The rain cloud the children created at the end of last week is now hanging proudly above our water-play area. We love how the children are helping to shape the nursery environment. It's Road Safety Week across the UK, so at the nursery we have planned some fun activities to help raise the children's awareness of how they can stay safe on the roads. Elsewhere, there was construction using Mobilo - if you've not come across this toy before, it's a selection of geometric elements which can be easily combined using various connectors. There are countless possibilities for creating models, which promotes the children's creativity and fine motor skills. The only limit is their imagination!
There was tremendous excitement today when a real fire engine drew up outside the nursery! Don't worry, there wasn't a fire - the fire fighters were visiting St Mary's School as part of road safety week. The children loved seeing the fire fighters spray water and foam all over the school driveway - it looked like Christmas had come early! Inside the nursery, our nativity scene is set up for the children to investigate in the weeks leading up to Christmas. As well as introducing them to the various elements of the Nativity story, this set-up also can help the children with their language skills mathematical thinking (how many kings are there? How many shepherds? What animals can you see?). At another table, there was an altogether more wild small world set-up, with the children enjoying playing with different wild animals at a water-hole.
The children were still talking about yesterday's surprise visit from the fire engine, so in response to this our practitioners set up a play area with wooden fire station, a fire engine and emergency helicopter. This sort of spontaneous, child-initiated planning means that we can respond to and develop the children's interests. We are continuing to prepare for the imminent arrival of Father Christmas by making reindeer food with the children. They were weighing oats on the scales, which helps to develop their fine motor skills as well as providing an opportunity to work on their mathematical understanding. And we got our bodies moving with a dance and movement session, where the children enjoyed high energy games of musical bumps and musical statues; other children had fun singing along on the microphone.
We were exploring floating and sinking at "Wendy's Water Works" today. While the children were investigating, our practitioners would mind-map their findings (e.g. "What happens if we fill up a container that floats?"). Mind-mapping is a way of integrating writing into the children's play and is a great way of bringing literacy right to the heart of what we do. Elsewhere, the children were making play dough "pizzas"; other children were playing a game where they pretended that fluorescent laces were slime - this led to us making another batch of bright green play dough "slime" for them to use as part of their imaginative play.
All week the children have been enjoying our wild animal set-up, and we extended this by reading 'We're Going on a Lion Hunt' with props to bring the story to life. Other children were learning about the night sky on the nursery computer. In the garden, the children had fun making up different chasing games and racing cars down a track - the latter activity was great for developing their mathematical knowledge, as they were talking about which car came first, which car came second and so on.