Trimming the tree

Our Christmas preparations are really gearing up at nursery. This week, the children had a wonderful time decorating the nursery Christmas tree - they showed great cooperation and turn-taking skills, and the tree looks fabulous. We have made a Christmas post box, for children to send Christmas cards to their friends. The children also helped to make paper chains, to make the nursery look even more festive. The children also continued with their Christmas crafting - some of which will be a surprise for their parents and carers, so I can’t reveal details here! - including making snowmen out of cardboard tubes and cotton wool.

The week wasn’t wholly Christmas-themed, however. We also focused on investigating number, using our Numicon resources, and the children showed great cooperative working at the construction table. Here they built a wide range of things with the magnetic shapes and the mobilo, using their imaginations to create towers, buildings and vehicles.

Healthy eating, maths and LAVA!

The highlight of this week was our Healthy Eating open morning and we were pleased that so many parents made it along. We kicked off with a presentation about what a healthy packed lunch should look like, and tackled the thorny subject of fussy eaters. Then the children and their parents rolled up their sleeves to try some cooking activities - they made pitta pizza pockets (to be eaten later) and yummy fruit skewers (which were devoured more or less instantly!). We talked about all the ways that your child can help you in the kitchen: scrubbing vegetables, sprinkling seasoning, cracking eggs, even cutting softer foods with a plastic knife. The children also enjoyed an activity where they had to stick pictures of different foods onto a plate to create a healthy meal. It was great to see how many children understood what foods were the healthy choices, even if they admitted that they preferred hot dogs and chips!

We continued our focus on maths skills this week, using the water beads (without shaving foam this time!) to fill up different containers in order to explore concepts of bigger/smaller and higher/lower. Outside in the garden, we worked on our gross motor skills with a balancing game using the river stones. The children decided that the ground was made of lava, and falling off the stones would mean they would burn their feet. After a few tumbles into the lava, the ground then turned to ice so anyone who touched it froze solid. All the children enthusiastically joined in this game, which meant that it also tested their turn-taking skills!

Your child should have brought home their costume for the Nativity this week. When we gave these out, we talked about the different roles and told the story of the Nativity. We will be revisiting the Nativity story regularly over the coming weeks - why not ask your child to explain it to you in their own words?

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Christmas is very definitely coming at the nursery! Our Christmas tree display (created from the children’s hand and footprints) is up on the wall and looking very festive indeed, and we continued to practise our Christmas songs. Some of the children even felt confident enough to sing a song on their own in front of the whole class (and a few decided to change some of the words for comic effect!). Some of our activities were Christmas-themed too - we worked on our motor skills by making candy cane decorations out of pipe cleaners and had sensory fun playing with a Christmas tree and water beads.

It wasn’t all festive fun, however. We had a maths focus this week, so the children were very busy using their mathematical skills on a variety of measuring, counting and estimating games. If you want to help your child develop their maths skills at home, this article has some great ideas for games you can play together.

People who help us

The children had a very exciting visit this week from two Police Community Support Officers, who came to the nursery in their police car! The officers talked to the children about the role of the police and explained to the children that it was safe to approach a police officer in an emergency or if they were lost. They had brought a range of police hats with them, and the children enjoyed getting to try them on. The children were then delighted to be able to climb inside the police car, and to see the flashing lights and hear the siren. Later, we talked about other people in the community that help us - the children were able to think of lots of different occupations that help people, such as doctors, nurses, fire fighters and teachers.

Preparations for our nursery Nativity began in earnest this week, with the children visiting St Mary’s Church to practise their songs. You may have noticed them singing them at home too! We also began work on our Christmas display, which is a Christmas tree made from the children’s hand prints, and have started making our TOP SECRET Christmas crafts that the children will present to you at the end of term. Shhhh!

Do try this at home!

Sometimes it can be hard to think of new things to do with your children. To help you get out of the park/playdough/iPad rut, we will be posting regular suggestions of activities that you can do with your child at home.

This week, we’re heading into the kitchen for an easy baking activity.

Hedgehog rolls

This is a fun and easy introduction to breadmaking, with an autumnal twist. Children will love making (and eating!) these cute mini hedgehog rolls.

hedgehog rolls.png

Ingredients

500g pack brown bread mix

25g butter

Plain flour (for dusting)

Raisins

Flaked almonds (optional)


Makes 6 rolls. Recipe taken from BBC Good Food.


Method

  1. Make the bread mix with the butter, following the pack instructions. Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 5 minutes.

  2. Cut the dough into six pieces. Dust the surface with a little flour and shape each piece into a ball by rolling it between your hands. Make it hedgehog shaped by pulling one side out a little and squeezing it into a snout.

  3. Put the hedgehogs onto a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise for 1 hour.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Using kitchen scissors, carefully snip into the dough to make the spikes on the back of the hedgehogs. Press raisins in for the eyes and push a flaked almond into the end of the nose (or use another raisin if you are avoiding nuts).

  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are risen and golden. The rolls will keep for up to two days in an airtight container.


If you try this activity with your child, please do show us pictures. Maybe your child could even bring one of their rolls in as part of their packed lunch!



Fireworks, Diwali and poppies

It has been a very busy (and colourful!) week at Nursery, with the children celebrating Diwali, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day.

On Monday, the children made Diwali candle holders out of egg boxes - they chose which colours they wanted to use on their egg box, and sprinkled glitter inside to represent the light of the candle. There was more fun with colours on Tuesday, when the children enjoyed making firework explosions with Skittles! This is a great experiment to replicate at home - place your Skittles around the edge of a paper plate, carefully add water and watch the colours dissolve and diffuse into a rainbow explosion. We also had fun making messy firework paintings using spray bottles and forks to spatter the paint over the paper. If you want to try this at home then we recommend going outside!

On Sunday it is the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, so this week we talked to the children about the significance of this day. The children painted their own poppies and decorated poppy biscuits as well. It can be hard to know what to say to your child about Remembrance Day, but if you want to talk with them about it then CBeebies have produced a lovely animation called ‘Poppies’ which can help your child understand why the poppy is a sign of hope and remembrance.

Weekly round-up

Monday

Everyone was pleased to see Hannah back today for another gymnastics session. The children showed great body control as they explored different ways to move across the school hall - hopping, jumping and even doing forward rolls! Back at the nursery, the children enjoyed playing with a wildlife small world set up (with a watering hole for the toys to splash in) while outside other children had fun racing in the ride-ons and camping out in the teepee. 

Tuesday

It was another scorcher today, so the children cooled off in the garden by paddling in our boat. Given the heat, this was naturally a VERY popular activity and the children showed great patience and fantastic turn-taking as they waited to cool their feet off in the water. Inside, out of the sunshine, the children enjoyed making numbers out of play dough, painting and threading, and later on we chilled out with a bit of mindfulness meditation.

Wednesday

The children have been doing Sports Day practice every day this week, and have loved visiting the "big school" to use their field. At the nursery, we continued the sports day theme with a tuff tray painted to look like a running track. The children raced toy people, animals and cars down the track. We introduced the book that is to be next week's focus: "The Gruffalo"! Many of our children are familiar with this text, and we can't wait to explore it further with them next week.

Thursday

Today after Sports Day practice we stayed on the field to play 'Farmer's in the Den', and then we had a race to see who could walk a mile the fastest along the school's new footpath! Once we were back at nursery, we continued the sporty theme by playing a game whereby the children had to throw hoops into tubs. The children showed great team spirit, encouraging and helping each other and challenging themselves by moving further away from the target. 

Friday

The children chilled off today with the ever-popular ice exploration activity, where they melted the ice shapes to see what they could find inside. During Sports Day practice we were balancing bean bags on racquets whilst running - this is really testing the children's hand-eye coordination! In the garden, the children enjoyed doing some free painting, playing with sand and bubbly water, and singing 'Farmer's In The Den'. There was another request to hear "The Gruffalo", so it looks like next week's focus is going to be very popular indeed!

Weekly round-up

Monday

Our story for this week was the wonderful 'Handa's Surprise', so we had fruit-themed activities running every day. Today we introduced the story to the children (using our new Big Book) and supported it with a drop box with linked resources, as well as providing the children with masks and pictures of fruit to colour in and play with. The secret stones that the children so carefully decorated last week were sent home today - have you hidden yours yet? And (just in case you missed it) the World Cup has started and the children have gone football-crazy, so of course we played football today as well.

Tuesday

In story time today, as well as reading 'Handa's Surprise' the children were able to see and handle the tropical fruits mentioned in the story. We put them all together in a basket and tried balancing it on our heads like Handa does in the story. They were so heavy! In our maths corner, we were using Numicon to make numbers bigger than 10 - some really impressive mathematical thinking went on. The children also enjoyed making and decorating gingerbread men again today. They could recall the ingredients that they needed, and remembered the important rules of hygiene and cooking safety.

Wednesday

Today the children had the opportunity to taste the different fruits that appear in 'Handa's Surprise'. The children really loved this activity, using their senses to explore the feel, smell and taste of the different fruits. We took a poll at the end, and the children's favourite fruit from the activity was pineapple. Well done to all the children for being brave and trying something that was out of their comfort zone. Later, we went over to the school playing field to practise for our Sports Day. We have some very competitive children, it turns out!

Thursday

The children were learning about dental hygiene today, with laminated teeth which they had to brush clean of plaque. Elsewhere, some children were enjoying our new princess jigsaw puzzles, while others continued with the Numicon activity we introduced on Tuesday. As it was another glorious day, there was lots of time for play outside; some of our children were thinking about the forthcoming summer holidays and getting some sandcastle-building practice.

Friday

It was a day of high activity today, as we went over to the school field for Sports Day practice as well as using the balance beams and having an Early Movers yoga session. Phew! Becky brought in a special surprise for the children: the different stages of a frog's life cycle, all in the same container! The children loved seeing the frog spawn, tadpoles and froglets (though, fortunately, no fully-grown frogs...) and enjoyed listening to 'Tadpole's Promise' at story time.