Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Playing with light

Last week, I.M. and a group of children designed and constructed a power station out of blocks, wool, tape and imagination. During the construction, staff overheard the children discussing properties of electricity, dangers and how it can be used.

This week, we have added an overhead projector to the program to extend on this interest of 'power, lights and electricity'.

 At first the children focused on the light plate, not seeming to understand that what they were placing on the plate was projected onto the wall

 Once they realised the play changed dramatically and they started to develop patterns, shapes and discussing sizes.  D.M. noticed that if he placed on object on the left of the screen it would be projected to the right of the wall.

Then the shadow play began with arms, legs and fingers

 Today we added some natural materials to the screen which, when projected looked like spiders.
I am interested to see where and how the children will evolve this play area.  We have had many wonderful in depth conversations about light and electricity as well as shadows, size and shape.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Button Sorting

After observing the children classifying and sorting toy animals, collage materials and the like toward the end of last term, we decided to further develop this interest by including a button sorting activity onto the program.

Set Up;
To make the activity attractive and interesting to the children, we set it up in a quiet area of our play room, pictures of button sorting were also included in the area.  Early Years Professionals began sorting the buttons by colour and left the area set as a 'sample'. We discussed amongst the adults that the children might decide to classify the buttons by shape, size, colour or texture and could perhaps extend the activity further by reintroducing objects that they had been using in play last term to sort.   

This activity was more popular than anticipated.  Children began sorting and classifying, noting similarities and differences, negotiating where certain buttons needed to be placed and matching sizes.
In the photo above 'M' holds the buttons and discusses with 'MM' the similarities between the buttons - same size, same number of holes and same black ring around them.
'MM' responds "But that one is red and that one is pink so they can't be the same"

 Further sorting is required. 

The children have favoured sorting by colour.  We will introduce the concept of size and shape next week and observe if the learning can be extended, or if they prefer continuing to develop the skills and learning from this week.

Early Years Learning Framework:
Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners.
Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Celebrating International Mud Day

Wednesday June 29th 2011 the inaugural International Mud Day.

Over the last few months the children attending our service have been exposed to, and thrive in, creative play in our mud pit.  We have seen pirates digging for treasure, farmers looking for their animals, construction workers building dams, roads and houses - so we didn't think twice about joining in and celebrating International Mud Day.
 Mud painting on our perspex fence using brushes, rollers and our hands.
The children enjoyed throwing mud balls at the fence  and watching the mud slide down the wall
Native plants were planted around
our hill slide
 Worms were discovered as we planted veggies

 The real 'fun' was happening in the mud pit