Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Easter Activities

Our focus this week in Reception class has been Easter.  This has been a busy craft filled week, although we have still managed to squeeze some sneaky math work in with it.

Children have enjoyed all the activities that have been laid out  this week, although the two most popular tables, where children have kept returning to this week have been the Easter Sensory table and the Writing table.

Easter egg, sensory basket

I have been a little surprised at how much enthusiasm this table has raised.  Children have loved using the tongs to transfer items from the basket to the egg cartons and filling the plastic Easter eggs. The most popular  item in the basket has been the fluffy pompom style balls.  Many of the other items have been ignored.  
This activity has been great for developing motor skills, cross lateral body movement, sorting by colour, shape and item, as well as developing counting skills.  
Some questions that have been generated this week include; How many blue balls did you choose?  How many are there all together?  Why did you choose to fill the basket this way?  Can you describe what the balls feel like?  I will definitely keep this activity up my sleeve for a future year. 

Writing Table:  Another popular table this week. Prior to introducing this table I showed this cute little video about decorating eggs video eggs, with zigzags and spots 
 This table included a wide variety of activities, including pre motor skills, ( follow the Easter bunny trail and trace over the egg numbers, finish the egg patterns).  I also laid out paper eggs for children to draw and decorate and write messages on.  I extended this activity by printing out some small images of decorated eggs and easter bunny baskets.  Children cut out the images and used them to decorate larger paper eggs.

Some of the other activities this week have included, making Easter Bonnets and Easter Cards, egg marbling and making egg sun catchers.

Beyond our Easter Crafts, we found a great Science activity (thanks to Growing a Jeweled Rose blog page - follow this link to find it - gives a good outline of what to do.

This egg less shell experiment was a big hit with the children, who were fascinated to see that the eggs bounced afterwards, whilst the egg in the water cracked straight away.  We looked to see high we could drop the eggs before they finally splattered.  Interestingly some children were initially unsure of the touching the eggs when they came out of the vinegar.  By the end they were all having a good prod and a poke.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sensory Play

In a nut shell sensory play involves any activity that uses any of the 5 senses; sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing.

The science behind it:

Simply put, it fires neurons, stimulates connections in the brain which in turn allows children to make sense of their world.  It helps develop problem solving skills, communication skills and motor skills to name just a few of the benefits.

For more detailed information check out the following links:
cultivating-skills-through-sensory-play/. PBS website

Fun Sensory Activities:
I am currently trying to incorporate sensory play into my classroom as much as possible and whilst I admit it is often frustratingly messy, the children love it.
Below are some sensory activities I have been trying.

Coloured Rice:  this was so much simpler to make than I would have guessed and took only a few minutes to mix each colour, then you just leave it to dry - easy.

I put out a few colours of rice in strips which were soon mixed into a rainbow mix, each day I added the next colour rice in a strip to be combined with the rainbow mix.  My class are loving it and it is easier to sweep up than fine grain sand for sure.

What else I will do with it:
Capacity - how many cups of rice will you need to fill this bigger container
Magnetism - hide some magnetic items in the rice and let the children fish them out with wishing lines or wand magnets.

You will need:
uncooked rice
Food colouring
Rubbing alcohol/ethonol
Zip lock bag

How I made it:
Place a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to the zip lock bag, add the food colouring (anything from a few drops to half a bottle - depending on how bright you want the rice), add the rice to the bag, close shut and mix the rice and liquid together.
When you are happy with your mix spread the rice onto some old paper and leave to dry.

Arctic Adventure

We have had a lot of snow this year, so I created an arctic play experience for the children.  The children enjoyed exploring this activity from just looking at it to filling the water bowl with the snow and make believe with the animals.