Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, according to a new survey revealing the extent to which time playing in parks, wood and fields has shrunk. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found. Experts warn that active play is essential to the health and development of children, but that parents’ fears, lack of green spaces and the lure of digital technology is leading youngsters to lead enclosed lives. At Peters Rabbits nursery we love to be outside. This month we have enjoyed playing on the climbing equipment. We showed skill mounting the steps and ropes using alternate feet to negotiate space. This in turn supports our physical development, particularly moving and handling.
We enjoy playing with the play dough daily. We enhance and change the dough we use weekly in nursery to ignite our imaginations and interests in using this material to manipulate and handle. When playing with the play dough we are strengthening muscle tone in little hands – squishing, squashing, rolling, flattening play dough all develop children’s muscles and encourage prewriting and other skills such as cutting with a scissors, using a tweezers, holding a pencil. Look at us play, we are showing increasing control over at the playdough pushing, patting it. You can see this allows the children play, using a range of their senses and skills.
It takes time and practice to learn how to cut with scissors. To be able to use scissors, small muscles and movements in the hand need to strengthen and develop. It is helpful to understand your child’s stage of development to choose activities they can manage and enjoy. Usually children develop skills in this order: 1. Holds scissors 2. Makes single snips 3. Holds paper whilst snipping 4. Cuts across paper. Start with narrow strips of card then gradually introduce larger pieces of card 5. Cuts along a straight line. Start with a thick texta line then gradually introduce a narrower line 6. Cuts along a curved line 7. Cuts around simple shapes (square, circle, oval, triangle) 8. Cuts around simple shapes with corners and curves (moon, heart, star). Several activities without scissors can help your child to develop the muscles and movements required for cutting with scissors. These include: • Squirting trigger action spray bottles—aiming for a target such as a balloon or small container. • Using tongs—picking up small objects such as cotton wool balls, small Lego blocks, pieces of scrunched paper or dry pasta pieces. • Punching holes in paper—using a single hole paper punch to punch out a line or pattern in stiff cardboard or paper. • Playing with clothes pegs—placing them around containers to make fences for objects or to hang out paintings, drawings, dolls clothes, socks, etc. • Using playdough—squeezing and stretching playdough, putty or plasticene.
The children discussed the special day this weekend - Father's Day. They created cards using different printouts as prompts. They talked about why they loved their dads and why they are important. The children used the name cards and phonic knowledge to write her name and copy words from examples.
We thoroughly enjoyed making popcorn outside with our friends. This was a great experience to talk about why things happen and how things work. Preparing and cooking food is a great time to ask questions and test out the results. We noticed the corn changed in size and texture, particularly enjoyed eating it once cooked, although it took some time for the cooker to heat up. We noticed the smoke rise from the pan, exploring the world through our sense of smell when some corn burnt on the pan. We gave the chickens the popcorn that popped out of the pan on the grass! This activity was planned from a discussion about cooking when role playing camping earlier in the week.
We enjoyed looking at the chickens in their new improved enclosure. We have really enjoyed watching the chickens grow since incubating them in nursery, it has supported and enabled the children to talk about some of the things they have observed in animals; helping them develop an understanding of growth over time. After looking at the new enclosure Mrs Peackock and her husband created, we talked about and made thank you cards for all their hard work and effort.
On the school field we created journey bracelets! We made sticky tape loops large enough to fit around our wrists. We went on a walk around the school grounds and looked for interesting natural objects, we collected these and stuck them onto our bracelets. The children understood what is safe to pick up and what they should avoid. We found leaves, seeds, bark, and grass.
After exploring the outdoor environment making our journey bracelets, we decided to look for mini beasts. We enjoyed turning up wooden blocks to discover tiny creatures hiding benith. We discovered lots of different creatures. We referred to our checklists as we explored through nature.
After exploring the minibeasts outside we introduced some worms to the investigation area. This provided the children to explain things they knew about worms after a discussion on the carpet about mini beasts. Some children approached the worms with their peers and initiated touching them, looking at the worms more closely. The children remembered to wash their hands after touching the worms and showed good hygiene practice.
We love to use our mud kitchen outside in the garden. After exploring soil inside with our worms we decided to create some "magic mud". We mixed different colours into the mud including some cornflour to make it thick and gooey. We mixed bicarb soda and vinegar to make our mixtures bubble (unfortunately we didn't get pictures of this as it was so exciting)!