Don’t let grey days and freezing temperatures stop your kids moving and shaking. Use these ideas from our Play Academy link ups for action games to have fun and keep your kids fit and active all winter long.
I loved Jeanne’s comment saying the title of yesterday’s post sounded like a recipe, so continuing with that idea we today we have ‘take one child, add a dash of ribbons and swirl together with music.’
Children always have the best play ideas, don’t they? These pictures show B enjoying dancing with the streamers she made after discovering a forgotten bag of ribbons. She simply tied a one to the end of a stick and was ready to go. Both my girls love dancing but I’ve resisted sending them to an organised dance class for now, instead letting them explore their own dance style.
Create your own dance studio [Read more…]
Five fabulous ideas for a feet theme.
1. Set up a shoe shop: gather together as many different types of shoes as you can: lace-ups, high heels, flippers, wellies, ballet shoes, walking boots, football boots, slippers. Talk about when you would wear all these different types of footwear – what’s special about them? Add in some imaginary play and have some of the children be the shop assistants and some be the customers. Add in some maths by measuring everyones feet and graphing the results.
2. Explore movement and see what your feet can do: Play musical statues but have the children try out a different movement each time the music re-starts. Can they walk, hop, skip, run, go backwards, walk on tip toes? Try some other challenges such as seeing if they can pick blocks up with their feet and load them into a bucket. Or hold a crayon between their toes and do some drawing.
3. Discover animals’ feet: use toy animals or print off some pictures and investigate their feet. Talk about paws, hooves, webbed feet, claws and talons. Add some classification practise by sorting the animals into those with no feet, two feet, four feet, lots of feet. How do the animals’ feet suit how they live? Which animals can walk on the ceiling?
4. Make some footprints: for a great collaborative work of art tape big rolls of paper to the floor and then play some music. Have the children step in some paint and then dance their way over the canvas.
5. Read all about feet: with this fabulous selection of stories suggested by NurtureStore’s Facebook and Twitter friends. (Come and join us on Facebook and Twitter for lots more resources and idea swaps)
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We love parachute games! They are great for some large scale play with a group of children and are wonderful for promoting team work and listening skills, as everyone needs to work together to follow instructions and listen to cues to make the games work. You can play parachute games inside or out, with a play parachute or a big piece of fabric or a bedsheet. You don’t even need a whole class of children – I’ve played this happily as a pair with a toddler who loved bouncing their teddy on the sheet.
Parachute play ideas to try:
- Follow the leader: Have someone be the leader and give the rest of the group instructions – and of course the leader can be one of the children rather than the grown-up! Try giving instructions to walk to the left, skip to the right, hold up high, couch down low, shake the parachute gently, shake the parachute quickly.
- Add some bounce. You can add a seasonal element or fit parachute play to a theme by adding some props on to the top to bounce around while you play. Cotton wool balls make great snow, and we use fir cones in the autumn. We find teddies love a ride and balloons add a dash of chaotic fun!
- As well as having the children work together around the edge of the parachute, have them listen out for instructions that apply just to themselves. Have everyone lift the parachute way up high and then give instructions for children to run underneath the parachute if they are wearing something green, if they have brown hair, if they like eating bananas and so on.
- You can also pick someone to sit in the centre of the circle and wrap them up like a birthday present, or spin them like a washing machine. Remind the children to keep the parachute low to the ground when you do this, so the person in the centre doesn’t have their head covered. It’s very funny for the children to have one of the grown-ups sit in the centre to be wrapped up (believe me, I’ve tried it!)
- Sherry and Donna from Irresistible Ideas have some great photos of their children enjoying parachute play with music and show how working together means you can even make your bouncing teddy hit the roof!
We’re always looking for new inspiration – what ideas for parachute play have you tried?
(Thanks for our Facebook friend Lily Vanilli for the washing machine idea.)
What? Repeating patterns are everywhere: in fabric designs, buildings in your neighbourhood, in the songs that you sing. Any sequence of colours, shapes, actions that repeact twice or more become a repeating pattern.
Why? So what have repeating patterns got to do with your children’s play? Well, by looking out for patterns and including them in your play you’re giving your child the opportunity to develop important mathematical thinking. Many maths concepts are based on patterns, such as addition, times tables and geometry.
How? Children often make their own patterns as they play with bottle tops or building blocks but here are some ideas you can use to let your child explore repeating patterns:
- Start off a pattern and see if they can follow. You can use anything: blocks, bottle tops, stickers, fridge magnets.
- If your children love patterns you can they might enjoy these games just for the satisfaction of making a pattern. You can also sneak them into other creative play too: while we were making some furniture for our dolls house we used some coloured star stickers to decorate the rug we made for the dolls’ sitting room – with a repeating pattern design of course.
- You don’t have to just use colour to form the pattern – try different shapes, number groups or sizes.
- Try clapping patterns, going slow, slow, fast, fast, fast – and seeing if you can copy each others rythmn.
- Make yourself some mathematical jewellry, by threading a repeating pattern of beads or coloured pasta tubes onto a string.
- Do a full body workout, making repeating patterns of jumping, skipping, clapping and hopping.
- Go on a pattern hunt when you’re out and about – you might be surprised at just how many repeating patterns are out there and how good your child is at spotting them.
Pre-school maths isn’t just about counting – why not try one of these pattern ideas today?
Add some Fizz, Pop, Bang to your learning!
Take a look at our resources for creative science and math activities.
Things to keep in your nappy bag to keep children occupied while waiting for an appointment: what do you always carry with you? Small books, paper and pencils, pot of bubble stuff? How about a dice*? Here’s a couple of suggestions for simple dice games to play whenever you need to keep the kids entertained for 10 minutes.
One of you picks a category: fruit, vegetables, things that are yellow, things that start with ‘a’, things that are triangular – whatever you like! The other person rolls the dice and whatever number they land on they have to name that number of things in the category. Good to play with 5s and under as they can usually manage to think of up to 6 things, so you’re not hanging around waiting for them to think of the last one. Playing quite quickly with lots of different categories keeps them busier. For older children you might like to make the categories harder: places that start with ‘s’, planets, foods that grown underground, people who work in a hospital?
If you’re waiting outside, or somewhere with a bit of space, you can play a physical version of Gimme 6. Categories can include star jumps, touches of your toes, laps to the nearest lamppost, hops, forward rolls.
*OK, I know the singular of dice is die, but do you every say ‘die’? When I say it to B’s friends they don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’m bowing to what seems to be the norm nowadays are going with ‘a dice’. Happy to be corrected – what do you say?