Understanding the world

Understanding the world: Be kind to bees

This is the second article in an occasional series looking at endangered animals and includes information and activities to enable young children and their families to be more aware of how to help bees.

Understanding the world: Signs of winter

Winter is upon us! Learning about the seasons is an important part of Understanding the World, and this ‘snowflake challenge’ activity offers a fun introduction to the signs of winter. Use the activity flexibly throughout the season, and repeat popular challenges.

Well versed

Rhyme is a fantastic medium for inspiring children to engage with narrative and develop vocabulary. Get into your own poetry rhythm by checking out these activities.

Understanding the world: Time to grow

When spring is sprung, it's time to introduce children to some elementary gardening skills. Learning about life cycles and taking responsibility for growing plants will give them an enormous sense of achievement.

Understanding the world: Natural symmetry

When a child is excited by something they identify in the natural world, there is a valuable opportunity to seize the moment and extend learning. Jenni Clarke explains how the adult can prompt and support without taking over.

Understanding the world: To the lighthouse

Mr Grinling is probably one of the most famous lighthouse keepers in the world, brought to life by Ronda Armitage in her series of classic children's books. There are lots of ways to use them to explore peoples' occupations and life-styles.

Literacy: Cold calling

Where Snowflakes Fall by Claire Freedman is a picture book that explores the beauty of the polar regions and is perfect for inspiring children to create role-play scenarios that will lay the foundation for early writing.

Understanding the world: In character

Use the January birthday of author A A Milne to explore the world of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and more by going on a walk and identifying hidey-holes where these characters could find a home.

Understanding the world: Swirl by swirl

Give children time to explore patterns in nature and develop their ability to appreciate and identify shape and design. Learning is maximised when it is led by children as part of in the moment planning, explains Jenni Clarke.

Understanding the world: Meet the yoga people

Sports and exercise around the world makes a great theme to explore as it encompasses culture, inclusion, thinking about your likes as an individual and how these may differ from others after. Try these activities to get children talking!

While we can’t hug…

Following on from his bestselling book The Hug, author Eoin McLaughlin has written this genuine book for our time, talking to young children about social distancing. Find out more about how to share this book!

Communication and language: Stay cool

Hilary White outlines how to discuss three key aspects of sun safety – the difference between sunshine and shade, the effects of the sun and sun protection strategies.

Things to do on a rainy afternoon

A rainy day in doors doesn’t have to mean a day stuck in front of the TV or computer. There are lots of activities to keep children occupied – and still learning. Painting, baking, and other arts and crafts are just some of the great ways to boost their creativity. Here are some activities that are perfect for wet weather days.

Understanding the world: Well watered

Now is the perfect time to talk to children about how plants grow from seeds and the conditions they need to flourish. Let them loose outdoors with a watering can to discover the joys of caring for their very own garden.

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