Advent Activities (19th December)

Today’s activity is one that is very popular with both children and adults!

Christmas Colouring Pages

Colouring can be a brilliant activity for relaxation and even mindfulness. It can also help children to develop their fine motor and co-ordination, as well as their understanding of colour, shape, and pattern.

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Image from pixabay.com

Seasonal colouring pages can be found online. Check out Pinterest for loads of printable options. You can also buy fairly cheap colouring books from many shops and supermarkets.

I recommend getting yourself a good selection of felt-pens, colouring pencils, and/or crayons so that the children can really experiment and get creative with their colouring creations. Why not sit with them and do some colouring of your own? It’s a great excuse to spend some quality, quiet time.

When the pictures are finished, you could use them to make gift tags for presents, or even custom made Christmas cards! But you don’t have to. The beauty of colouring is that it is so simple.

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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

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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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Image from pixabay.com

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 (8th December)

It’s Friday! The weekend is almost here! What will you be doing? Well here’s one idea:

Make and send some home-made Christmas Cards

There are so many lovely ideas for making your own Christmas cards. Here are 2 really simple and completely lovely ones:

1.Hand Print Angels

What you’ll need:

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Image from pixabay.com

Coloured card

White paint

A paint brush

Glue (PVA or glue-stick)

Cream// yellow/ shiny paper (cut into a triangle)

A circle of skin coloured/ white paper

Glitter – gold or silver (if desired)

Pens/ pencils

Method:

  1. Fold your card in half to make a Christmas card shape.
  2. Paint both of your child’s hands using the white paint, and press them down onto the card – thumbs together and facing upwards. It should look like 2 Angel wings.
  3. Sprinkle a little glitter over the wet paint if you fancy a bit of extra sparkle.
  4. Stick the triangle into the middle of the handprints, with the point at the top. This is to be the Angel’s dress.
  5. Allow your child to draw a face onto the circle of paper, before sticking it at the top of the triangle.
  6. Once the paint and glue are dried, write inside your card!

 

2.Potato print baubles

What you will need:

Coloured card

A variety of differently sized potatoes

A sharp knife (obviously only to be used by an adult)

Some brightly coloured poster paints

A paint brush

Glitter (if desired)

Black felt tip

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Image from pixabay.com

Method:

  1. Fold your card in half to create a Christmas card shape.
  2. Cut your potatoes in half – leaving a flat, round(ish) surface for printing.
  3. OPTIONAL: carve out some details onto the flat side of the potato – stripes/spots/etc
  4. Spread some of the paint onto the flat side of the potato, and press it down onto the card.
  5. When you lift off the potato you should see the print left on the card. Sprinkle a little glitter over the wet paint if you’d like to add some sparkle!
  6. Continue with this method until you have as many bauble shapes as you’d like on your card.
  7. Experiment with adding paints of different colours onto the same potato for interesting patterns and designs.
  8. Use your black felt tip to draw a small square at the top of the bauble shape and the loop for hanging.
  9. Once the paint is completely dried, write inside your card.

 

I’m sure friends and family will love these home-made designs! Enjoy!

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Previous Doors:

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Image from pixabay.com

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

Advent Activities (6th December)

Halfway through the first full week in December! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (my final assessment for the year is on Tuesday).

Looking for something to try today? Pop on your favourite Christmas tunes and get creative with some:

Seasonal Scented Pictures

Very simply, this involves ‘painting’ with spices. When I last did this activity, I cut out some gingerbread-man shapes out of paper, but you don’t need to do that as any piece of paper will do! Alternately, any Christmas shape will do!

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Image from pixabay.com

To create your ‘paints’ just mix whatever spice you fancy, with some slightly watered down PVA glue. My spice suggestions include: ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, and cinnamon, but you can use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your cupboards!)

 

 

I also usually allow my children to sniff the spice jar, so that they can tell me if they like it or not. It’s also a great opportunity for some lovely language.

Mix a good helping of the spice into the glue mixture, and start painting! The added bonus is that this special paint has a really interesting grainy texture.

 

If you do try out any of my ideas – or have any wonderful ideas of your own that you’d like to share – please tweet to me @EarlyYearsIdeas

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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: Letters to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

 

Advent Activities (2nd December)

Here’s the 2nd in my series of ideas for holiday fun:

Santa’s Reindeer Cam

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Image from pixabay.com

 

This is a live feed showing the reindeer in their pen. There are also regular visits from Santa, who feeds the deer and also reads out his ‘nice list’.

There will be show times, but these are yet to be announced (also, be aware that this is an American website!) If you can’t catch the live ‘shows’ – take a look in the videos section to catch up.

It is possible to get your children’s names on the nice list, but only if you’re willing to pay the $2 donation!

Click HERE for the link to the reindeer cam

Extensions:

  • Why not draw some pictures of the reindeer? Or paint a picture? Or make one out of playdough??
  • Have a discussion – what does it mean to be ‘nice’? Can you talk about a time that you were nice, or that someone was nice to you?
  • Decide on something nice you can do this Christmas time.
  • Find out some more about reindeer. THIS website has lots of information (take a look at the downloadable booklets).

 

I hope I’ve given you a couple of ideas and I’m sure you’ll come up with loads more of your own. Come back tomorrow for Advent activity number 3!

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Image from pixabay.com

 

Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

 

 

Easy Rainy Day Artwork

Summer is beginning! You know what that means right… rain! Well that has certainly been the case around here recently. But we wont let the rain dampen our spirits. Here is a really quick and easy way to make some rain drop artwork:

 

What you need:

  • Sugar paper (as big or small as you like, but preferably a light colour)
  • Felt tip pens/ crayons/ chalks in a variety of colours and sizes (thick/ thin)
  • Rain

What to do:

1. Hold your piece of sugar paper outside in the rain for a short time, until it is covered in rain spots.

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2. Use those multi-coloured felt-tips or whatever you have chosen to draw around the spots. This can really be done however the children like, they could draw around each dot just once, or many times, making the circles bigger each time. They could create a pattern of colours, or just be totally random.

There is also a nice link to be made here with grouping. You could ask the children to circle the dots in groups of 2’s, 3’s etc!

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OK, I’m not going to lie – this isn’t the best version of what this wonderfully creative activity can produce. That’s because it’s my own example (and I have a serious lack of fun pens) but you get the idea.

 

What other pieces of art can we use the weather to create? Comment below or tweet to me @EarlyYearsIdeas – I’d love to hear from you!

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5…4…3…2…1…Blast Off!

Following the absolutely amazing experiences of the British astronaut; Tim Peak (if you haven’t watched the video of his space walk yet, check it out here), my fascination with space and our solar system has been renewed!

If I’m feeling this way, I’m willing to bet that others are feeling the same, therefore this is a brilliant opportunity to do some space themed learning with our children!

The curriculum for excellence includes a line of discovery which is directly related to space:

I have experienced the wonder of looking at the vastness of the sky, and can recognise the sun, moon and stars and link them to daily patterns of life. SCN 0-06a

That being said, as always, the experiences and activities which you offer to your children will cross into many of the curricular areas. Below are some of the ideas which I’ve come up with and how they may link to the curriculum:

Language & Literacy

  • Make a ‘Word Wall’ display with the fantastic new language that you’ll be using, for example “rocket”, “planet”, “moon”…
  • Stock up your story corner with Space books – both information and story

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    Image from morguefile.com

  • Make up stories together about the man in the moon, astronauts or friendly aliens.
  • Decorate paper plates to look like the different planets and add their names. Display these around the room.
  • Add glitter/ coloured sand to your light box (and let the children know that it’s moon dust), then allow the children to mark make. Perhaps add ‘astronaut gloves’ for an extra challenge.
  • Singling space songs (this also links in with expressive arts):
    • Twinkle twinkle little star
    • Mr moon, Mr moon, you’re out too soon
    • 5 little men in a flying saucer

Numeracy

  • Countdown (5,4,3,2,1, blast off!)
  • Building up rocket pictures using shapes and colours (for example; can you make a rocket shape out of 3 squares, 2 semi circles and a triangle?)
  • Comparing sizes, and using mathematical language – Jupiter is the biggest planet, the Earth is smaller.

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    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA from morguefile.com

  • Add a sundial to your garden or outdoor area and observe with the children how the shadow moves. You may want to use chalk to draw around the shadow at different times so that the children can clearly see the movement. Link these observations with the idea of time. Perhaps take photos of the different shadows and display them around your clock.
  • Connect the stars (like connect the dots) to make simple constellations – you can do this on paper with a pencil, or can bring in some fine motor skills by having the children thread wool through card, making a small hole at the point of each star so that the constellation becomes clear.

Expressive Arts

  • Work together to create a fabulous cardboard space rocket or turn your role play area into mission control! Don’t forget to add space suits, helmets and space boots. There are loads of wonderful role play ideas on pinterest – I would encourage you to take a look! Simply search ‘Space role play.’
  • Bored of paper? Paint space scenes onto tin foil for an interesting effect.
  • Planet stamping (use sponge stampers or potato halves to stamp colourful circles onto black paper – add glitter/ sequins for a shimmery space result.)

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    Image from morguefile.com

  • Build your own junk model rockets. As well as being creative, this activity also involves children thinking about which materials they are going to use (“should I use the square box or the cylinder tube?”) and problem solving (“how can I get this tube to stick on?”)
  • Make some papier mache planets for the added bonus of sticky, sensory fun.
  • Get dancing with some music and movement (why not have the children pretend to be rockets blasting off, or experiment with taking great big ‘moon steps’)
  • Listen to some space themed music (why not try Holst’s Planets or Bowie’s Space Oddity)
  • Try using musical instruments to imitate Sounds of a rocket (experiment with playing them loud/quiet/fast/slow)

Science

  • Build your own vinegar and baking soda rocket! Tutorial here
  • Explore light and darkness with torches and lights in a Dark den
  • Go out and look at the stars. If you have a real telescope then fantastic! If not, make some pretend ones with cardboard tubes – you can still go star gazing on a clear night!

Technology

  • There are many wonderful websites which can be used for finding information and also for games and activities. Take a look at:
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    Image from morguefile.com

    Let the children see the ISS live feed

  • Watch videos of rocket launches, space walks and life in space. YouTube is a wonderful resource for this, but please always check the videos before you show your children and ensure that the ‘related videos’ bar is not showing anything inappropriate!
  • Use the bee-bot or other programmable toys to learn about the space rover and remote control robots in space.

 

 

Blog Hopping

While writing this post, I also came across some other wonderful ideas which I would like to share!

Galaxy Oobleck from Twodaloo

Loads of space themed ideas here from Fun in Pre K-1 and Kinder (I particularly like the sounds of the ‘squishy sun’)

Moon Maths from Stir the Wonder

A lovely, visual activity to introduce children to the concept of planets orbiting the sun here from Gift of Curiosity.

 

I hope that I’ve given you a few ideas to inspire you when broaching this wonderful topic with your children! If you have any further ideas that you’d like to share, please comment, or tweet to me at @EarlyYearsIdeas. I’d love to hear from you!

Have a brilliant week everyone! Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday at 8pm for our weekly #childcarehour chat.

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