In the Burrow we have been splashing at the beach, making a muddy mess and having snow fights! SOIL Last week I filled the sensory/messy tray up with soil then added several pairs of wellies. C, A and M enjoyed filling the wellies up with the soil, putting their feet in them and trying to walk along! Before long, the children decided Bob the Builder and his friends should join Mr Potato Head also in the tray. Using Scoop, Muck and Rolly (Bob’s gang) the children dug through the mud building muddy towers leaving their tracks in the mud along the way.
SHREDDED PAPER A bin bag full of shredded paper was brought to us in the Burrow (thanks Lauren.) There’s a lot you can do with shredded paper! C filled his cup full of paper pretending to have a drink. E&P filled a baby bottle up with it to feed our baby after we bathed her. R&J got a handful each and threw it up in the air and watched it fall back down laughing. We also found that it was a great place to hide things in, we hid foam numbers, shapes and animals, so it was exciting when the children found all the different items that were hidden beneath. Apologies to parents if any of the shredded paper was hidden in clothing or hair!
THE BEACH After our recent trip to Weston Super Mare in the Burrow, I decided to create a beach in our sensory tray. I sneakily took some sand from our very big sand pit outside, added some water and pebbles. Unfortunately about half an hour in to it after lots of little hands, it began to look like Weston Super Mare beach! However, watching from a distance, what seemed to appeal mostly to the children was holding the sand up high and letting it splash in the water, allowing it to spray over everyone!
SHAVING FOAM AND STICKS Our outdoor tough-spot tray was filled with shaving foam and sticks. As the children were using the sticks to explore the shaving foam I added small splodges of paint to it, the Burrow children began stirring the foam faster and faster, making the colour mix in. M said “Nic, it looks like the sky now” as the blue smoothly blended in with the white shaving foam. Before long the sticks had been abandoned and all the children had their hands in the tray playing with the blue foam. They enjoyed exploring the texture of the foam and the paint together, some squeezed their hands tightly together and watched the foam slide out between their fingers, others clapped with the shaving foam watching it fly sky high!
PAINTING We have used a variety of materials this week to paint with, from the original old paintbrush, to sticks, sponges and even apples! I carved shapes in to the apples, creating squiggly lines, squares and ovals. Children walked by the activity looking slightly unsure of what to do; they normally eat the apples for snack! After printing the apples on the paper, the children began to notice the different patterns and shapes the apples left on the paper. These lovely paintings are now on display in the Burrow, please come in and take a look!
So as practitioners how have we arrived at the decision to provide these activities? We link to previous observations of the children and notice where their interests lie. We’ll then plan accordingly and this is where we’ll aim to scaffold learning; by introducing relevant and meaningful vocabulary, throwing in questions to further their thinking or resourcing an activity to promote further exploration. But at this age children are intrinsically motivated to learn so they really do all the hard work for themselves, we simply facilitate this process. Take the shredded paper for example; by manipulating it and using it to represent water and milk, they’ll be beginning to build an understanding of the difference properties the paper has in comparison to water and therefore they’ll be increasingly making sense of the world and fitting important jigsaw pieces together. They are also at the developmental age where symbolism is increasingly used. So shredded paper can be baby food for a dolly and that would make total sense to them in order to act out, mimic and become familiar with this representational role playing. I could go on, but I’ll let this poem do the talking…