Toys: This weeks most played with

Our toy baby dollies and pushchair have been a big hit here recently with the children but this week the children’s attention turned to our Happyland collection particularly these new additions.

I tend to buy all-plastic toys second hand, change out the batteries and wipe down with anti- bacterial wipes or spray and they are good to go.

This Happyland Safari plane complete with animals, pilot and ranger characters have been a big hit as have these construction builders vehicles and characters.

All great for little hands and inspiring imaginative play.





Rainy Day Activities: Junk Modelling

I have been stashing away lots of cardboard boxes and tubes for a while now, and, yesterday, with the rain hammering down outside again it seemed like the perfect day to give it to the kids (aged 2.5 – 9 years old) for a junk modelling session.

Armed with nothing but recyclables, scissors, sticky tape and labels and their imaginations they got stuck in.

It was lovely to watch them engrossed in the activity for a good hour, chatting away to one another and modelling some lovely behaviours and manners.

“Can I have the scissors please?”

“Oh dear, you’ve dropped some”!

“Look at my one, its really big, I built it really big”

“Look at mine Emily!”

“It’s a rocket!”

“This is a house”

Who needs expensive holiday activities?!

Areas of Learning covered: Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Expressive Arts and Design

Characteristics of Effective Learning: Playing and Exploring, Active Learning, Creating and thinking critically.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The children have really enjoyed making Mother’s Day cards for their Mums this week. It was a lovely, simple activity that they could all enjoy from the youngest at 2.5 years old to the eldest at 5 years old.

Stickers feature heavily in our setting because all the kids love them and they don’t require any preparation. Its great for them all to sit around the table and chat and to develop their concentration and fine motor skills.

Areas of Learning covered: Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development (Fine Motor Skills)


Happy Chinese New Year!

This week we have been looking at Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the dog.

I love the Newsround website for great, simple explanations of celebrations –

Here at Aston Childcare, we love a good collage – all that cutting, gluing and sticking is great for the children’s fine motor skills, and sat around the table together is great for their communication & language and personal, social and emotional development.

We have used some beautiful Chinese inspired printed papers with pictures of beautiful lanterns and cherry blossom for our collages this week, have been dressing up in our fantastic traditional Chinese dressing up outfit and made New Year Cards for Mums and Dads.

Gung hay fat choy!

Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development (Fine Motor Skills) Literacy and Expressive Arts and Design.


Only half of pre-school children being read to daily

I came across this story today in The Guardian which states that only half of pre-school children are being read to daily.

It is such a shame that this is the case but I completely see why. Working parents work long days. I am a Mum of just one and don’t have a long commute either side of my day which affords me quality time to spend with my son reading, which, quite frankly, if I worked elsewhere I would be pushed to get given his 7pm bedtime.

Although I know my mindees all have literary rich environments at home, it reinforces the need for us as early years carers to ensure all children in our care, whatever their age, have access to age appropriate reading material.

Our village pre-school is excellent at reading to the children and fostering a love of books  in children too.

Do you find time to read to your pre-schooler?