Wednesday, 14 May 2014

More of Baby 'M's Moving!!

Since my last post about Baby 'M's movement here she has made some fantastic progress!!!

I find it fascinating the change in attitude babies have, as soon as they realise they are beginning to move the sheer determination to get themselves around is incredible and so developments are fast!!

Here are my most recent observation of 'M'

29-04-14 'M's crawling is coming along. She can now manage about 4 paces before she falls to the floor. Then will then commando crawl, wriggle, sit up and shuffle to get herself about! However the most impressive thing today was she managed to pull herself up!! Just for a moment before bumping back to the floor.

06-05-14 'M' is crawling!! She is still a bit wobbly at times; we have had a couple of bumps today as she stumbled. Her bum sometimes drops down towards the floor, (almost a Yoga move!) she has a little rest then is up and off again. Occasionally she changes to more of a crab crawl; using the foot of one leg, and the knee of the other leg but it gets her around great!! She has been continuing to attempt pulling herself up on furniture, not always successfully but the interest is there!

07-05-14 'M' attempted climbing up some steps today! It took a couple of attempts but she got up there. I did have to catch her as she went to sit up and would have toppled straight back off the step!

13-05-14 'M' is puling herself up everywhere! Using furniture or me! She is not able to stay standing for long, bumping back down to the ground. Her crawling is getting faster too, often choosing the use the more crab like crawling technique rather than on her hands and knees

All this development in such a short space of time, well done little 'M'!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'M' has shown much determination and perseverance in her developing movement. She has kept on trying after receiving little bumps and bruises or even getting stuck, determined to keep going to get what she wants! How she is choosing to crawl in a more 'crab like' fashion is not the most common approach but she has decided it works for her.

Next Steps
- Offer toys on a variety of levels encouraging 'M' to pull herself up and reach.
- Strategically place objects around the home to encourage a bit of cruising!
- Hold 'M's hands to 'walk' her along. Help to build more leg muscle for those first steps.
- Encourage her to climb up small steps and explore different levels
- Visit a soft play center where 'M' can climb and explore with freedom but with less risk of injury

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Busy Bank Holiday's!!

I am on a bit of a mission at the moment to get my garden sorted!! Having moved house a few times over the last few years I haven't felt like I have really had much chance to really stake a claim to any garden we have had. So I am changing all that this year!!

And when you get really determined it's amazing what can happen!

Starting at the right side, we did have a metal (quite unattractive) run for the bunny when he came outside. It was a few years old and was beginning to warp out of shape and just a bit of a pain really. So with the help from my lovely Sister in Law we picked up this new cage! It has been around the block a few times, in fact we had Popcorn in it a year or so ago, then it went to my Mother in Law for her Guinea Pigs, but before all that my Sister in Law (Pip) had it for Chickens!!! It's been shared around and much loved!

So it's back with us now for Popcorn, it's not a massive space but it is plenty big enough for him during the day. He actually sleeps inside anyway so it's just for fresh air during the day! Once the children go home he will come out and have a run around the garden freely so it's more to keep him from being trodden on than to really keep him contained!!

Then the more important bit; whatever you want to call it, mud pie kitchen, outdoor kitchen, whatever; my new defined messy/creative play area!!! I'm so in love with it already, even though it's not quite done yet.

 My amazing amazing wife made this wooden kitchen unit, made up from old pallets (donated by one of my families). I had been looking at various designs on Facebook, links on Pinterest etc so sort of knew what I wanted. Georgia did a fantastic job of not just putting this one together, but also a second one for Pip over at Worms Eye View!!!
 An old cable reel got for £2 from a reclaimed wood/recycling yard
 The green unit on the wall is actually a draw from our old bed!
The paving slabs were donated by Pip, she had them around her Chicken run in her garden. Unfortunately both chickens passed away last week and so she has been having a clear out and sort of her garden too! Because I am next the the school and we have clay soil, we get all the run off rain water from the playground, it just doesn't go anywhere so the garden gets so boggy!! These paving slabs, just to raise that area up a bit were great. Then when it does get all muddy I can just hose it all down! I am still considering if the whole area needs paving (but that can get slippy), or bark chips, or's not quite right yet
 A chalk board panel on the side of the rabbit run! (another Learning & Development area covered!)
Straw bale was donated by a mum/family at the farm just up the road and lots of logs from the local park. A large willow tree was cut down a few months ago, leaving a huge pile of logs. the pile has been gradually going down as people have been grabbing them!! (and you can just see Popcorn heading off out for an explore round the garden!!)

Lots of other bits for the children to explore, bargain bits found at the car boot today, the blue bucket under the wooden unit has all sorts of jugs, pots, bowls, baking tray, muffin tray, tubes and funnels for water play. There are also a couple of drain pipes in the corner for water/rolling balls/cars etc. There is a pot of mud, stones, conkers, pine cones, natural chalks (found at the woods and collected by the children in the Easter Holidays). The coconut shells I just hung up and thought they could make music, they could be bowls or cups or anything the children can think of!

But I said I wasn't done!! As much as I like the open feel of it, from my experience if you are going to have messy play it's best to set out a visually defined area to contain it!! That is why there are various logs, plant pots and the straw bale set up as they are for now.
However, I do want the area to be more clearly defined. The logs will no doubt be rolled around, plant pots moved and before you know it I have wet mud EVERYWHERE. So, my inspiration came from our trip to an amazing local outdoor learning center we visited during the Easter holidays;
Behind my lovely nephew playing in their (very definitely) muddy area is a beautiful, natural, low level fence. PERFECT!!! So that is my plan to create a simple woven boundary fence, it will be kept relatively low. I just need to find a few stakes and then get weaving!!!

Another bargain find at the car boot today, and just as a bit of fun and an invitation to play. If the children look closely enough, in the flower beds around the garden a war is beginning....


I'm also currently working on a Fairy Garden but I'll keep that for a later post (or when the moss is more settled in and growing!). I'm also already aware that mathematics is really not my strong point. Whether I'm not great at providing opportunities, or actually I'm just not good at recognising it when it is already there, I'm not entirely sure. But I will be doing some research of how I can introduce a bit more maths to this area!

My garden now covers:
Physical Development - Scooping, pouring from various containers. Manipulating small world figures. Climbing/balancing on wooden logs.
Personal, Social & Emotional - Playing with and alongside others. Taking turns with resources and working co-operatively.
Communication & Language - Descriptive role play and small world play. Speaking with peers.
Literacy - Mark making on the chalk board, there are also a number of laminated sheets around the garden for things to look out for!
Mathematics - Scooping and measuring.
Understanding the World - Using natural and man made materials
Expressive Arts & Design - Creative role play and small world play. Using different media and materials in play. Being creative with different/new resources.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Knights and Dragons Week!!

By special request of one of the children we decided to plan a big Knights and Dragons week of fun!! There were lots of activities taking place, some we even ran out of time and didn't get to do but here are some of the highlights from our week:

Lots of dress up and role play with older ones before school!

Small world play scenes which had been placed around the house

A playmobile set with lots of knights to scare off the dragon!!

A Castle set which was attacked by dragons many times!!

The children chose to bring out the big building blocks too to try and make a throne for our king!

Shhhhh!! There is a dragon sleeping under the stairs, he is protecting his treasure!!

We used the internet to look at shield designs and also Goblets that were used during grand feasts of the knights!

After seeing what we likes we made our own goblet designs ready to have a feast of our own!

Lots more role play and someone has woken the Dragon!!!

The Knights are here to protect us!

The Dragon is dead, horay!!

Time to enjoy a grand feast just like real Knights would after winning a battle

Don't forget to fill your goblets with wine!!
(Apple and Raspberry juice really but the children did feel very grown up!)

Well done everyone for trying something a bit new!

Next up, where would a Knight be without their trusty steed?!!

Painting the head

Quick break for a bit of pudding, jelly and sweet breads and don't forget a bit more wine!

Drawing on eyes and mouths for our horses...

Before putting it all together with a mop for a body!! Best hobby horses I've ever seen

We had a fantastic week exploring what life was like in the time of the Knights, we read books and used the internet, lots of role play and small world play. The children's imaginations were all amazing taking some activities in directions we would never think of!