loved this plant as a child, it has incredibly soft leaves which I hope the children will enjoy with their sense of touch.

I also plan to plant some lavender that we like to use our playdough for a more sensory experience.

I am pleased to report that the sunflowers have started to grow already and I will keep you posted as to how it all progresses.

Cooking with kids: Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

This morning we enjoyed a cooking session and made these easy Chocolate Cornflake Cakes.

“Hand up who likes Cornflakes?” I asked them – their hands shot up in the air, “Hands up who likes Chocolate?” – Again, both hands shot up in the air!

The children (Aged 35 months) lined the cake tin with cases, helped me weigh out the cornflakes, broke up the chocolate into pieces, helped stir the cornflakes, golden syrup and butter on the hob and finally helped combine the mixture with the cornflakes and spoon out in to the individual cake cases.

We had to wait 5 minutes for the mixture to cool down before transferring to the cake cases so to make this wait more fun we turned the 5 minute sand timer over and I told them to watch until all the sand had passed through before we could move on to the next part. This proved a fantastic visual aid that really helped them to wait patiently for the required length of time.

They had great fun and really enjoyed the whole process.

Areas of Learning covered: Communication & Language, Mathematics, Physical Development, Understanding the World and Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Today’s lunch: Tomato Soup

Today’s lunch was Tomato Soup from Annabel Karmel’s ‘Feeding your Baby and Toddler’ recipe book. This recipe uses tinned rather than fresh tomatoes making it much quicker and easier to prepare than previous versions I have made that require skinning fresh tomatoes. It is so difficult to get my son to eat any vegetables so the fact that this contains carrots is great. He absolutely loves tomato soup and to hear him say “More soup Mummy” upon finishing is very satisfying! I served this up with wholemeal bread for my youngest mindee (21 month old) and with garlic bread for my son and other mindee who are both nearly 3.