Egg rolling- a tradition 

I have the fondest memories of egg rolling as a child. 

We would always take a BBQ and head up to Grizedale Forest in The Lake District, with a basket of freshly painted eggs and big smiles a plenty. 

I have always wanted to recreate this magic with my own children, and today we did! 

 We started the day with dippy eggs and soldiers (of course!) 

  
The kidlets then decorated their eggs 

    
    
   
Once all the eggs were good to go, we packed the kitchen sink (literally ) and headed north.

Only a few loo and “I’m gonna be sick” stops and we arrive at our woodland retreat. 

It was just as I remember, even down to the sound of the rushing water fall splashing over the mossy rocks! Isn’t it funny how evocative smells and sounds are. I was suddenly transported back to being a pickly 6 year old! 

   
  
There’s something quite special about eating in the great outdoors even if at times we had to flick a few bugs off the colslaw that dropped in for a nibble 

   
 
So everyone is fed and watered, and so we go in search of an “eggcellent” (sorry) rolling hill. 

    
Enroute we find a very lonely wood cutter and a money tree (I’m sure my folks always said money doesn’t grow on trees- well here is the proof that they were wrong!

  

  
And so the rolling competition began, although I use the term rolling very loosely… It was more of lobbing! I pulled the short straw and had to be at the bottom of the hill- I’m sure they hatched a plan and were aiming directly at my head! 

Despite their best efforts I came away egg free, the kids shrieked with laughter, argued about who won and who didn’t, ran around in the fresh air, but best of all made memories that I hope like mine… Will last a lifetime! 

  

Play is just play… It needs no explaining!

I found this awesome quote from Fred Rogers whilst surfing around the net this morning! (Cup of coffee in hand- my favourite way to spend a lazy Sunday morn!)

Too often some practitioners will ask… “But what are they learning- they look like they are just playing!!”

Hands up if you’ve ever experienced this?

I tend to get my ikea fold out soap box out, and explain that although they are “just” passing a ball to each other, two months ago that little 4 year old there used to spend the whole time hurting other children because he/she hadn’t learnt YET how to use their words to convey feeling, that most of their time was spent being changed by a grown up because they hadn’t yet developed an understanding of personal care. That two months ago they wouldn’t have been able to catch the ball yet with two hands, because their hand to eye co-ordination wasn’t developed enough.

I then put away my fold out ikea soap box, and disappear in a puff of smoke to the thick of my learning environment to watch children at play, and extend their learning!!!

20160207-100340.jpg

Are you a puddle parent?

I am a definite puddle parent, my children at school know if its raining more often than not we’ll grab our wellies and waterproofs and head on out!

Last friday it was absolutely tipping it down, we donned our wellies and waterproofs and spent a delightful afternoon splashing in puddles and hunting for snails and slugs!

We had a few minor incidents, one of which consisted of me dropping my iPad in a puddle, but apart from that all was grand!!

I didn’t see one littley with a sad face, what I did see though was big huge smiles, giggles, whoops to be free of the stuffy classroom! Children jumping, chasing, hoping, running, discovering, chatting, squealing with delight!

So…. Are you a puddle parent? Or do puddles get you in a muddle? Would love to hear below!

20160207-094636.jpg

Assessing risk

My little boy had the most fantastic Receotion teacher! He is fab at assessing risks- I know that the experiences he had in his early years have made him who he is today. 

I try so hard to allow my kids to make their own judgements, and assess the situation. Whilst out on a  lovely woodland walk this morning we came across a fallen tree stretching over a little stream…

http://youtu.be/Xsm0JseIo4E 
Here is how my little poppet tackled it! I try very hard to never say “Be careful!” Even if my heart is sometimes pumping hard in my chest! 

What do you think? 

Excuse the mess… 

Absolutely no explanation needed here except for- I’m so glad I’m not alone! 

Some days I look at the classroom and I think “How the hecky peck are we ever going to get straight?”

But we always do… 

With Creativity comes mess!

  

Physical Phonics

Children learn best by doing… We all know that. In my teaching/modelling of skills I try to make my sessions as active as possible. I hate sitting still, so I can only imagine how tricky it is if you are  four or five! (My mind starts to wander after about 7minutes flat!!!)

I “borrowed” this idea I think from a Twitter friend. 

Basically I used a sharpie pen to write our weeks digraph sound onto balls…

   

Our session started with me throwing the balls around our outdoor area and the Chdn running around to collect a ball. They needed to show me the ball and tell me the digraph before throwing it into the tray! 

Game two… Same as above but once they had told me the digraph they had to hold this in their heads, and go and write it on their white board! 

Game three… Two Teams- each player has to run to end of assault course, read the digraph, then go and root in the tray to find the matching digraph and roll it down the tubes. At the end of the game we looked in the tray and counted up how many correct balls ea h team had! (We realised we get a little confused between ‘ie’ and ‘oi’ 

   
   A great phonics session was had by all. 

I loved the fact that later in our “free explorer time” I saw my little phonics group teaching other children in the class! 

Story Trail 

This week our text has been “The hungry Caterpillar” by the marvellous Eric Carle

On Monday we carried out a story trail… For those of you that haven’t ever experienced one of these here’s how it works… 

  1. Photo copy pics from the text
  2. Place copies of each picture in separate baskets (ideally outside)
  3. Children get into pairs 
  4. Zoom around the trail collecting pics from various baskets
  5. Place pictures in correct order
  6. Retell the story In sequence (noting any parts of the story they are missing!) 

                  So what learning has taken place?

  • Great communication and language skills
  • Turn taking 
  • Making relationships 
  • Sharing ideas
  • Sequencing 
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience 
  • Counting 1:1 correspondence 
  • Story telling
  • Retelling events 

Did they know they were learning? Did they heck! Did they have high levels of involvement and enjoyment? ABSOLUTELY! 

Super Heroes! 

How many of your children love Superheroes? Yep mine too… Surprisingly it’s not just the boys either- my girls are just as excited about Superheroes as the boys. 

I am a keen believer in allowing children to take the lead in their learning. I know that so many of our children love this topic and are excited about it that I need to embrace theirove too! 

I began by researching lots of different bits and bobs. Here are the different things I have found useful- they are not all my ideas I will give acknowledgements where I can but some pics I have picked up along the way and I’m not sure where they are from! 

A fantastic document I have read recently is this http://www.islington.gov.uk/publicrecords/library/education-and-skills/information/leaflets/2011-2012/%282012-03-03%29-engaging-boys-leaflet.pdf What do you think? 

   
Block play is just fantastic isn’t it, I think these are awesome designs and love the fact the children have drawn and labelled their designs. It could be good to stick pics of super heros onto the blocks to encourage this more.

  This is a great idea from @jessicawebb92 with using blocks and ping pong balls! Great for control
One of my lovely twitter friends has some great Superhero ideas on her page…  

     

Here is the link to her webpage- do pop over to say hello! 

http://rockmyclassroom.com/2015/02/24/superhero-ideas-for-the-early-years/
   
 

Kids of all ages love puppets don’t they… I found these peg superheroes and thought they would be great not only for CL but to begin a little “talk for write” I can really see my lovely lot using the peg characters and then using some speech bubbles. 

   
 

Just for fun… Here is another fab idea I found whilst googling…! These would make  great end of term photos but also great talking and writing prompts

  • Who are you saving? 
  • What super powers do you have? 
  • What would happen if you flew into the building? 
  • What will you say to the person you are helping? 

 
How about having a Superhero dress up day? Children to make and write invitations! 

  Measuring superheroes using non standard measures. 

 Make a cape for a teddy… What makes the best material for a cape and why? 

   

 These areas are not mine… But I think they are amazing! 

Great books for you book lists… 

   

  

  

  

  

 For those of you that like the look of supertato… I found these fab potato people that look great fun and again could encourage some great writing!  

   Great idea to freeze superheroes In ice

http://rubsomedirtblog.com/2013/07/super-frozen-fun/
 
Making cuffs using kitchen rolls 

  

  Love this idea… Can you climb over and under the laser beams to save Teddy from the baddies? 

   
       And of course a super hero needs a super hero Cape! We have a fab supply of all different types of Super heros! If you would like to place an order  please email me at eyfsmatters@aol.co.uk

Capes are just £4.99 each 

  
Have fun! 

How to help children distinguish a capital letter from a lower case

Lots of children get confused between capital letters and lower case letters. It’s so tricky isn’t it- I guess it’s like me trying to learn Greek/Chinese! I just wouldn’t have a clue. 

We try to teach each sound individually and show the children the capital at the same time, but try not to over load them with info at the same time. 

I have been having a trawl around and have found a few ideas that I think would work brilliantly. As you know, I am an advocate for outdoor learning and anything that is fun, exciting and can offer children challenge. 

A fan page I follow on facebook https://www.facebook.com/rockmyclassroom. Has some great ideas that could be adapted and used for lower case and capital letter work. 

  
Laminate lower case letters and have them on cards, children have to squirt the corresponding Upper case letter with their water gun! 

 
Another fab idea from Rock my classroom- you could have 2 buckets one lower case, one upper case, and write letters onto plastic balls. Your child can have a go at whizzing them down the Shute into the correct bucket! 

  Use pebbles to paint on upper and lower case letters and play matching games. Hide them in mud outside and dig them up! 

Love this idea… Attach lock to lower case letter and matching upper case letter to key! 

  
Good old shaving foam

  
Here’s a couple of links I found …
http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/earlyyears/snowmanalphabet.htm 
http://www.roythezebra.com/reading-games-lesson-plans/lesson-plan-capital-letter-beginner.html 

Lastly how about alphabet spaghetti or pasta letters? 

   
 Happy alphabet hunting