We had a chilly start to the week, with the children enjoying an exploration activity where they had to melt frozen hands to discover what was inside the ice. They found a selection of animals which corresponded to the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, linking this activity to our focus on Chinese New Year. The children's learning about this topic was further supported at snack time, when they enjoyed trying prawn crackers.
Our exploration of Chinese culture continued today, with the children taking part in an activity where they were encouraged to draw Chinese numbers in trays of red rice (red being a very lucky colour in China!). For some children, this activity evolved into an exploration of the texture and properties of the rice; others used it as an opportunity to practise writing their own names. To further develop our "Chinese restaurant" in the role play area, the children made paper plates of different foods - this led to interesting discussions about healthy eating, and we also talked about the importance of oral health.
Following on from last week's circle time focus on "what makes me special", today the children began work on a special display around this theme. They painted hearts, and on them have been written the children's own words about what they think makes them special. We are also creating a display about different cultural festivals celebrated by people in our community, and the children have been colouring Rangoli patterns and pictures of Hindu gods for the section about Diwali. Many of the children remembered when we learned about this festival in the autumn term.
There was a lot of creativity going on at nursery today, as we had set up a very popular junk-modelling station. As with last week's loose parts activity, this is a great way to encourage children's imaginations. Today, just from some random bits and bobs, the children created such wildly diverse things as a robot, a swimming pool, a dog and a dinosaur! Elsewhere, the nursery baby dolls were getting all dressed up before being taken on a special outing to the Chinese restaurant.
The children did more research into Chinese culture today, as we learned to count in Mandarin and attempted some traditional Chinese dancing. We all looked very graceful! Elsewhere, the marble run had an outing - always a very popular toy, this is a great problem-solving exercise as well as helping the children practise their turn-taking. We also created a small-world road set up, with traffic lights and traffic jams. Just like Crowborough at rush hour!