Understanding the world

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.

Physical development: Take a walk

The books of Emily Gravett provide a great focus for activities such as walking to the post box to post a letter home, going on a litter pick to clean up the environment or making and operating a finger puppet.

Literacy: Embrace the planet

Activities linked to the natural environment and its wildlife will encourage children to source information from reference books, record facts in writing and use different formats such as captions, labels and speech bubbles.

Maths: Master bakers

Easter baking is an opportunity to practise problem solving. Do children know what to do if they take their cakes out of the oven and they are not properly baked yet? How can they tell if a cake is cooked all the way through? It's time to decide!

Forest school: Working its magic

Maureen Lee describes how a study visit to Denmark has inspired a group of practitioners to take their forest school practice to the next level and use it as a springboard for important research.

Born into a digital world

With some children accessing technology for disproportionate amounts of time at home, how important is it for settings to try to combat the negative effects of screen-time?

Understanding the world: Beautiful butterflies

Butterflies will enjoy a national day of celebration on March 14. Make it a date for children to explore their characteristics and habitats with the help of resources available from the Wildlife Trusts. It's a great excuse to get outdoors and study nature.

Understanding the world: Banging on

What could be more fun than making your own musical instruments? Start with these simple ideas using recycled objects to inspire children's love of music and appreciation of how sounds are made.

Understanding the world: From trash to treasure

What goes on at your local recycling centre is often a subject of fascination for children. Karen Hart suggests ways to build on this curiosity with activities which will help them to understand the importance of managing waste and recycling unwanted objects.

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