Practical

Literacy: Mum's special day

Celebrating Mother’s Day is a great way to encourage children to talk about their mums and exercise their literacy skills as they make cards and learn to write simple, loving messsages.

Mathematics: Ideas take shape

In this last in a series on ‘maths talk’, we look at using heuristic play to introduce shape names and terminology, and explore linked activities that encourage children to confidently use new words.

Understanding the world: Hair raising!

Whether children have experienced a visit to the hairdresser, or had their hair cut at home, they will all enjoy hairdresser role-play. Through this they will grasp the practical and social sides of hairdressing.

Expressive arts and design: The perfect mix

Used together, sand and water play provide children with many exciting opportunities for creativity. Children engage all their senses as they explore textures, changing colours and shifting patterns.

Communication and language: Relax and chat

Support children to extend their conversations and ideas while they are busy at the sand play area. As a shared place to play it provides fantastic opportunities for building confidence in speaking.

Physical development: Imaginative leaps

Physical development and imaginative play go naturally together and there are lots of ways you can resource the environment to ensure that children can be active within their own creative worlds.

PSED: Animal empathy

Martin Wardell’s books, including the best-selling Owl Babies, are perfect for helping children to explore their feelings. Use them to tap into their ideas about what is fair and unfair.

Slime, glorious slime

It's easy to understand why slime has become such a popular resource with children in the last couple of years. Squishy, stretchy, jiggly or like putty, it's fascinating to manipulate, deeply mysterious and curiously addictive!

Understanding the World: Fresh new shoots

It’s time to get ready for Spring and plan outdoor adventures, where children can spot butterflies, birds and wild flowers. Support them to understand seasonal differences, change and the passage of time.

Literacy: Letters home

Have fun reading all the letters in The Jolly Postman and encourage children to compose their own letters, supporting them to create simple sentences and even a Valentine’s Day message.

Parent: Be my Valentine

Many settings love to celebrate Valentine’s Day – not only does it brighten up what can be a bleak month but it’s an opportunity to talk about love and kindness with children, says Annette Rawstrone.

Communication and Language: Listen to this

Playing outdoors with friends is a perfect way to boost communication skills and these simple games are easy to set up. Children will enjoy sharing and talking about their tactile, sensory experiences.

Physical development: Against the grain

Revisit your sand trays with these new ideas to promote concentration, hand-to-eye co-ordination and ne motor skills. Children can also get to grips with how tools can effect changes to materials.

Literacy: Sharing and caring

Chances are your book corner already has at least one title by author and illustrator Anthony Browne. Try these activities to engage children with his themes of family and friendship, and have fun exploring their surreal sense of humour!

Physical development: Against the grain

Revisit your sand trays with these new ideas to promote concentration, hand-to-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Children can also get to grips with how tools can effect changes to materials.

Expressive arts and design: A game plan

Game-building activities are a great way to stimulate children’s imagination and develop their creative skills. Karen Hart provides step-by-step guide to making a memory game and building a board game.

Parents: Returning to nursery

Returning to nursery after the festive season can be difficult for both children and parents, but there are a number of strategies that can help make the process easier.

Communication and language: A rhyming artist

Nick Sharratt is a prolific children’s author and illustrator famous for his rhyming text and colourful illustrations. The following activities use his work to develop children’s communication and language skills.

Physical development: Stepping outside

In this new series on making the most of your outdoor space, Karen Hart suggests foraging for materials to make a woodland sensory play area, building a bug box and making a fun assault course.

PSED: Social sand play

Sand tray activities can be a great way to help children achieve personal, social and emotional development goals; for example, by developing sand tray rules together and inventing new games.

Literacy: The power to dream

How to use simple resources such as fabrics, hats and a basket of natural objects to encourage children to experiment and use their imaginations to create characters and dialogue.

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