Saturday, 18 October 2014

Rainy Day Play Dough

Create an activity to keep your children occupied and invoke a whole range of learning opportunities on a rainy day with this play dough activity.

While the rain was coming down out side last week I put together some air drying play dough but you could use my simple 1 minute play dough recipe and  then placed it out for the children suggesting we make our own pretty puddles. 

The boys started by mixing the colours and using textured rolling pins. We discussed the shape and size of puddles and looked out the window to see if we could spot any in the garden. We looked at the different marks they were able to make in the play dough using the rolling pins. 

The children had fun making different rain sculptures using the glass beads and pipe cleaners which added a different dimension to their play. They worked on sharing the play dough, tools and resources we put out for them.

Early Years Outcomes:
PD-Moving and Handling(8 Months - 20 Months) - Enjoys the sensory experience of making marks in damp sand, paste or paint.
PD-Moving and Handling(16 Months - 26 Months) - Makes connections between their movement and the marks they make.
PD-Moving and Handling(22 Months - 36 Months) - Shows control in holding and using jugs to pour, hammers, books and mark-making tools.
PD-Moving and Handling(40 Months - 60 Months) - Uses simple tools to effect changes to materials.
PD-Moving and Handling(40 Months - 60 Months) - Handles tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control.
EAD-Exploring and using media and materials(8 Months - 20 Months) - Notices and is interested in the effects of making movements which leave marks.
EAD-Exploring and using media and materials(30 Months - 50 Months) - Beginning to be interested in and describe the texture of things.
EAD-Exploring and using media and materials(40 Months - 60 Months) - Manipulates materials to achieve a planned effect.
EAD-Exploring and using media and materials(40 Months - 60 Months) - Uses simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Full time mums – how to cope with your niggles

In the office you’re able to share your niggles, but if you’re a full time mum, with a couple of adventurous kids, you don’t always have that option. Children are wonderful, but they can cause irritations on a daily basis.

From minor irritants to major incidents

So often it really is the very little things in life that can cause you the most grief. For example, you’ve switched on the radio only to hear a working professional talking about how wonderful and peaceful it must be to stay at home and look after your kids on a full time basis. Really?

When you discover that the speaker doesn’t have children your niggle factor will intensify. If they had been in your house and heard your three-year-old showing off his drumming skills at 6.00am in the morning then peace is the last word they’d be using!

Another major niggle is other people staring at you in the supermarket when your 5 year old wants to show off his sculpture skills with the pasta. Tolerance rather than disdain is the required emotion in this instance. Every day niggles can drive you to distraction – as this video shows:

A solution to a major niggles  

Another major niggle is the design of women’s bras. Most underwired models can become horribly uncomfortable. Of course, it’s usually when you are trying to discreetly alter your bra in public that your child will say at the top of his voice, ‘Mummy, why are you dancing?’
If you take a look at the new Magic bra from Triumph you can at least abolish one of life’s constant niggles. The underwire has been replaced with silicone; leading to a more comfortable fit, and a sleek silhouette. Fittings go right up to an F cup, so you’ll be relieved that you can look always look shapely and feel comfortable.

A sharing niggle platform can help

In recognition of life’s minor trials and tribulations, Triumph, in conjunction with the Huffington Post has launched a sharing platform where you can post your niggles, and offer some solutions. Bra solutions are one thing but noisy and mischievous children are quite another! Go online and follow #nigglefix and see what other women are talking about. If you’re a Facebook fan, click here, and find answers to many current niggles – at least you’ll have others to share your gripes with when life’s irritants become too much!

This is a guest post provided by Triumph

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Product Review: Investigation Station, Light Box Review

Play and exploration can both be accommodated with this intriguing light station - whether children want to observe colour, the effect of light, or symmetry and reflection this resource is sure to illuminate their thinking. This versatile light box incorporates storage and can be used as a room divider. Featuring a mirrored back panel with display surface on the reverse. The unit is supplied with 3 clear tubs but wicker baskets are available separately.

Our setting Little Explorers recently started to adapt to incorporate some of the features used in the Reggio Emila approach found around the world.  We did this by:
  • Making the indoors and outside a more free flowing environment with large open spaces.  
  • We looked at adding child safe mirrors around the room to allow more light and allow the children to watch their own investigations take place.
  • We also adapted our teaching technique standing back and allowing the children to learn more through their own exploration and even mistakes.

Investing in the Investigation Station was quite a big and exciting choice for us at Little Explorers. The piece of furniture is a key feature to the main room and would be used daily with invitations set up to meet the children’s interests. The boxes would house resources which the children could try to use on the light, both natural material and transparent resources.
The light table has been in use now for several months and the children use it on a daily basis in one way or another. Our day time children are currently aged between 15 mths to 2 year 8 months and they love to watch themselves work in the mirror.  We have not been setting the table up every day though as the children are used to using it now and help themselves to the resources and simply ask us to switch it on.

Here are some images of the activities we have done while using the light table.

We have now started to make our own resources for the light table using cellophane to fit in with our topics and these will soon be available on the blog.

The light table has become a much loved resource in my home setting. The table is made out of wonderful quality wood and the light is at just the right level for the children to use without it glaring into their eye’s. The mirror is made for safety glass but can be scratched quite easily however that’s safety mirrors for you. I plan to cover this with another safety mirror in a year or so. The storage underneath is great for easy access to the toys and instead of having baskets in the upper section I line up my bottles there.

Light tables  are available from Designs For Education from £450.00 (

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