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Explore the World of Volcanoes

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Kids Art and Craft, Kids Activities, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) , Tags: geography, knowledge and understanding of the world, natural disaster, volcano

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Right now, UK airspace is locked down because ash in the skies from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland makes it too dangerous for planes to fly.  Natural disasters of this magnitude cause all manner of problems, but they also present a great opportunity to explain to children and toddlers about the world we live in.  What children are able to understand depends largely on how old they are.  Three year old toddlers have little understanding of the wider world that we live in, but when something happens on an international scale, there is a good opportunity to begin explaining about countries and geography.  Over time, children will begin to graps the concepts and this will enhance their understanding of the world.

Here are some ideas to help explain the world of volcanoes and geography more broadly to children:-

  • Search on 'volcano' on Google Video - you will find lots of video of volcanic eruptions and lava to watch; explain what lava is, where it comes from, and why it is runny
  • Make a volcano out of papier mache, plastercine or using any other modelling technique
  • Draw a volcano, explain how over time the lava from earlier eruptions forms a mountain
  • For young toddlers, draw explosive lava and smoke in a bright picture
  • Make a volcano: put one tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of water into a plastic cup, stir until the baking soda has disolved; place the cup on a tray, or better yet, outside; pour in two tablespoons of vinegar from another cup, and watch a fizzy explosion take place!
  • Look at an atlas and show children where you are and where other countries are; show in this instance where Iceland is and show the vast area affected by ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano

Knowledge and Understanding of the World is one of the areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  How better to bring the world to life than to investigate a natural disaster that has a direct bearing on the people around us, even though the disaster is so remote from where we live?

World Exploration

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Toys and Games, Kids Activities , Tags: accents, geography, language, learning about the world, space, world foods

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Just as your kids are beginning to place where their house is when they return from journeys out, suddenly they begin to discover that the world is made up of lots of different countries with different people speak different languages.  Not exactly an easy idea to grasp!  Having an understanding of the world and the diversity of people and language is an important aspect of early education.

Just as kids learn their immediate surroundings through their senses, so you can teach about the world by appealing to their senses too.

Introduce the concept of language through sound - talking and hearing.  If you're lucky, you might be fluent in more than one language, but even if you're not, you probably know some basic words such as 'Hello' and 'Thank You', and maybe some numbers, in a number of languages?  Talk about language and explain how people say these words in different countries.  Explain how even people in the English-speaking world talk in different voices and use slightly different words in certain circumstances.

You can have a lot of fun explaining about different foods from round the world as you introduce basic foods from different countries.  Rice, pasta, pizza and different breads come from different countries.  You can readily buy fruit and vegetables from countries around the world.  If your children are adventurous eaters then try them with simple Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian and other cultural dishes!

Teach geography and sense of distance by playing games.  Create a representation of each continent on pieces of paper and spread them around a large room, or better still, the garden.  Locate the continents in roughly the way that they are laid out across the globe - Asia, Australasia, North America, South America and Europe.  Then simply shout out 'Swim to North America' and have them perform swimming strokes as they run over to North America!

Learning about the world is so important for our little ones, and there are so many games and activities that we can play to foster a desire to learn.


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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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