Easter Ideas

2018-03-20 12.44.54-1Hooray! I love Easter! Being a massive chocoholic helps, but it’s also great to see Spring underway and things coming to life after the long winter. My daffodils have started popping up and I’ve even been lucky enough to see some sunshine this last week!

Here are a few fun Easter themed activities that you might be interested in for the long weekend:

Easter Egg Rolling (Science/ Maths) 

This activity really does what it says on the tin. You can use chocolate eggs, hard-boiled eggs, or plastic eggs. Even better if you have a combination and they’re different shapes and sizes.

WARNING: BE AWARE OF ANY ALLERGIES BEFORE USING REAL EGGS

So what do you do? First you’ll need a ramp of some sort. You could use a slide, a plank of wood, or a large piece of cardboard (easy!) Fix it into place and then – you guessed it – roll those eggs! The science and/or maths comes into it if you decide to look at the distance that the eggs might travel after they leave the ramp. You could measure this using a ruler or tape measure, and this brings in some important measuring skills. The science element could be to look at the reasons why some eggs travel further/ faster than others. You could also try sticking a rug/some felt/ bubble wrap/ any other material with an interesting texture, onto your ramp to see if it changes the distance that your eggs travel.

Easter Egg Hunt (Social Studies)

Everyone knows about the good old Easter Egg hunt! But why not add in some extra fun and learning by using a map to find your eggs?

The first thing to do is to create a map of your garden or room (wherever the eggs are going to be hidden). This doesn’t need to be complicated, and is best created together with the child(ren) so that they have a good understanding of what it means. See my example below:

Map

Once you have your map, it’s time to hide those eggs! Don’t forget to mark on the map where you’ve hidden them. This is also a great opportunity to practice some positional and directional language.

Now let the fun begin! You could even repeat the activity by letting your child/ children hide am egg and mark it on the map for you to find!

Easter Baking (Health and Wellbeing/ Maths/ Literacy/ Science)

I love baking cakes almost as much as I love eating them! I wont bore you with any recipes on here because there are so many online for you to find, but if I was going to suggest a couple for you to try I would say – Nest Cakes or Rock Cakes. Both are super simple and really yummy!

Maths comes into baking when you measure out your ingredients. You can use scales or count scoops, either way this is great maths practice! Literacy is involved when you and your child follow a recipe together. The science aspect is a little more complicated, but can be simplified through a simple conversation about how things change – for example melting chocolate (solid to liquid, and back again), or baking the mixture so that it changes from a sticky gloopy mess, to solid cakes. Finally, Health and Wellbeing is important with baking, particularly when you think about hygiene, such as washing our hands before touching food. You should also be talking to your child(ren) about safety, particularly if you are using the oven, or anything like boiling water.

You may also want to talk to your child(ren) about different foods and which are healthy or unhealthy. This is really relevant at Easter when the focus is very much on chocolate and sweeties!

Decorating Eggs (Art/ Maths)

You can approach this activity in a few different ways:

  • Paper templates
  • Polystyrene eggs
  • Real (hard boiled) eggs

WARNING: BE AWARE OF ALLERGIES BEFORE USING REAL EGGS

With a paper egg (you can find these online, they can either be a simple egg-shaped outline, or can have patterns drawn onto them for colouring), you can explore colour, shape, pattern, and design. Use crayons, felt-tips, paints, stickers, or anything else to make the eggs look fantastic.

Polystyrene eggs can easily be decorated using stickers or felt tips. These are a little more tricky to work with because they are 3D and require some hand-eye co ordination.

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Image from pixabay.com

Real eggs can be decorated with felt pens or paints. I recommend poster paints mixed with PVA glue for those bright, shiny colours that look fab. Again, some co ordination is needed to manage this activity. Best to cook a few spares as there are bound to be breakages!

When you’re decorating eggs, you can encourage your child to think about pattern by asking them to think about what might come next, for example if you’re painting spots: red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow, red… You can also introduce them to the fun language of shapes and patterns, such as zig-zag, or criss-cross!

 

 

What do you have planned this Easter weekend? Pop me a comment below or tweet to me @EarlyYearsIdeas to let me know!

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Third Trimester – Hooray!

Oh my goodness, how can it be? I’m onto the home straight! The last time I posted I was a mere 16 weeks and now at almost 28 weeks everything is starting to feel very real.

There have been a few developments since I last posted. Firstly, at the 20 week anomaly scan we were delighted to discover that bubba is growing perfectly and there are no signs of problems. We also decided to find out what we are having (I couldn’t resist) and it turns out that baby is a girl ❤

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At 21 weeks (Christmas eve,eve), I had a bit of a nightmare. I got up as usual and went to the bathroom to find… blood! Well as you can imagine, I was terrified that something terrible had happened and we rushed down to the hospital. After a short wait (it’s a bit like A & E where you get seen as and when) I was taken into a side room with a bed, a bathroom, and lots of intimidating equipment. I really have no experience with hospitals, so along with the worry of what was going on with my baby, I was pretty anxious about being in that environment. Luckily, the midwife that came to see me was really lovely. She asked me what had happened and took a urine sample. Then she listened in to baby’s heartbeat and all seemed fine. Finally (I knew it was coming) she told me that she’d need to examine me. Queue the undignified pose with that pathetic bit of paper which does nothing to cover anything! Oh and the spotlight!

The good news was that there was no obvious signs of anything wrong, and they took a swab for further tests, and let me away. Apparently sometimes these things just happen!

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At 25 weeks I had another panic. On the previous days I had felt a lot of movement from my little one (I love it so much), and then I had a day where I hardly felt her at all. It’s not that I hadn’t felt ANY movement, more that I had only felt her once or twice, and the movements that I had felt were weak in comparison to the big kicks I’d been getting before. I tried all of the usual tricks – drinking cold water, having a sugary snack, laying on my left side in a quiet room and focusing… nothing seemed to be doing the trick. In the end I dragged the husband back to triage again. I spoke to yet another absolutely lovely midwife who reassured me and checked baby’s heartbeat. Everything appeared to be fine, thank goodness. It’s possible the baby had moved and so I couldn’t feel her kicking as much.

There’s a fabulous charity called ‘Kicks Count‘ which provide advice to expectant mothers. I have downloaded their app which I use to keep track of how often I have felt baby move during the day and it helps to reassure me. Kicks Count advise people to ALWAYS get checked if they feel like there has been a reduction in movements, and I must say that the staff at the hospital appear to share the same opinion – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If I were to give any advice to a pregnant lady, I would say that if you are worried at all, never hesitate to call your midwife or the staff at maternity assessment.

 

Well I think that’s enough of a ramble for one post! I wish I was closer to being ready for baby to arrive, but I am getting there slowly and surely. I will post again soon (as long as I don’t drown in this mountain of university deadlines!)

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Advent Activities (24th December)

We made it!! Today is Christmas Eve! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.

Our last activity is to:

Track Santa!

There are (at least) 2 wonderful websites that allow you to follow Santa on his journey around the world:

Google Santa Tracker

NORAD Santa Tracker

Have a look at where he has been, and where he’s heading to now!

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Image from pixabay.com

All that’s left is for me to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has had a look at my Advent activities. I wish you the most wonderful Christmas and New Year, and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2018.

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Previous Doors:

 

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring

Day 20: Sensory Bottles

Day 21: Singing

Day 22: Design a Christmas Tree

Day 23: Feely Game

Advent Activities (23rd December)

We made it to the weekend! And what’s even more exciting is that it’s Christmas Eve Eve! Today’s activity is all about description, so using loads of wonderful language.

Feely stocking game

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Image from pixabay.com

This game is really simple! All you need to do is find some items or toys that have an interesting feel. These can be anything: a spoon, a candy cane, a toy car…

Pop one item into a stocking (in secret) and allow the child to reach inside and feel it. They mustn’t take it out or peek!! Encourage them to talk about what they can feel – is it hard or soft? Is it bumpy or smooth? Is it round or flat?

At the end of the game the child needs to have a guess as to what the item is, and then they can take it out and see if they were right!

Then you simply put a new item into the stocking and let the next child (or the same one if you’re playing with just one) have a feel!

 

Have fun!!

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Image from pixabay.com

Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring

Day 20: Sensory Bottles

Day 21: Singing

Day 22: Design a Christmas Tree

Advent Activities (22nd December)

For many of us, this is the last working day before the Christmas holidays! I hope you’re having a great one! Here’s today’s fun activity:

Design a Christmas Tree

What you’ll need:

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    Image from pixabay.com

    A Christmas tree template printed on A4 paper (There are loads of these on google, or you can click to download my super simple Tree template )

  • Pompoms/ sequins/ any other little decorative items you may have

What to do:

Basically, let this activity is about allowing the children to explore patterns by arranging the items on the tree. They can look at different colours and shapes – all important numeracy skills. The wonderful thing about this activity is that it isn’t permanent so children can create a design, clear it off, and start again!

 

Have a brilliant Friday and Christmas weekend!

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Image from pixabay.com

Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring

Day 20: Sensory Bottles

Day 21: Singing

Advent Activities (21st December)

We’re into the 20’s now – not many doors left on our Advent calendar!!

Today let’s get into the festive spirit by

Singing Christmas Songs

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Image from pixabay.com

Singing is a lovely activity and has loads of benefits such as reducing stress and improving circulation! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to break out the sleigh bells, or any other instruments while you’re singing!

Here are some of my favourite Christmas songs for children (with YouTube links in case you don’t know the tune):

Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer

Jingle Bells

We wish you a Merry Christmas

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

Twinkle twinkle Christmas star

Away in a manger

 

I’ll bet you can think of plenty more! So warm up your voice and get singing! Bonus points if you can sing for someone else – bring a little joy to a friend or family member.

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Image from pixabay.com

Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring

Day 20: Sensory Bottles

 

 

 

Advent Activities (20th December)

Make some Christmas Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles are great for younger children. You might have seen them before – filled with all sorts of interesting things such as buttons, beads, water & glitter, rice…

So today’s idea is to make some sensory bottles on a Christmas theme!

What you’ll need:

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    Image from pixabay.com

    Plastic bottles (with lids) – these can be individual pop bottles, or the larger 2 litre ones… really whatever you have to hand!
  • Miscellaneous Christmassy items (ideas below)
  • Water
  • Glitter/ sequins/ food colouring
  • Strong glue & sticky tape

Christmassy item ideas:

  • Tinsel
  • Sprigs off the Christmas tree
  • Jingle bells
  • Decorative beads (the type you can pop on the tree)
  • Pieces of candy cane
  • Fake snow

What to do:

First, soak your bottles to remove any ugly labels! You want to be able to see inside.

Next, pop some christmassy items into a bottle. You can either mix lots of different items together in one bottle, or make individual bottles with different individual items (for example: one with tinsel in it, one with jingle bells, and one with fake snow etc).

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Image from pixabay.com

Now you could finish here. Pop the lid back on (securely) and use glue and/or tape to fix it in place. OR, if you wish, you can fill the bottle with water, so that the items inside float around. Try adding a few drops of food colouring to the water or popping in some glitter as well. Alternatively, you could make a bottle with only water and sequins inside. Just be very careful to seal up your bottles tight – you don’t want leaks!

Additional warning – with home made sensory bottles, I find that extra supervision may be required, just in-case the children do manage to open the bottle and try to drink the contents!

 

I hope you enjoy this super simple DIY activity! Please pop back tomorrow for another Activity!

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Image from pixabay.com

Previous Doors:

 

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring