Saturday, 24 January 2015


After our snow paintings last week, I thought it might be nice to extend the activity using a different type of paint and to offer the older children the chance to do some observational painting by placing a little snowman teddy on the table. I offered the children some paint sticks. These are less messy than the previous paint we used and have a very different feel to them and painting style. They are very much like painting with a lipstick!

I sat next to the younger children and painted a snowman in one corner of their paper. As I did this I used the words to describe what I was painting "Head, body, stick arms, carrot nose"

The little ones enjoyed watching me paint and it encouraged them to paint too. Often they tried to say the word and used the same colour to paint a similar shape.

Little "E" made spirals in white on the paper after I painted the snowman's head and body. I said the words "Head" and "Body" and told her they were circles.

On the picture below you can see she painted her own snowman on the second picture and I added stick arms on the picture in the place she indicated.
I asked her if it had a nose and she used the orange paint to make one on the page.

"X" is now 4 and approached his observational paintings in a different way. Here is a fantastic picture of him looking at the snowman and trying to decide what he might need to add to his picture.

He offered much more to the conversation and pointed parts out to me that he thought should be added. He talked about the colours that he could use, the winter clothes that were added on the snowman.

We had many different types of snowmen painted. It was lovely to watch the children look at the same object and paint their own interpretation of it.

  • Paint a picture using a real visual prompt
  • Make observations about objects and talk about details.

    • Look at some other items linked to children's individual interests that they could use for observational drawing and painting.
    • Offer different materials to make observational sketches, paintings, crayoning, models etc


    Little "E"  showed high levels of interest and enjoyment in this activity. She was actively learning body parts, expanding on the learning we have been doing over the past weeks, by listening to the words i used as i painted the snowman and asking her to paint "A head" etc. She indicated she wanted more paper when she had finished her picture, and passed me the finished one.

    Little "X" was very focused in this activity and noticed small details on the snowman. He made links and worked hard at painting his picture and making it as complete as possible.

    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Communication and language
    • Understanding the world.
    • Expressive Art and Design.

    Monday, 19 January 2015


    Today we went for a walk in the cold winter air. It was very bright out and there was no wind. Perfect for a little play in the park and a walk.

    We walked in the sun on the grass and then stepped in to the shade. The children noticed the temperature change right away. They also picked up on the change underfoot. The grass was suddenly very crisp and when the children stood on it, the footprint stayed in the frosty blades.

    "L" asked me why this was and we talked about the sun not yet reaching this part of the green. I asked her how it felt when she walked in to the shadow and she told me it felt really cold. I then asked her what melts ice and frost. She told me heat. So we talked about the sun bringing heat and that where the sun was not yet shining, it would be colder than the sunny spots. This is why the grass was still frosty and crisp.

    Little "J" was as interested in this conversation and more keen to go in to the park for a play. 

    He did however come across a puddle at the bottom of the slide that was frozen and he rubbed his fingers over it. He told me it was very cold. 

    It started to brake up in his hands as he pushed it over the cold metal. He tried to stand on it so I told him to be very careful as he might slip and fall. He took this seriously and was very careful to keep one foot on the floor so that he would not loose his balance.

    I picked up a piece of the very thin ice and held it up to the sun so that both "L" and "J" could see the pattern in it. "L" asked me if it was very cold. She told me ice is very cold.

    We also looked at how thin it was by looking at it side on.

    • Noticing the changes that weather brings to the world around us. 
    • Learning about cold weather and its effects on the world.
      • look at how wildlife would find it hard to find food and drink in cold weather due to the cold and ice. How can we help them?
      • Make an ice sensory tray and look at ways to melt the snow. Include heat and salt.


      Little "L"  was very interested in why there were frozen areas and non frozen areas. With some careful guidance she started to make connections between the sun bringing us heat and the effects it had on the ice. The shady areas were much colder and she noticed this very quickly. She enjoyed looking at the patterns in the ice and noticed that it was starting to melt in my warm hands as I held it. She was working with what she knew to help her work out the answers to her questions. She was learning through exploring and showing an interest in the world around her. 

      Little "J" was engaged in his interest in the icy puddle. He explored the feel, how it moved, temperature and then how it reacted to being stood on. He understood that he needed to be careful so that he didn't fall when putting his feet on it. He laughed at the ice as he broke it in to pieces. Learning through and exploration. 

      Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
      • Communication and language
      • Understanding the world.

      Thursday, 8 January 2015


      I planned this as a fun ice breaker and a good way to find out what little "C" liked on her first day. Thanks fully I am friends with her mum so I knew the answers to most the of the questions and could help out when she was feeling a bit shy.

      We used a big stencil with shapes on it to draw interesting boxes to write in.

      I started to talk to "C" about her family and who lived in her house with her. Who was special and who she liked to see.
      We also talked about pets. My pets which she had been interested in that morning and then her pets.

      She watched me write in the boxes and had a pen to make her own marks on the page as well.

      She told me about the toys she liked and that she liked to watch Peppa Pig and Frozen.

      Some of the questions she found tricky, like what food did she like. But at lunch time we came back to that one by talking about the food in her lunch box.

      We then decorated  her poster together.

      • Opening up lines of communications by talking about things she is familiar with and giving her crayons to doodle with as we talk, taking off some of the pressure.
      • Getting to know "C"'s likes and dislikes and noting them down to help with next steps and planning. 

      NEXT STEPS: 
        • Take a copy of the poster for her learning journey and then send the poster home for her to share with her family.


        Little "C" was keen on some one to one time and wanted to draw but found some of the questions I asked her a bit tricky. She did warmed up quite quickly though and started to tell me more about her friends and family. She liked to make marks on the paper as we spoke so that we were not looking at each other and asked me to draw shapes and pictures for her as we chatted.

        Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
        • Communication and language
        • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
        • Physical Development
        • Understanding the world


        Little "C" had her 1st day with us today. I spent some time sitting back and watching what she enjoyed and making some observations.
        She seems really keen on the happyland toys and was focused for a good 15 minutes on this crane and conveyor belt. 
        She started buy looking at all the moving parts and turning handles, rotating the crane and opening the little hatch door. She tried to drop the bucket through the hole but worked out that it wouldn't fit. After exploring this for herself for a good amount of time, she asked me to help her and show her how it worked. 

        I showed her how to place the blocks in the bucket and then drop them on to the hatch. I drove a dump truck under it and then opened the hatch for the blocks to drop down. She loved that the dump truck was filled up and repeated the process herself several time.

        I then showed her how to work the conveyor belt. Adding blocks at the bottom and turning the handle to make them go up and then they fell on to the hatch so they could fill the truck again. She was very keen to try it out for herself and, with some guidance, soon worked which way to turn the handle to get the desired movement.

        Before long she was filling dumper truck after dumper truck with blocks using the 2 methods she had practiced and even drove the truck back around to the bottom of the conveyor belt so that she could reload it.

        • Child selected play leading to self initiated learning.
        • operating simple mechanical toys
        • Showing an interest in technological toys with knobs and pulleys.

        NEXT STEPS: 
          • Offer more toys with buttons, flaps and leavers.
          • Offer a latches board to explore.
          •  Look at different mechanisms in our everyday life and see how they work.


          Little "C" showed interest and determination for a prolonged period of time, showing fascination and wanting to understand how the toy worked. She showed and interest and curiosity in items in her environment and thought critically to try and work them. She was actively learning as she moved the different parts of the toy and tried to link each one. She sort help from others when she felt she could not work it out and watched carefully to what she was shown. Eager to give it a go for herself and showing a real "can do" attitude.

          Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
          • Communication and language
          • Understanding the world.
          • Physical Development

          Monday, 5 January 2015


          Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at the New Year and new beginnings.  I will be asking the children to think about something they would like to achieve over the next year. Maybe a habit they wish to stop or a new skill they would like to learn.  We will add these to the playroom wall and over the next year we will remind ourselves of our goal and hopefully we will achieve them all by next Christmas.
          You might like to chat with your little ones this week about this and maybe help them to choose something.


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