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!!!

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Linked Provision 

Here are our table top activities for this week… 

These activities are linked to our gap analysis assessment (taken from baseline at the mo) 

These activities are set up in the classroom first thing in the morning- and stay out for the first session.

 Giant polydron: it has been lovely to play alongside the children here in their construction area. Lots of children drew plans of what they were going to build/had built. It was a useful tool to have the clipboards and crayons as an enhancement  

Mark making on mirrors proved to be a real hit this week! 

  
 

Inspired by stimulating learning with Rachel https://www.facebook.com/162317827297284/timeline/story?ut=43&wstart=0&wend=1441090799&hash=-7784684924675874999&pagefilter=3

The children have loved mark making in the glitter using paint brushes or their fingers 

 

 Maths tray- squirting the numbers great for ordering, numeral recognition, counting actions that can’t be moved 
 

 Chalk and pastel shapes- we are going to attach these together vertically to create hanging mobiles (watch this space) this activity was great not only for shape recognition and colour but also for children to practice their skills of resilience. It took a lot of patience and effort to complete the whole shape 

 
M ark making using marker pens attached to cars- and colour mixing in the tough spot at the end 

 
  
Fire engine role play- the children painted the fire engine before half term. They then told me what they wanted in there! Kidlets often come up with better ideas than us!   

We keep our linked provision for two weeks, but change and adapt as needed throughout the fortnight 

Xx 

Linked Provision 

  
I get asked lots about our time table and planning. We have started “Table Top Activities” this year. This is linked provision using gap analysis to really develop those skills that our children struggle with. Careful and considerate assessment is done to really get to grips with what our children need to move them on in their learning. This is done purely through observation based assessment. 
  
  The activities change on a weekly basis, and are put out for the first session each morning. This session lasts from 8.50-9.40am. The activities are then packed away in storage boxes and popped under the table. 

  
On each activity is a card which details the skill we plan to cover using the resources set out. The outcome of the activity is absolutely up to the child, we are teaching the skill not choosing the outcome. There are three adults in our setting, and during table top time, each adult is stationed by a table to model, and help move the learning forward with affective questioning and focused guidance. This is also the time that we hear any readers that we have identified as “Every day readers” (this hasn’t started yet as we feel it is a little too early, and are knee deep in baseline!!) 

  

Super Hero Giveaway! 

  
Morning all, as it’s the Hollibobs and I’m feeling very generous thought we’d have a bit of fun, and a giveaway! 

Here’s the deal… 

  
The winner will be chosen at complete random and will win 4 SUPERHERO CAPES OF THEIR CHOICE!!!!!!!!! 

  
Don’t forget if you’re not lucky enough to be a winner you can order capes at just £4.99 by dropping me an email at eyfsmatters@aol.co.uk 

  
Good luck my gorgeous little superhero friends! 
Don’t forget to comment and share!!

  

I’m the king of the castle! 

 Today was a grand day… 

We have recently had new clever touch screens fitted. Guess who “bagsied” the box? Yep you’ve guessed it… Me! 

I left it in our deconstructed role play this morning and for the first session just observed the role play using this box. 

During our 2nd session I decided to join my little cherubs in the role play, and model some creative thinking and imaginative play. The children told me they wanted to make a castle…. 

One little girl decided to draw a picture of what a castle looks like. This was to form the basis of our plan.

There was lots of chat about 

  • moats
  • Drawbridges 
  • Kings 
  • Queens
  • Doors 
  • Windows with bars
  • Look outs 
  • Enemies
  • Baddies
  • Guns
  • Cannons 

  
The children found the cardboard too tricky to cut so told me to “find something dangerous” to cut the card! I decided to use a saw from the DT cupboard. In an ideal world I would have preferred them to use the saw, but as I hadn’t risk assessed this with them prior to this I thought it best to take the lead! (Note to self do this for Sept!) 

They directed me, and were very explicit on how it should be done (I have to admit that at times I did find this tricky- I had to remind myself a couple of times that this was in fact their castle and not mine!) 

  
Unfortunately lunch time called and we had to abort play for a while. What this did enable me to do was root out from the depths of my cupboard our “castle role play box” this delightful box is a treasure trove full of anything a king/queen would need when residing in a magnificent abode! 

My gorgeous TA’s also added lining paper to the outside of the castle so to encourage fresh mark making opportunities. 

I adored standing back and watching play develop as their confidence and ideas grew. I feel happy that I have taughtots of new facts today about castles that my little brood didn’t know about when they arrived at school this morning. 

  
Did they know they were learning? Did they heck! Did they have fun, and drive the learning forward themselves? ABSOLUTELY!!! 

   

Fairy doors and other sprinkles of woodland magic… 

Just a quicky tonight… 

This morning we went for a little walk in the woods (“ahhhh can’t we take our scooters” came the cries!!!) 

They only needed a little persuasion to leave the wheels behind! 

We came across a huge tree that had obviously been uprooted in a recent storm, this made an excellent climbing frame, it was huge!  


The roots were fascinating and were a great talking point for the Kidkets! 

Imagine the squeals of pure delight as we came across this…  

    
“I knew it….there are such things as woodland fairies came the cries!” 

We then watched the fairies dancing on the leaves (the rain!) my parents used to get me to do the same when I was a little girl! 

There is something quite magical about being in a forest under the thick canopy of trees whilst it is tipping it down! We were happy to be outdoors- “A little bit of rain never hurt anyone” 

Did it?!?!? 

Deconstructed role play 

Many of you will know I have written about this before…

I have a real passion and innate desire to allow children to be free in their own creativity. 

In our setting gone are the days where we create a Gruffalo cave (I’m not being funny… How many gruffalo caves have you been in? Me neither and even if I had I’m not sure what play I’d do in there?) I hold my hands up and say that I used to be that teacher that would print off a load of key words, spend hours laminating them and stick them up in “MY” role play area, and expect the Kidkets to sit with a clip board and write them down, or read them and use them in their conversation! Of course they didn’t use them… All that was happening was a big old waste of a few hours spent at the laminator! 

What I do do is spend my weekends trawling round various supermarkets and shops asking for boxes so that I can provide my children with a great range of different types, sized, shaped boxes that can be whatever the heck they like! 

Today was one of those days my heart felt happy, and a few goose bumps appeared on my arms! (Ok it doesn’t happen every day- but you know that feeling when it does!)

I looked over to our role play and this is what greeted me…  

  
I literally whooped and cheered! I think  I perhaps made a few children jump with fright in the process! (Oops- surely they are used to this crazy lady by now!!)  

I was totally blown away by the creativity, craftsmanship and collabation that had gone into this design. Not only had they cut the paper into a flag shape, drawn the skull and cross bones, attached it to the mast (big tube) tied the mast onto the box with string! But they also presented their plan!  

   

“We decided what we wanted it to be first” they said “So we drew it!”

And there we have it… Creativity in its simplest form!!

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! 

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! 

  

B and Q wastage scheme 

I posted about this on Facebook this morning, but thought I’d also write a quick post here too! 

Did you know that you can sign up to B & Q’s wastage scheme if you are a nursery, school, scout group, brownie pack, childminder etc etc

http://www.diy.com/corporate/community/waste-donation/
Our local store required you to contact head office and then they add you to the scheme. They will then give away any products that can’t be sold within the store. Items such as wood, paint tiles, turf etc 

I guess each store differs. It’s worth a phone call though! 

I hope you are successful in sourcing some freebies which will help further your children’s development. 

Please do comment below and let us know how you get on 

Bye for now x