Welcome to another Weekly Wanderings where I share some of the fun we get up to each week in my home based child care service and with my own 4 year old twins. The aim of this series is to provide a little inspiration and hopefully a few ideas for parents and also those working with children.
I am a huge believer in play based learning, outdoor exploration and letting kids be kids while they can. I also believe that play and learning does not need to be expensive nor time consuming to set up and pack away. Above all it should be fun for both you and the children.
Let's take a wander through our days last week.....
I picked up some little whiteboards calling to me from the clearance bin last week in our local Officeworks and the kids have been loving expressing themselves creatively on a different medium.
We went on an outdoor 'Bear Hunt' on a beautiful Winter morning....
There was the discovery of lavender flowers in the garden....
Which we collected and then added a little dried lavender to for a fairy tea party....
I set up a little fairy picnic invitation to play in the imagination circle outside for my 3 year old group of girls.....
Some coloured gems and stones made perfect food for scooping and mixing and pouring. Lavender was added to pots and cups and we chatted about how it smelt and what it might be used for.
Fairy and gnome friends were found under rocks and in the flower beds...
I decided to extend their interest in the lavender and added a bowl of dry and fresh lavender to the craft table.
Squeezing some coloured glue onto shapes cut from wading that was used as packaging. To make coloured glue I just added a little edicol powder dye to some glue squeeze bottles along with a little water and then gave them a good shake.
The 3 and 4 year olds always love using squeeze bottles to get creative as they can use them in so many different ways and they give their fine motor muscles a good workout at the same time!
Sticking lavender to their creations was very important work and took longer than you might think!
The trucks are a huge interest area with the toddlers at the moment so I have been trying to find different ways to extend their interest and skills using them.
The corrugated plastic pipes proved popular to load their cargo into trays....
Treasures in the quarry and vegetable patch to explore...
Stones, sticks, more recycled treasures hidden on the path and 'boulders' all loaded into trucks and picked up with diggers....
And a little patch of dirt kept them busy all morning!
There were roads made for cars inside with gems, squares of fake turf, sticks and tree blocks.
Different ways of working and playing with wood...a step made an excellent 'workbench', gems and sticks were fun to post into cardboard cylinders and hammers held everything together!
The passionfruit shop was very popular. Last week the kids helped me to pull the passionfruit vine off of the apple trees it was strangling. I brought down some of the pruned vine and weaved it onto a pallet leaning against the wall, added the cash register, a basket of fallen passionfruit and our outdoor scales then stood back to see what the children would do with it.
I wasn't disappointed as the play evolved in so many different ways and they were so busy in the world of the passionfruit shop!
There was weighing on the scales, a cauldron to add the passionfruit too, trucks to transport them in, baskets to fill at the shop and excavators to find and scoop the runaways!
I extended their interests by adding the tube placed on a chair so it was on a slant. We then began experimenting with what would roll down and what would get stuck. Why did the spoon get stuck but the passionfruit go through easily?
Lots of problem solving and experimenting with such a simple resource!
To work those toddler fine motor skills I set up a tray with sand and added a few items randomly. I handed out spray bottles with water and edicol dye to make some bright colours and then encouraged them to point and spray at their target!
This activity kept them busy for a long time and offered much scope for challenging their hand-eye and fine motor muscle skills.
We talked about trying to hit them from far away and then how it was easier to move closer to the target. They used the spray to knock over the little people, clean sand off the gems, paint wood blocks and plates and of course themselves!
There was of course a fence to be spray painted too!
At the end of the week on my day off I decided to rearrange the furniture in the main playrooms and rotate all the toys. I made some new spaces and blocked a few of the running areas that have been causing some concern!
It's a little sad how much I enjoy rearranging furniture and playspaces...but I really do!
The end of the week saw some much needed rain drop by....and my planned 20 loads of washing for the weekend had to be hung out downstairs. Ok I exaggerate, it was probably more like 15 loads. Shame I had all the daycare bedding and blankets to wash this week!!
But this is the vision that made the hard work of the whole week seem somehow worthwhile. Ruby showing such joy to be outside playing with Mummy and friends in her 'pretty playing dress'.
And another week begins...
What fun did you get up to with the kids last week?
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