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  • Fun activities to incorporate Easter & spring into your learning setting

    Yes, it is nearly Easter! In addition to chocolate eggs, Easter incorporates many symbols of spring such as baby animals and flowers to represent the cycle of rebirth.

    Spring and Easter can incorporate so many wonderful learning opportunities and there are many Easter and spring craft ideas out there! In this article we have decided to look at how you can incorporate the key symbols of Easter and Spring into your every day learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage independent learning and child led activities.

    All of the activities can be easily differentiated for EYFS, KS1 or KS2, as well as ensuring the prime areas are covered. Some even produce a wonderful take home gift!

    Children will develop their personal, social and emotional skills, increase their confidence and expand their cognitive capacity. They will develop fine motor skills, learn about colours, maths, literacy, science and gain more understanding of the world whilst thinking they are covering Easter!

    Fingerprint Chicks for Numeracy

    Fingerprint chicks and counting Counting fingerprint chicks

    Fingerprint painting is a great way of creative counting! Using yellow paint, ask the children to imprint a number of fingerprints on the paper.

    An easy way to differentiate this is to use an orange marker or paper collage cut-outs for the eyes, feet and beaks. Don't forget to wait for the paint to dry before you draw beaks, feet and eyes! You can also tell children you need a certain number of chicks, ask them for one more or ask them to count how many they have hatched!

    Using wiggly eyes gives a lovely 3D effect. This is a great activity to do on pastel coloured card, it can be turned into a take home Easter card! You can include the painted chicks in your discussions about the season and the cycles in nature.

    Mark Making & Repeated Patterns on an Easter Egg

    Create a 2D Easter egg painting with colourful repeating patterns! Creating patterns develops the fine motor skills to facilitate pre-writing and is a great mark making exercise. Draw an outline of an egg on a large piece of A3 paper and get the children to decorate it using repeating patterns. For KS1 and KS2 this could be an independent activity, but guidance would be required for EYFS learners.

    There are a number of ways to create the patterns. You could use Easter sponge shapes, which are a great way of incorporating the Easter theme. You can use a selection of ready mix paints in pallets to dip your sponges in and print a series of patterns within the large egg.

    Repeating patterns on egg Repeating patterns using themed sponges

    You could also ask children to pinch pom poms with clothing pegs, dip them in different coloured paints and make repeated patterns on paper. These activities will aid a child's development in the seven areas of learning, with a large scope for differentiation.

    Some children may push or squeeze sponges too hard and lose definition in the final print. If a child struggles to produce defined shapes, a great alternative is to use Easter stencils. In this case, any shape of sponge or paint brush can be used to apply paint to the stencils - children could always use markers instead of paints.

    Easter stencilling working the fine motor skills using sponges and painbrushes Easter stencilling in action - working the fine motor skills using sponges and paint brushes.

    Flower Making

    Easter falls around the spring season, the time of year when flowers come into bloom. Tissue circles encourage young children to create flowers independently through simple layering, twisting and gluing. You can use green pipecleaners or paper art straws for the stem. The flowers can be incorporated into discussions about seasons. Using the different colours of tissue paper is another way to investigate patterns.

    They could even include a picture of themselves or their family photo in the centre, using the tissue flower circles as a frame around the photo highlighting that it is a special family time!

    Tissue circle flower making - eyfs ks1 Tissue circle flower making

    Plastic Egg & Marbling Ink Exploration

    Use plastic marbling eggs to incorporate elements of science! The children will progress with their ability to explore physical processes and make observations. Children will have fun creating their own patterned eggs exploring colour mixing and patterns. Any discussion on this activity can help children to naturally extend their vocabulary with new words, i.e. ripples, wavy.

    BCreative provide all kinds of marbling inksfluorescent, metallic and normal colour ranges. The process involves dropping ink onto the surface of water and using a small stick to lightly draw patterns in the liquid mix. Gently dip and roll the plastic egg on the liquid surface and the ink should adhere to the egg surface. Are the eggs taking too long to dry? Extend the experience by adding a hair dryer in the final stages to speed up the drying process of the eggs. Children will get to observe the additional processes of temperature (hot and cold) and texture (dry and wet). Ensure that all children wear protective clothing as the this product is oil based.

    Plastic egg marbling ink Plastic egg marbling ink

    Maths & Literacy with Polystyrene Eggs 

    Use different sized polystyrene egg shapes, to play a ‘sorting by size’ game with Easter baskets. Ask children to pick the eggs and sort them into groups of small, medium and large. This is a great opportunity for counting and introducing natural discussions on weight (heavier or lighter), quantities (bigger or smaller) and sizes (more or less).

    Why not incorporate maths and literacy? Colour code and number your eggs and encourage children to match the numbered egg with the numbered basket/container. You could always use them in counting games and order the numbered eggs into an egg box. To incorporate literacy simply add letters of the alphabet instead of numbers.

    You could also use the eggs for an Easter egg hunt, once decorated by the children. Children could be set the task of finding specific coloured, numbered or lettered eggs. Ready mix paint or collage materials are best for egg decoration. For after school clubs it might be practical to use felt tip pens to decorate the polystyrene eggs.

    Polystyrene Egg Chicks

    The polystyrene egg shapes also make great collage Easter chick figures. You can talk about the hatching of chicks, life cycles and seasonal changes. Use the polystyrene egg to show the process of an egg developing into a chick. You could nestle the class chicks in raffia/straw nests in a classroom display area. The smooth polystyrene egg surface is great for collage or ready mix painting and free expression. Children could use pva glue to stick yellow feathers, wiggly eyes and orange card (for the beaks and feet) onto their egg shapes. Create little characters and build on a child's understanding of the world around them! These can be included in the Easter sensory tray mentioned below.

    Polystyrene egg chick Easter Polystyrene egg chick for literacy and themed sensory exploration.

    Matching Bunny Tails

    Develop children's visual recognition using matching games. Matching pom-pom bunny tails to the right bunny can be a great independent maths activity. Use white bunny cut-outs with a colour word written on each one. The children learn to read the written version of the colour, in addition to matching and sticking the right coloured pom pom.

    You could also do a simpler version using coloured bunny cut outs. Children can match through colour visual recognition. If you laminate the bunnies you can use this as a regular class exercise. You can use Velcro or white /blue tack, otherwise use pva glue for take home gifts.

    Download a free copy of the BCreative Bunny Tail Matching Game templates to save time!

    Matching Bunny Tails Matching Bunny Tails

    Easter Sensory Investigation Tray

    A tray filled with colourful objects and textures is a great sensory activity for Easter time. It promotes the use of all the senses and can be incorporated into the wider discussion about Easter/ spring time.

    Children can investigate and explore materials, shapes, sizes, textures and colours. This will help emotional development and build a positive sensory association to the theme and the overall memory of learning.

    Here are some fun things you can include: different sized polystyrene and plastic eggs, Easter spangles, yellow coloured pom-poms and feathers, mixed coloured raffia, mixed coloured feathers, yellow craft fluff or cotton wool and other related topic objects (i.e. small bunnies and chick toys). Children can use items from the sensory trays to tell their own stories.

    Story of Easter with Jesus

    For literacy and religious education there is a lovely video featured on CBeebies called 'Lets Celebrate Easter Performance' using recorded live sand art and story telling!

    Visit our YouTube channel for more videos of the featured activities in this article!

     

    Follow Economy of Brighton BCreative's board Easter Ideas for Early Years (EYFS) on Pinterest.

  • Are you ready for January? New Year, Restart!

     

    Soon we will be heading off on our well-deserved Christmas break (some of us earlier than others!)  When things start to wind down, you may want to take 5 minutes and think about Spring Term! You don't need to get it all done, you can make sure you've jotted it down on your list somewhere before you go off to enjoy your lovely break!

     


     

    Spring Term (well, Winter really!)

     

    January is traditionally known as Spring Term even though a glimpse of sunshine feels so far away! Based on the weather, we tend to feel more wintry when we go back and this brings a whole new set of things to think about!

     

    What, Christmas is over?

     

    Yep, it took nearly four months to celebrate it (well, it feels like it!), but it's finally over and someone needs to tell the kids!  Hopefully you charges will return to your setting with a hop and a skip, but there may need to be a little bit of management!

    We all love the Christmas break, but it does throw routine well out of the window. Children will have had the excitement of Father Christmas, late nights, late wake-ups and more Mum/Dad/ carer time. All of these things combined can spell disaster and disrupt those routines you spent so long introducing in September.

    Now is a good time to think about revamping your visual timetables and self registration methods.

    Visual Timetables

    Visual timetables are a great way to reinforce what is going to happen throughout the day. Talking through the timetable welcomes children back and reintroduces the routine of your setting. This is perfect for children who are feeling apprehensive, but it also helps to focus excitable children ! The best thing about visual timetables is that they can be differentiated for all - use a mix of text and words, let the children announce what is next or remove an activity that has been completed.

     

    from Rainbowswithinreach From Rainbowswithinreach
    From Pinterest From Pinterest

    If you want to refresh your timetable, www.twinkl.co.uk have a great range of free print outs.

    Self Registration

    You may already be using self registration, but if not, January is a good time to start! The older children like the responsibility and younger children can be taught by example.

    If you haven't got an all singing and all dancing electronic whiteboard, you can get quite creative with your self registration process!

    The self registration tree not only looks great, but links in with topics season topics (spring and winter). Take pictures of the children and stick them onto the small colourful hands. When children arrive they can find their picture and attach it to Velcro on the tree.

    A great display pieces that come with hands to stick on A great display piece that comes with hands to stick on

    For differentiation, you can add names to the hands instead of pictures. As term progresses, you can add surnames to the first names.

    Here are some more great examples:

     

    Using penguins to see who is in and who is out from Pinterest Using penguins to see who is in and who is out. Found on Pinterest.
    self reg shells Great use of shells for self registration. Found on Pinterest.

    Is the setting ready?

    What else do we need to think about for the start of the new term (other than taking down Christmas decorations)?

    To be honest, once the decorations are down, any setting will look a little bleak. You'll probably want to think about revamping your display boards!

    Do you need new borders for your display boards?

    Do your information boards need updating? For example, are there any new procedures, new staff, new achievements, new Spring menus? It's always a good idea to write a handy little list -  you don't have to do it all before the break but at least you have an idea of what needs doing!

    The colder weather will bring new challenges including the dreaded flu season!

    Take a look at this document for Winter Readiness from Public Health England. It's mainly aimed at Sussex, Kent and Surrey, but it is pertinent for all!

    It includes key messages for staff and parents and a helpful checklist for making sure you are doing everything to prevent flu and norovirus spreading.

    There's also some brilliant information on flu vaccines and who should be getting them this year!

    There are some lovely free posters to download and stick up as well ! Below are just two examples:

     

    Stop colds and flu spreading poster Stop colds and flu spreading poster
    handwash How to wash your hands and why

    Outside Provision

    Baby it's cold outside, but the kids will still be out there!

    Outdoor play is a year round activity for children but we need to ensure it's as safe as possible!

    Before you go on break, however long or short,  here are some things to consider:

    • Tidy away toys that would be happier inside (if a frost strikes)
    • Do you need to cover up sand trays and pits?
    • Do you need new play sand?
    • Are you growing any vegetables that need protection from frost?
    • Have you left a tuff tray out to see if you can gather ice?
    • Think about leaving a larger container out  (like a washing up bowl) and filling it with water & small toys. If the weather gets really cold,  you should come back to an ice excavation block!

     

    From Counting Coconut blog

    And now, last but not least, send a note home asking children to return with hats, gloves, scarves and outdoor shoes (all labelled with their name), so they can enjoy the outdoor area you provide for them!

     


     

    Join us next week where we will be discussing display ideas for  popular Spring Time topics.