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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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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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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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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    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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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

Advent Activities (15th December)

It’s Friiiiiday!! We made it to the end of another week! Have you been following my advent activities? If so, I hope you’ve come across a few ideas you like. Today we’re getting crafty while we:

Make some paper snowflakes

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Image from pixabay.com

These paper decorations are wonderful for developing those fine motor skills, co-ordination, concentration, shape skills, and creativity. And of course, you can link it with your learning about the weather, the seasons, symmetry, and the science of the states of water! But mostly, it is wonderful fun!

What you’ll need:

White paper

Something circular to draw around (a small plate will do)

A pencil

Scissors

OPTIONAL: Glue, Glitter, Sequins etc

 

What to do:

Draw around your circular object (plate?) and cut out so that you have a circle of white paper.

Fold in half, half again, and half again (it should look like a slice of pizza).

Snip into the edges – triangle snips work the best, but you can experiment with all kinds of shapes. Your child might need a little help with snipping – especially if your paper is slightly thicker.

When you’ve made all of the cuts you like, unfold the snowflake and marvel at the wonderful designs!

OPTIONAL: Spread a little glue over your snowflake and sprinkle with glitter, or add sequins.

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Image from pixabay.com

No 2 snowflakes are the same, so enjoy experimenting with all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes and designs. Once they’re finished (and dried if you were using glue), why not hang them up so that they look like real snowflakes falling?

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Previous Doors:

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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

 

Advent Activities (13th December)

Wednesday is #EYshare day! If you’re a twitter user, I hope you’ll pop along this evening at 8pm to join us for a friendly chat before we finish for Christmas.

And on that note – on to today’s Advent Activity:

Make some festive fun Playdough

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Image from pixabay.com

Playdough is wonderful fun. It allows children to be creative, making and modelling whatever their heart desires. It’s also fabulous for developing those fine motor skills that are so important for developing pencil grasp and those other really important abilities.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • splash of oil
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • food colourings (I suggest red and green as these are very Christmassy colours)
  • Peppermint essence OR Christmas spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon…)
  • OPTIONAL: glitter
  • OPTIONAL: sequins
  • Playdough tools – cutters, rolling pins etc

What to do:

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    Mix together your flour and salt, and add your splash of oil

  2. Slowly add in your warm water as needed until the dough starts to come together
  3. Mix in your food colouring. If you want to make various doughs in different colours, just split the dough up into smaller balls and add the desired colour to each one.
  4. Mix in your seasonal smells.
  5. Keep kneeding until the dough feels fairly smooth, and it clings together but is not too sticky. You may need to add more water if it is crumbly, or more flour if it is sticky.
  6. OPTIONAL: sprinkle glitter all over the dough for added sparkle

 

This is a recipe that I have used before as it’s really simple and uses the least amount of ingredients – but I will admit now that I am not the best at making playdough! If you wish – there are tonnes of wonderful recipes online so feel free to take a look!

 

The sequins are fabulous for pressing into the dough (more fine motor and co-ordination skills here). If you roll your dough into a ball and then press your sequins into it, it can look like a festive bauble!

What else can you make? Send me your ideas or pictures on twitter @EarlyYearsIdeas!

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Previous Doors:

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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

Advent Activities (12th December)

Yesterday completely got away from me! I had an assessment in the morning (Which did not go to plan), Christmas choir rehearsal in the afternoon, and then the in-laws over for dinner before heading out to take some really giggly pregnancy photos!

In amongst all of that – I completely forgot to post my advent activity for the day!! So here it is (better late than never right?)

Go for a wintery walk

As anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows, I love a good walk! And this time of year is fabulous for going out and noticing all of the changes that are happening in the environment. Remember to wrap up warm, and pop on those welly boots!

Here’s a few ideas for walking:

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    Look for any frozen over puddles OR splash in the non-frozen puddles

  2. Go on a scavenger hunt. Before you head out, make up a little list of things to find. These can be items that you could collect (pine cones, sticks, a shiny stone…), or just sights to spot (5 Christmas trees, a picture of Santa, a Christmas wreath…).
  3. Go for a torch walk in the dark! I wouldn’t recommend this with a large group of children – because you’ll need to keep an extra close eye on them. High-vis vests are also a good idea in the dark.
  4. Make footprints in the snow! That is – if you’re lucky enough to have some. I am so jealous of everyone who has been sharing pictures of the white fluffy stuff.

 

Remember, walking is great exercise, and it’s really important for children to get fresh air, even if the weather is not ‘nice’.

Have a great day!

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Previous Doors:

advent-calendar-1780949_960_720Day 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

Advent Activities (11th December)

2017-12-10 17.37.10Happy Monday! As I mentioned – yesterday I put up my Christmas tree! It’s a special one because this is the last Christmas that the husband and I will be spending as a couple (before baby comes along!), so in celebration, he actually relented and allowed me to get a real tree!

 

 

Moving on – it’s time to open Door 11 on our advent calendar! And today’s activity is:

Feeding the Birds

This is a great time to attract some birds to your garden, as they’re having more trouble finding food and will be glad of a little help from you and your children.

Here are a couple of super easy bird feeders you can make

Cereal hangers

What you’ll need:

  • Cereal that’s in the shape of loops (for example Cheerios)
  • Pipe cleaners

What to do:

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1.Thread the cereal onto a pipe cleaner until it is mostly covered. Remember the leave enough at the top to create a loop for hanging. Do this as many times as you like to make as many feeders as you like.

Bonus: Threading is great for fine-motor skills and co-ordination. You can also link in some pattern work if you have a cereal with different colours.

2.Hang your pipe cleaners in the trees!

 

Bread Hangers

What you’ll need:

  • Some stale sliced bread
  • OPTIONAL: Cookie cutter(s)
  • Some bird-seed
  • Butter (and a knife for spreading)
  • A pencil
  • Some string/ ribbon

What to do:

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    Take a slice of stale bread and spread the butter all over. Spread it fairly thick as this is what will help the seeds to stick.

  2. OPTIONAL: Use your cookie cutter to make the slice of bread into an interesting shape.
  3. Press your bird seed into the bread and butter until the whole slice is covered.
  4. Use your pencil to make a small hole, and thread the string or ribbon through for hanging.
  5. Hang your bread feeder out for the birds!

 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your feeders to see if you can spot any birds. And check back here tomorrow for another Advent activity!

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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