Coloured Pasta

I really wish you could have seen my kitchen half an hour ago… It literally looked like we’d been burgled by the food colouring police! It was one of those moments (I’m sure we’ve all had them) where I thought “How the heck am I going to get out of this mess?”

For those of you that know me well, you’ll know I always bite off more than I can chew… Instead of just dying one lot of pasta I decided to not only make and dye spaghetti but also alphabet pasta and stars! I could literally start up a pasta parlour with the amount of pasta we have in our house at present! 

The reason being… I want to provide my children with an exciting, engaging opportunity to investigate capacity this week. The pasta will not only be a fab sensory experience but will give them a great resource to develop mathematical thinking. 

Here’s how I got into the mess I did…

  1. Cook your desired pasta (my advice, just stick to one variety!         
  2. Drain as normal and pop into a large mixing bowl  
  3. Add a glug (technical term!!) of Olive oil to coat the pasta  
  4. Now add a few drops of food colouring (I needed more than I thought I would!)    
  5. Find a little person to help mix the colour through the pasta   
  6. Lay the pasta on a baking sheet to dry!          

Et Voila there we have the worlds largest amount of coloured pasta! 

Whilst I was making the black stars it did make me think how fab this would look set in jelly as “frog spawn” if I had the energy I’d do this, but for now all I have the energy for is popping the kettle on and having a cup of tea and a nice custard cream! 

Happy Sunday Lovlies x 

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The Great British Bake Off! 

I wanted to share this with you, even though it’s tenuously linked to EYFS! 

  
This week marked the 61st birthday of my Mum in law- she’s had a pretty rubbish time recently and we wanted to show her how much she means to us! 

We arranged for her to spend the day at a local Spa with my sister in law (my hubby’s sister)  I haven’t got a sister, but if I had to choose one… I’d choose her! She’s lovely, in fact she’s the sister I haven’t got! Anyway before I get too emotional and start playing some sort of “Emile Samdè type music I’ll continue! 

Whilst the other two were off relaxing, drinking champers, and floating in flotation tanks we were knee deep in icing sugar, flour and marg! 

Wel actually that’s a bit of a porky pie… I wasn’t really knee deep in anything my gorgeous Niece’s and two kiddles were knee deep in baking paraphernalia, I just stood back and observed and casually threw in the odd “Go and wash your hands now you’ve just licked them!” 

Operation Afternoon Tea had commenced! 

They planned what they wanted to make…

  • Egg sandwiches 
  • Tuna and cucumber sandwiches 
  • Goats cheese, pesto and sun dried tomato puffs
  • Rocky road
  • Carrot cake
  • Strawberry shortcake towers
  • Scones with butter, clotted cream and jam

They met the day before, and discussed (argued mainly about who was in charge… Who was to wear the chefs hat, and most importantly who was going to create the “Happy Birthday Nana” banner) 

On the morning of the big event they popped to the local supermarket and bought the ingredients to make this spectacular feast! If I’m honest (and I’m going to be… I was a little sceptical that the plan was going to come into fruition!) how very dare I for evening thinking this for a second! The trusty foursome worked like a magnificent team of experienced pastry chefs.  

   Each child knew their role. My eldest who is a born leader and no doubt will be running the country before she’s finished liked to think she was in the driving seat. Little did she realise that my 13 year old niece was quietly but confidently keeping the troops in line by giving them each specific jobs to do, whilst keeping order but making them feel very much part of the process. She quickly realised that if she had the younger two under her feet all hell could break loose so suggested they “crack on” with the decorations! 

   
  

   

Leaving the two more experienced ones in the kitchen! 

   
   

What I saw in the next 5 hours made me a very proud mummy and Aunt and gave me that warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy! They worked tirelessly and seamlessly together in such a methodical way, each communicating with the other to get the best possible outcome. There were a couple of fraught moments along the way, and we had a running joke all day each time my youngest said “Is it time to make the sandwiches yet?” This was his job and he wasn’t about to forget it in a hurry! 

I loved the fact that they squealed with delight when the call came to say Nana would be only 10 minutes away, I loved the fact they took pride in making sure their grandmother had the best possible day, but most of all I adored seeing the people who mean the most to me making and creating memories that will last a lifetime! 

   
         

What to do this half term? 

Time flies past so quickly these days doesn’t it! Many of us are so busy- take a little time out this half term! Here’s a few ideas to get you started… 

  • Make some glitter playdough
  •   
  • Hop on a train and take a picnic to the countryside 
  • Plant seeds
  •   
  • Make a den
  • Paint a self portrait 
  • Make marble pictures (roll marbles around paint in the bottom of a tin or Tupperware box) 
  • Freeze Elsa/Anna in ice- investigate how to get her out! 
  • Create a tea party in your garden 
  • Visit your local soft play area
  • Make an indoor racing car track with masking tape
  •   
  • Have a movie afternoon 
  • Create a den in the lounge out of the sofa cushions and a large blanket… Read stories   
  • Make a wooden spoon puppet
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Make loom bracelets 
  • Create rainbow ice lollies 
  •   
  • Make your own marble run
  • Create shaving foam pictures
  • Blow huge bubbles using hoola hoops 
  •   
  • Make up your own phonics fish game 
  •   
  • Go looking looking for crabs and star fish 
  • Take a trip on an open top bus
  • Fly a kite 
  •   
  • Make sock puppets
  • Set up a shop with items from the kitchen 
  • Take a walk through the woods 
  •   
  • Go hunting for bugs
  • Make a box into something magical 
  •   
  • Visit a castle 
  • Create a giant picture on the floor using lining paper
  • Bake some fairy cakes and take to a neighbour 
  • Visit your local library
  • Create a “no sew” superhero Cape
  •   
  • Draw a picture of a butterfly 
  • Paint the fence with water and a paint brush 
  • Bake fresh bread
  • Paint a stone bug
  • Create a home for a wood louse 
  • Chalk a hopskotch on the floor 
  •    
  • Make rainbow jelly
  • Decorate old picture frames with sequins and glitter 
  • Create people out of fruit and veg
  •   

Let’s make some memories… Often the most inexpensive ideas create the memories that last the longest 

Have fun x 

A spare tyre!! 

On my way back from a weekend away I saw this great idea at Brighton train station…  

 

It got me thinking of all the different things you could do using an old tyre- and prompted me to google! Here’s what I found…

   
                                             

Some truly brilliant ideas that could help jazz up your outside space- with very little time and most importantly money! 

Happy new up cycling project! 

Do post pics of any ideas you have trialled using everyday items!

 You may also fancy reading an earlier post on “What to do with a cable reel” https://eyfsmatters.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/what-to-do-with-a-cable-reel/

Herding Cats Whilst Juggling with Ferrets – Why would anyone want to work in Early Years?

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Alister Bryce Clegg as a guest to my blog. Alistair is my favourite EYFS guru! What he says, just makes sense! I hope you enjoy reading his article here x 

  

Herding Cats Whilst Juggling with Ferrets – Why would anyone want to work in Early Years?

Young children are truly remarkable beings and masters of ‘the unexpected’. There is one thing that you can be certain of when you work in Early Years and that is that you can never be certain of anything!

Like the moments that you have them eating out of the palm of your hand, they gaze at you wide eyed as you deliver pearls of wisdom. Then from amongst the crowd a hand slowly rises and you pause with anticipation, waiting for confirmation that you are indeed the Worlds best teacher and that this child is going to utter a statement of learning and understanding – only to be met with the phrase ‘My Granddad’s dead’. Just three little words that can completely kill a moment! Continue reading

Critique and Feedback 

I just had to write a post on this and share with you the fabulous “Austins Butterfly” video that I watched earlier this afternoon. 

As part of our staff meeting today we fed back on various twilight courses that we attended a couple of weeks ago. One that tickled my taste buds was entitled “Growth Minset” and how we can all change our mindset, and also help our children to become more confident in their own abilities thus have a “growth mindset” and not a fixed mindset. 

I need to do an awful lot more reading on this to fully understand it, and to be able to discus it with you further, but one link that was suggested we watch is this…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hqh1MRWZjms an amazing video entitled Austin’s Butterfly. 
It really just makes such sense to me, not just for EYFS but any year group. 

Looking specifically at EYFS though, it is so poignant. Especially in the way we give out feedback and critique. I try each day to build a class of resilient rhinos that keep on trying, and find new ways to do things and different ways to approach problems , but some days I’m just not sure that I am successful in my quest. This amazing video proves the need for being resilient and keeping on going. It has made me even more determined to educate our children in the knowledge that there is always scope in trying again and achieving way more than you ever thought possible! 

I guess it’s about educating our children that critique is kind, helpful, and specific. Young children are able to do this very well sometimes they just need a little guidance from us on how to go about it successfully! 

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did x 

  

Deconstructed Role Play

I’ve had lots of people asking me what a deconstructed role play is and how it works. So here we go… 

  
I first saw the idea on an amazing blog I follow written by ABC does! If you haven’t come across his site you really must  pop its a great read for EYFS. We have used lots of his ideas as talking points in our weekly EYfS team meetings. In fact my colleagues say I talk more about Alistair than my hubby!!!! 

So what is a deconstructed role play! And how does it work? 

  
It’s basically role play that allows children to be totally in control of their own learning, for them to take ownership of their ideas, and for them to drive their learning forward with us as practitioners to help them extend their thinking with careful questioning and suggestions for higher order thinking and next steps. All of which are key to outstanding early years practice! 

  
It took me a little while to get my head around letting go… We always had a beautifully created role play, always linking to topic with key words plastered around (that the children never used) and gorgeous writing templates connected to this (that the children never wrote on- because they were our ideals and not theirs!) and went down the deconstructed route! 

  
This is simply a collection of different sized boxes. You will find yourself best friends with any delivery driver, routing through various skips and making special trips to super markets way after closing time! I have found the best place to collect locally is our “Iceland” store. They have fab boxes of all shapes and sizes which are plain cardboard allowing the children free reign on mark making and creativity. 

  
Once you are armed with your boxes, you need a space in your setting to allow your children space to create and design. I have also positioned our deconstructed role play near a white board so the children can use the board to mark make and add to their ideas. I have seen some children using this board to draw sketches of their designs (this happens less frequently but the opportunity is there non the less) if you haven’t got a white board a lovely roll of lining paper will suffice. 

Then let their little minds do the rest. Each week we add a different enhancement. These could be as follows…

  • Material 
  • Rope
  • String 
  • Tarpaulin 
  • Hats 
  • Dressing up clothes
  • Masks
  • Puppets 
  • Tyres 
  • Steering wheels
  • Bamboo canes
  • Wheels
  • Sheets
  • Branches 
  • Cable reels 
  • Logs 
  • Large/small tubes 

Just as we would do with literacy and maths , we plan opportunities to model sessions in the deconstructed role play, but ensure that our children take the lead. 

  
The one rule we have is that you don’t have ownership of your box, what may have been a car in a previous session could in fact be turned into a castle in the next! 

  
We tend to replenish boxes on a weekly basis- ensuring there is plenty of scope for new design and imagination 

I always provide masking tape, scissors, cellotape, string, marker pens and felt tips so the children can turn their boxes into anything that floats their boat. 

Often I just stand back and observe! 

The observations I have collected have been second to non- the world is your child’s oyster when it comes to plain, blank boxes! Give it a go…

I’d love to hear your outcomes!