Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Making Bike Play More Exciting...

I've recently been looking some of my local nurseries and playgroups as I carried out visits to the new children that will be starting in my class in September. I'm always on the look out for inspiration, new takes on old activities, alternative uses for things, extensions for old favourites and boy have I found one.

One Playgroup had the most fantastic ramp which had children swarming over it with all manner of bikes and sit on toys. The ladies there told me thatthe son of a neighbour used to use their area (with permission) for skateboarding and he'd left his ramps and moved onto new hobbies. So they requisitioned them for the children and I was instantly jealous.

As soon as I was able I had a look at our stockpile of potentially useful items and spotted a pile of pallets and several large tyres..... hm.... a little while later....Hey Presto...

The children were fascinated and after a little talk about safety precautions, staying straight, keeping your back wheels away from the edge, being aware of splinters, taking turns etc they can't get enough of it.

Already children are building up the strength to be able to cycle up the ramp, warning each other if they get too close to the edge, helping each other up to the top and taking turns. They are experimenting with different bikes and working out that they need a good long fun up to stand a chance of getting to the top.  Learning at its best. :-)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Sandy Gloop

We've recently been playing with Soapy Sand (see my previous post) and while the children are loving it I couldn't help but wonder..... what would happen if......I mixed in cornflour?

I started with a few good handfuls of cornflour and then added soapy sand, handful at a time, mixing well each time until I had a consistency I was happy with. The children were fascinated with the process, making comments and poking it with curious fingers.

The resulting gloop behaves almost exactly like cornflour and water but the soapy sand has the advantage of really bulking it all out so that we ended up with a whole trayful of gloop that allowed at least four children to play quite happily at a time without complaints that anyone was hogging it.

It does dry out over time but it's easy to top it up with a bit of water and my children were fascinated by the changes and I was able to feed in lots of vocabulary (solid, aqueous, liquid, runny, hard)

They loved that they could mould it in their hands but that it turned to liquid as soon as they stopped moving it, and then it ran between their fingers and off their hands.

And I found it all quite therapeutic too and my hands are lovely and soft... instant  exfoliating treatment:-)

An old favourite... soapy sand.

Soapy Sand

We've recently had a big tray of sand in our classroom and the children have had the usual fun with it but it must be said that it was losing it's attraction, becoming a little passe. So I cast my mind back to my playgroup days for inspiration and remembered a little activity that used to be mentioned in the foundation stage guidance... Soapy Sand. We used to use it in a shallow builder's tray as a mark making activity as well as a sensory one.

This is really easy to make and only needs two ingredients plus water and the result is a frothy delight!

Play sand
Washing up liquid (I used Fairy Liquid)

The method couldn't be simpler,  squirt some washing up liquid over the sand (you don't need huge amounts, especially if you use a good quality washing up liquid like Fairy), begin to mix and agitate, adding a little water and mixing until the sand becomes light and frothy. You can experiment with different amounts of water, the more water you add the lighter the result will be. You can even get the children to mix it for you, it's that easy to make.

Sadly I don't have any photos of me making this, only these of it being played with but it's simple enough to make anyway.

I can't explain how different to normal sand this is, you have to try it to see. My children have had a wonderful time playing with this this week, hope yours do too.