Friday, 31 December 2010

Snow Transferring activities

Happy New year to all the readers, my resolution is to blog more frequently so am starting as I mean to go on. Who knows what weather chaos (or not) the new year will bring but whatever happens I'm sure there will be more snow and snowy weather calls for snowy activities, of the non cold variety. (Don't worry the window is not on fire)

Transferring seed pods (not sure what kind) painted White between containers, a shallow spoon was available but at point of photo was being used for something else, for fundamentalist montesorians among you, I'm so sorry!

Transferring White pom poms with a peg into a container with small hole. This actually proved quite tricky for little fingers as it was not a quick transferring activity, instead requiring a pause to for pushing the pom pom into the hole with a finger on the other hand. A great activity to encourage children to use both hands and to reach to midline.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

More Christmas Fine Motor activities

More Christmas fine motor activities, never have enough of these in the pre writing stage if you ask me.

Stamping with ink pad, was a popular activity to create christmas cards, but proved a little more difficult got little hands than I anticipated. I actually added a wooden coaster to the basket showing the children how they could place the stamp on paper, lay coaster on top and apply even pressure with both hands, this proved most successful.

Small bead threading with Christmas colours onto a pipe cleaner. Beads in a small tin to support fine finger muscle strength and manipulation. Initially created only as a fine motor activity but extended to creating patterns.

Father Christmas shaped tin with a large bell inside, initially designed as an infant activity for opening, getting bell out and replacing. But still accessed by the old children and does require a bit of skill opening the tin.

Christmas tag making, by far the most popular activity and I didn't get a photo! Every time I went to take the photo the resources were running out or ran out, and I never managed to get one made in action. I simply supplied old Christmas cards, a pair of scissors, a single hole puncher and curling ribbon. I showed the children the process of cutting their desired shape/ picture, punching two holes and threading the ribbon into one hole and out the other (few of the children can tie knots so I felt it best to focus on the creative process rather than teaching a new skill).

Whilst this was a hugely successful activity it proved challenging to follow the required sequence without support, I was tempted to add a picture instruction card but decided against it as felt it would reduce the problem solving/ thinking element. So by providing the occasional verbal prompt when requested or a reflected question e.g. "what do you think is next?" I was able to support to independence. If I was ever to make picture instructions I would do so in a three page book format that could be turned over to reveal the next stage of the sequence only if needed, rather than proving it to them "on a plate"

This is not a photo of my activity (far too perfect) but felt empty without a pic, so stole it from Crafting a Green World, which is a FABULOUS site full of green ideas, check it out.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas Songs

Songs are an ever present part of Christmas from Slade to Ding Dong Merrily on high, and of course the cheesy children's classics. Here are a couple of songs that were on our shelves this years and have been particularly popular particularly the tree one, Snowmen were last year's favourite.

Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star
(tune of Twinkle Twinkle)
Twinkle twinkle Christmas star
Wise men know what you are
Guided by your shining light
Helped them on there way at night
Twinkle twinkle Christmas star
Wise men know what you are.

Ten little Gold Stars
(tune of Ten Little Indians)
1 little, 2 little, 3 little gold stars,
4 little, 5 little, 6 little gold stars,
7 little, 8 little, 9 little gold stars
10 little gold stars for....(child's name)
Children taking it in turns to give them to their friends.
Five Christmas Trees
(tune of Five Current Buns)

Five Christmas trees in the garden shop
Tall and spiky with a star on top
Along came.... (child's name)
With some money one day
Bought a Christmas tree and took it away

I purposefully made it "money" rather than penny in the hope that it would encourage children to say how much a tree would cost. My expectations were exceeded and we went as far as adding the right coins together and giving change some times we don't give children enough credit.
Five little snowmen fat
Each had a funny hat
Out came the sun and Melted one
What a funny thing was that.

Four little...

I either get children to draw a sun on a piece of paper e.g. "Oh no, we haven't a sun we'd better make one quick" usually followed with "I will". Or provide them with a torch to shine it onto the chosen snowman, which is another great hand eye coordination exercise along with creating anticipation and encouraging visual tracking for other children.


“I’m a little snowman, short and fat.

Here’s my carrot nose and here is my hat.

When it’s cold and icy I will stay,

But in the sun I melt away!”

Some wonderful Christmas son ideas are available at Perpetual Preschool

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas fine motor (hanging and transfering)

Ok, so always on the look out for ideas where children are encouraged to develop their fine motor skills whilst incorporating favoured schemas.

Bells from gift tags (complete with tags, how the survive is anyones guess) attached to small curtain rings and placed onto a wooden single stem vase. These can be used as a simple transferring activity or as often are in conjunction with a song jingle bells/ twinkle twinkle again needing a pincer grip rather than a palmer grasp as with many bell instruments

Decorative Christmas candle rings, placed onto a kitchen roll pole, another favourite. Just adapting the good old curtain rings on a pole. Make sure the decorations are safe for children you are working with.

Little wooden gift tags (of course you could use card ones short term) to hang from a cup tree. This requires a little more skill and usually requires the use of two hands and finger control to separate the thread to hang.

For a more complex activity and incorporating the enclosure schema (always a favourite) placing a large seleacion of christmas decorations and tags in a selection of boxes and bags, stored inside a larger box, creates a natural curiosity. Whilst incorporating even more fine motor skills, and then when it comes to putting it away (which is equally fun) a whole bunch of problem solving, numeracy and reasoning skills to match lids. Lots of opportunities to talk about a range of mathematical concepts e.g. size, prepositions, 3d/ 2d shape, colour, weight, pattern, sorting, comparisons etc. If you choose your decorations accordingly you can also discuss the christmas story (which was my initial motivation for the activity, just kept adding more decorations to meet demand)
Happy Fine motor Christmas.

"He who can no longer pause and wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." Albert Einstein

Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Story

Well again been off blogging for a while, one thing and another made it very difficult the new year should (may, i'll try a resolution) be more forthcoming with posts. Anyways, hope you had a great Christmas. I know it's late but it will be in the archives for next years, christmas story related activity ideas.

Stable Craft
I'm not generally into pre-made craft ideas but occasionally and this one is rather adorable. Envelope with a triangle cut out of the flap to create a stable scene, children were provided with card cutout shapes to create the figures. No glue was needed to stick a star to the stable roof just a lick on the tope of the flap and hey presto.

Christmas Symbols Box
It is sometimes difficult for children to integrate the ideas of a baby being born a long time ago and the trappings of a modern Christmas celebration, well us adults too. But this little box was a nice talking point about many aspects of our current celebrations both religious and secular.

Clothes Peg Nativity
I love it when an activity/ resource serves a few purposes, so this is a lovely activity to be used creatively whilst developing finger strength. Made out of simple wooden clothes pegs and funky foam cut into appropriate shapes, of course you could use laminated nativity printouts, such a these from activity village. I just glued with pritt stick for speeds sake but for a longer lasting resource use a glue gun