Part of the Government's Early Years Foundation Stage areas of Learning and Development covers 'Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy' and one of the focuses is 'Shape, Space and Measures'; in order to introduce the idea of size and comparison, try this simple activity, especially if you have recently been to a zoo! This can be done when walking along the street to playgroup or when sitting on a bus. Make it a chatty conversation, and not a mathematical exercise. Keep it simple and talk about the possible answers.
Ask your child some size related questions:
Go to the library and find an animal dictionary or encyclopedia and look up the animals to see what they look like. See what other interesting facts you can find out. What do they eat? Where do they live? Do they live in groups or alone? You could also go on line and look for images of the animals and search together.
Try comparing the size of other things around the house too. Which is the biggest cupboard? Run and find it. Which is the tallest lamp? Run and find it. Which is the smallest door? Run and find it.
Part of beginning to learn about maths and numbers is learning about things that are different and things that are the same. Try these activities to show your child all about things that are different and the same, and things that are of different sizes.
Odd One Out
In each case, ask which is different? See if they can identify the item and if they struggle talk them through it. Here are some easy suggestions:
With the next set of items, choose a set all the same size plus one that is smaller. In each case ask which is the smallest? In each case, prepare in advance and then lay the things on the table or if you can walk around the house and spot things as you go.
You could use things like:
Try the same activity trying to identify the biggest thing, something of a different colour or shape.
Making a collage is easy, fun and a great way for little ones to practice their fine motor skills. Once assembled, they can see their work and touch it too experiencing all the different textures and materials. Collage is actually one of the areas of artistic experience that children should be exposed to within the EYFS, along with painting, drawing, printing, textiles and 3D.
So, how to go about having some collage fun:
Other associated activities:
Research has shown that children benefit more from childcare when their parents are involved.
This research has proved that parents who take an active interest in their children's childcare, reap the benefits. And, the children of parents who get involved settle better and progress more quickly.
This is not to say that parents need to go in and help once a week at nursery or donate lots of funds. It simply means trying to do the following:
The Childcare Trust suggests arranging a daily diary for your child as it is a great idea to monitor and share activities and events. For a great, easy to use on-line Daily Diary (and a great activities-based learning programme for 0-5s) go to ToucanLearn.com for a free trial!
Shape sorters feature in every nursery and offer a great way for babies to begin to understand the world around them and how they interact with it. Research over the last few years, however, suggests that babies learn shapes regardless of whether they have access to these sorts of manufactured toys. Studies of babies born in developing countries, without access to the toys we enjoy in the Western world, confirm that they are just as able to differentiate between different shapes regardless.
This prompts thinking that babies have a disposition to recognise lines that don't change as an object or shape moves in space before they recognise more complex shapes that do. For example, they can see that straight lines remain straight while an object moves, even though the angles between lines change, making them harder to recognise.
This research helps us begin to form an understanding of how babies really begin to understand the world around them which in turn will allow us to develop aids that may help and accelerate children in their learning.
Of course, shape sorters aren't just about learning particular shapes - they also help develop fine motor skills as babies practice picking up objects, rotating them in their hands and guiding them through holes on another object. The ability to post objects through holes offers the first steps towards being able to pick up and control objects in the wider world.
Early skills form an essential part of the Early Years Foundation Stage - make sure that your babies are interacting with objects in a nursery setting and you are already following several Areas of Learning!
Learning the concept of big and small may seem quite simple, but in fact, learning about size is a part of mathematical concepts. Here are a few activities for the children to try out to help them learn sizes:-
Teddies and Wellies - Line up some wellie boots or shoes and grab a few different sizes bears and dolls. Try putting the dolls and teddies in each of the pairs of shoes. Predict whether the toys are too big or too small to fit in!
Dress-up time - Take a selection of hats, shoes and coats that belong to different members of the family. Try them on and decide if they are too big or too small!
Messy time - Make some hand prints with other children or do some yourself. Look at the prints together and say which are bigger and which are smaller. Measure them with a tape measure if you have older children or cut them out to compare them.
Story time - Read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and act out the story using chairs, different sized bowls etc.
Tubs and pots - Take a few tubs and pots of different sizes. Look at them and compare them. Fill some with water. Transfer the water between them to see which hold more and which are bigger than the others.
Books - Go to a bookshelf and look at all the books. Compare the sizes of the books and sort them in size order. You'll end up with a tidy books shelf too!
How many times do you come back from a walk to school or a stroll to the park and find your child holding leaves, twigs, and muddy grasses? ...or how often do you find rock and pebbles in trouser pockets (or in the bottom of the washing machine!)? Nature is wonderful; it's ever changing and it's all around us - children can enjoy nature in so many ways no matter where you live.
Here are some activities to encourage an appreciation of nature... and help with some other areas of development too!
1. Nature Bowl: Whenever your child hands you an acorn or a pine cone to look after, ask instead for it to be put in the special "nature bowl". Have any old bowl or basket and keep it in an accessible place so precious treasures can be stored and appreciated. Encourage counting by each time more things are added (or taken away!) count the bowlful together. Encourage sorting by sorting the items into sizes, or shapes or colours. Encourage naming by finding out the name of each item and what it is/does?
2. Practice finding and looking: Collect some nature items (pine cones, acorns, twigs) and hide them in a sand pit. See how many the children can find again in one minute. Use a stop watch to time and count the items together. Ask the little ones to hide the items next time and see if you can find any more quickly. Encourage Problem Solving.
3. Birds: put out a bird bath (shallow bowl of water!) and see if any birds come to have a dip! Go out and choose a bird feeder. You can get some very reasonable ones at shops. Make sure the children choose it. Get them to help put it up and fill it and encourage them to keep an eye on it so it can be refilled. Try to make it their responsibility. Encourage problem solving, and self confidence.
4. Tent-making: give the children some blankets, branches, old boxes and see whether they can build a den in the garden or park. Leave them to it and see how they get on. If they need help, guide rather than take over. Just show them how to balance things and give some tips. Encourage creative thinking, physical movement and problem solving.
5. Mud pies: make some mud pies together with wet mud and allow it to dry. Roll the mud into shapes and place on an old try in the sun to harden. Use twigs to stick into the pies and leaves to decorate. Encourage creativity and problem solving.
6. Name all the insects you can: bee, spider, ladybird, butterfly, caterpillar etc. and as you call out each one, try to move like they do. Wriggle like a worm, glide like a moth, dart like a wasp. Encourage understanding of the world problem solving and physical movement.
The idea of cooking with children might fill you with horror, what with the mess, the organisation, the dangers and the unappetising results, but, with a little planning, careful thought and a bit of patience, you can all have a fulfilling and fun time in the kitchen.
Cooking actually covers various areas of the EYFS development programme and so it is a great focus activity.
While cooking: Show your children the recipe and get all the ingredients ready in advance. Guide and direct the children through the cooking and keep them engaged so they don't get distracted and do their own thing. Use tools and bowls that are the appropriate size so they feel in control and able to do the task. Allow them to do as much as you can themselves without endangering them. Talk about the dangers and hot areas to avoid (oven, hob etc). Encourage them to help clear up and taste the food afterwards.
Why should they cook?
How can you encourage a healthy and enthusiastic learner and good personal, social and emotional development? There is so much that can be done in the home and in the childcare setting to encourage effective PSED. Here are just a few ideas that can be incorporated into your typical day.
Learning phonics and understanding the sounds that different letters make is essential for reading and the earlier you start introducing letters to the children the better because as they become more and more familiar with the sounds, so they will find reading all the more easy. It's understandable to want to get children reading early, but in fact, it's better to get them 100% confident with the phonic sounds first, even if they can read whole words already. That way, once they see words, they will be able to easily combine the sounds to read the word.
Here are some easy and fun ideas to get phonics into your daily routine and introduce them to little ones in game format:-
Have fun, and expand this sound game with your own ideas too!
Personal, Social and Emotional Development lies at the very heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and in essence every single activity a child does, whether climbing a tree, writing their first letter or counting all the way to 11, influences their own sense of worth and self confidence.
As each hurdle is mastered; each skill practiced and learned, so their emotional well being and self esteem are built up and strengthened thus creating a more confident and happy child.
The best way to encourage personal, social and emotional development is through play.
The EYFS has just gone through review by Dame Care Tickell. Amongst her recommendations is that the EYFS is slimmed down and it is likely that the areas of learning will be reduced from six core areas to three. So important is Personal, Social and Emotional Development that it is one of the areas that will be preserved. Dame Clare Tickell's report suggests:-
A new focus on three prime areas which are the foundations for children’s ability to learn and develop healthily: personal, social and emotional development; communication and language; and physical development.
A childminder is required to record observations as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and yet, how do you actually 'make' and record observations in a setting while trying to do other things and look after the children?
The easiest was is to use ToucanLearn's unique Daily Diary. By logging what you see, what the children say, any milestones etc on the Daily Diary you get a great personal record for yourself to monitor and to share with parents too... and you don't impact on the care you are giving by having to scratch around for paper and note books. Sign up at our website and start using ToucanLearn for free!
Use a digital camera or mobile phone to record what happens. Take pictures of special crafts, achievements or just everyday shots of the little ones going about their playing.
Take video of the children mastering tasks and having fun. Try to encourage them not to act up in front of the camera but to just be as 'normal' as they can... may be hard!
Have a note book somewhere central at all times and jot down observations. You can then stick them on a poster or add them to the ToucanLearn.
Maintain a weekly observation chart and add an entry each week in order to monitor overall progress.
A review has stated that nursery and childminding targets should be scaled back to allow teachers and carers more time actually teaching the children. Carers are spending so much time on paperwork that they are not spending enough time with the children, inspiring, guiding and helping them.
Dame Clare Tickell, co-author of the report, said that the Early Years Foundation Stage has helped boost standards, but it has also become too focused with meeting targets. The review calls for the EYFS to be radically changed thus reducing the number of goals for under fives from 69 to just 17.
It was said that the current scheme is "cumbersome, repetitive and unnecessarily bureaucratic." Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the changes would be "a victory for common sense".
It points out that:
Instead, general checks should take place including:
These along with the health visitor checks at age 2 would indicate any educational needs. The report also states that everyone working with under fives should have, at least, A levels, thus ensuring a high quality workforce.
We'll have to wait and see the repercussions!
If your baby or toddler attends a playgroup or nursery, they will be assigned a key worker who takes on the responsibility of liaising between your child and you, the parents. The key worker assumes the role of primary carer for your little one, ensuring that they settle into the nursery setting, integrate with the other children, and generally ensure your baby's welfare whilst they are in their care.
The key worker is also responsible for reporting on the six areas of learning and development within the Early Years Foundation Stage and to this end, they will make regular observations and report back to the parents. They will also raise any concerns about development should they notice anything.
The key worker does not shadow your child the whole time or play solely with their key wards. A key worker will take responsibility for several children simultaneously and may only make observational notes on an occasional basis rather than every day.
You should always be made aware who your child's key worker is, this information is usually displayed on a notice board within the setting, and the preschool may hold 'parent's evenings' where you can interface directly with the key worker to be told of progress and any concerns. Over time your key worker may change, and you should be informed at the time. If you ever have concerns about how your child is setting into their day setting, then do not hesitate to raise them with your key worker.
Here are a few ways to introduce the sense of touch to children with appropriate EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) areas of learning and development included.
There are so many more activities like this at http://www.ToucanLearn.com, where learning is fun for you and your little one!
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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!
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