Cocka-doodle-dooo! Not only is it now the brand New Year of 2017 but we also have the pleasure of celebrating this January month the new Chinese New Year of the Rooster!
There are some lovely themed days you can incorporate into your learning planning this winter term; the snowman, SOS day, ancient storytelling week, Winnie the Pooh, kid inventors, bird watch week, Martin Luther King day and so much more!
'Calendars are not just for Christmas' - have a look at our article for these card calendars on the right hand side image, great for a start of the year calendar making activity. Children in EYFS and primary age groups will enjoy creating their own images in the blank space. You could do a 'seasons' themed one in early years splitting the square into the 4 monthly seasons. Have a read here.
We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!
Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to - help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:
New Year's Day 1st Jan 2017 It’s the beginning of a new year and a time for new year resolutions. You could make new years calendars using calendar tabs or order our A4 2017 calendar blanks in different colours for children to make their own take-home calendars for the new year ahead. This activity is great for early years and young primary age groups. Visit the BCreative article for ideas. Visit our New Years blank Calendar Activity for Early years and Primary learning settings! World Braille Day 4th Jan Braille is a system of reading and writing used by people who are fully blind or visually impaired. On this day all around the world people commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille who invented this system in 1824. He was born in France on the 4th of January 1809 and died on the 6th of January 1852. Blinded by an accident in both eyes in his early years, he mastered his disability and gave the gift of a new communication system to the world. His blindness didn’t deter him from excelling in his education; he excelled so much in his youth that he gained a scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. A great role model for children – ‘Anything is possible’ and ‘there are no limits’, just new ideas to be dreamed. He’s a great example to use in education when it comes to ‘problem solving’ topics. royalblind.org Little Christmas
6th Jan The twelfth day of Christmas is here. Women were traditionally given this day to rest and take leave of their house hold duties. For Christians this is the day of the Epiphany, deriving from the Greek word 'epiphaneia', meaning ‘manifestation’. On this Christian feast day we celebrate the revelation of God and his son Jesus Christ having being born in human form. Makar Sankranti 14th Jan The Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti (Makar dering from the Capricorn zodiac sign) celebrates the celestial path and transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). It is celebrated in India and Nepal. For Hindu’s this is tied into their winter solstice. Our winter solstice in the UK began on the scientific day 21st of Dec, the point at which the day light will begin to increase again in our part of the earth’s sphere. Martin Luther King Day 16th Jan Celebrate Baptist minister, activist and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King. Born January 15th 1929 and died April 4th 1968, Mr King is one of the most memorable and iconic figures for black history topics. Let us not forget his most famous speech “I have dream...”. In 1964 he even received the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful combat of racial inequality and non violent resistance in the face of racial discord. thekingcenter.org Kid's Inventors Day
17th Jan Celebrate & encourage today’s child inventors to continue to inspire the future generations of child inventors. This could be a nice time to set a challenge for young children. Did you know the trampoline was first invented by 16-year-old George Nissen? Or did you know that the first lollipop stick was first invented by eleven-year-old Frank Epperson? Set your children a challenge and give them room to meet it. The K.I.D website includes tips to guide children on the right path of discovery. kidinventorsday.com Winnie The Pooh Day 18th Jan We celebrate one of the world’s most famous and lovable bear ‘Winnie The Pooh’ on the birthday of his creator and author A.A Milne. This lovable wise bear is a great teacher for children covering PSHE topics like feelings, how we should treat others, friendship, patience and so many valuable life lessons. In the words of Pooh bear “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference”. Find more quotes here.
social media tags: #WDOSM
Winnie The Pooh Quotes World Day of the Snowman 18th Jan Great topic for the winter term: Celebrate in your learning setting one of the most iconic symbols of winter – the snowman. Here are some Ideas:
- You could hold an arts & crafts session for children to make & decorate their own snowman using either of the following; polystyrene balls, craft fluff or white pom poms.
- You could plan a literacy session based on Raymond Brigg’s ‘The Snowman’.
- Or make prints and build an Olaf; the most recent famous Disney snowman from ‘Frozen’ for children to put together independently.
Use the ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ (from Frozen) theme song for the day whilst building a snowman in EYFS.
worlddayofsnowman.com SOS Radio Day 21st - 29th Jan Britain & Ireland can get very rough seas throughout the year; this leads to even the most experienced sailors getting caught up in mighty storms. The RNLI fundraiser and special day keeps our British lifeboats at sea. You could plan ‘seaside’ themed learning activities in class today. SOS day in it's self is on the 27th Jan. Download a free 'seaside' learning support pack from Twinkle here. sosradioweek.org.uk National Storytelling Week 24th Jan - 4th Feb Raise awareness of the ancient art form of oral storytelling! It’s a week of stories being shared amongst children and adults all over the UK. Is your learning setting getting involved? Are you hosting an event? There will be events being held in libraries, theatres, bookshops, museums, schools and lots more public spaces. Want to know more visit the Society of Storytelling website for more info. sfs.org.uk Indian Republic Day 26th Jan Celebrating the day when Indian declared itself a Sovereign Democratic Republic State with the adoption of the Constitution in 1950. You could cover religious topic mentioning Hinduism and festivals throughout the year celebrated in Indian. You could also incorporate Britain’s history with India and why we now have such a deeply intertwined relationship and large Indian community within the UK. This would cross over with the British Values area of learning. knowindia.gov.in Australia Day 26th Jan It is the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at this site by Governor Arthur Phillip. Again this is also a day which is part of our British history and could be incorporated into the British Values area of learning. australiaday.org.au Holocaust Memorial Day 27th Jan Today we pay remembrance to the anniversary of the date the Jews were liberated from the Nazi camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Let us continue to learn and not allow the mistakes of the past to ever repeat. This could fall nicely into PSHE area of learning with talks of feelings, friendships and a discussion on what it means ‘to treat others as you would like to be treated’. hmd.org.uk Chinese New Year 28th Jan We say goodbye to the year of the monkey and welcome the new Chinese year of the rooster. This may be your year if you are born in any of the following years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1969, 1957, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2017. The rooster is the most motivated of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac. Are there any little roosters in your learning setting? Traditionally the Chinese new year’s dragon is always present to bring in the new year for good luck. Make a paper dragon in early years or primary classes this year. Chinese New Year's Dragon Craft Activities for EYFS & Primary Children Big Garden Bird Watch Week 28th - 30th Jan Create awareness and appreciation for our nation’s bird diversity in your learning setting during the Big Garden Bird Watch Week. The event began end of the 1800’s to discourage the use of bird feathers in women’s hats and spread the love, respect and safety of British birds. Perhaps set up a class made bird box outside the classroom? Or make mini birds in nest in early years? This is a lovely topic to tie into nature, understand the world, poetry, British values and habitats topics. Visit the RSPB site for more info. rspb.org.uk
You can also find lots of educational crafty ideas for 'all year round' areas of learning and celebrations on the Bcreativetolearn Pinterest Boards.
It's the Asian new lunar year and Chinese New Year (Gung hay fat choy) of the Monkey! This celebration (21 Jan-20 Feb) originates from Taoism belief that our world is guided and influenced by spirits with the supreme Jade Emperor deity. People turn to the deity to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new year. In celebrations the colourful dancing dragons symbolise hopefulness, reunion and good luck!
Dragon Paper Cup Puppet!
This first activity is great for early years! An inclusive task which can be completed in a groups - ideal for children who attend lots of sessions and can work towards building a Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet! Once completed, children can do the famous lion dance. This delightful dance represents energy, strength and bravery needed for the new year ahead!
What do we need:
- Paper cups
- Coloured paper
- Marker pens
- Sticky tape
How to do it!
Hanging up your puppet dragon:
- Give each child a cup to decorate, it's up to them how to decorate it! These handy decorating ideas are great: repeating patterns, pre-cut geometric shapes, paint and pens for mark making/ colouring, glitter glue and sugar paper collage.
- Draw the dragon's mouth and teeth on one paper cup (this cup will need to be put on at the start of the string chain). Don't forget to spare two cups for the eyes later on!
- After children have decorated the rest of the cups, make a small hole in the centre of the cup on its base. This will need to be done on each decorated cup, we found a sharp pencil worked best.
- Take your long piece of string and tie a knot at the end of it, thread it through the cup hole and tie another knot on the other side of the hole. This is a great threading opportunity for children to have a go at!
- Tie another knot in the string the length of each cup (roughly 6cm) from the base of the first cup and keep repeating the same process for each cup, always leaving an equal distance.
- Staple two spare cups together and use sticky tape to stick them to the second to last cup of the body (these are your dragon eyes.)
- For the eyes, you can scrunch up paper to make balls, draw the pupils with a marker and glue them to the inside of each stapled cup.
- Finish decorating the eyes with cut out card eye lashes and glue them around the cup lip.
- Make level holes through the eye cups and then loop through a long piece of string. Attach both ends of your string.
- Half way through the dragon's body, pierce a second hole and feed another piece of string through. Secure by tying a knot or with tape.
- Add more strings along the body depending on how long your dragon's body is.
- Tie all the string pieces to your stick to create a curved shaped body.
- Try tying strings to a withy so you can make the dragon dance!
- Decorating each cup could be made into a sensory play experience for children. Use paints in a tray with glitter, essences and flavours!
- Mix PVA glue with paint to give a nice shiny finish.
- Let children get involved in choosing colours and mixing paints.
- Let children decorate their cups with pre-cut shapes and give free range of decorating choices: paints, glitter, coloured pencils and felt tips.
- Let children get involved in the final stages of attaching the hanging strings (with assistance).
- Children can hold a section of the dragon on the stick and do a group version of the traditional lion dance. Prepare familiar music so that children can sing and dance along.
- The dragon should look curvy once tied to the string - it should have some motion.
Areas of learning covered by the activity: Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, mark making, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, communication, social/emotional development, SEN, problem solving and reasoning.
Folding Paper Dragon!
This second dragon making activity is a great individual task for Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils! They can work towards building a Chinese New Year Paper Dragon! This amazing activity encourages children to work on 3D designs and shape making within the mathematics, art and design curriculum.
What do we need:
- Thin card
- Felt tip pens
- Tissue paper
- Sticky tape
- Two crafting sticks
How to do it!
- Draw a small to medium size dragon's head on a piece of paper. Decorate the head with colouring pencils, felt tips and glitter.
- Once dry, cut out the dragon head.
- Cut out thin strips of tissue paper (a mixture of different colours looks great).
- Glue strips of tissue paper to the dragon's head to act as flying ribbons.
- Stick two strips of long card together (two different colours work best) in a square shape angle to make the dragon's body. Achieve a concertina effect by folding one strip on top of the other continuously.
- Glue or stick tissue paper strips at the end for the dragon's tail.
- Attach two crafting sticks with sticky tape, one to the back of the dragon's head and one to the tail.
- You can have the tissue paper and paper strips already cut ready for pupils to select.
- Children can design and draw their own dragon head.
- Let children get involved in choosing their dragon colours.
- You may be able to find and photocopy a pre-selected dragon head to be coloured in and cut out by pupils.
- The springy bouncy dragon could be put into cards for a pop out 3D effect or as a wall decoration.
Areas of learning covered by the activity: Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, SEN, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics (measuring - length - sequencing - shapes - ordering - analysing - 3D), communication, problem solving and reasoning.
Join us next week for our blog on perfect paint and colour mixing !
For more Chinese New Years craft ideas for kids follow our BCreative Pinterest board @ http://bit.ly/1Qhwq4l !
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 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.
If you want to refresh your timetable, www.twinkl.co.uk have a great range of free print outs.
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.
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:
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:
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!
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.
These calendars make great festive gifts that last throughout the year. Everyone sends home a calendar at Christmas so we thought why not make them a bit different. These ideas mean that a loved one can use the calendar all year round! It’s also a great way to link the seasons in EYFS, even when you are doing sticking fine motor tasks. Talk about seasons, festivals, time and have lots of fun!
Reveal the Seasons!
This year you can make a round calendar by using calendar tabs or calendar blanks (they still look amazing!) This is a great activity to start off the January term if you don't have enough time before the festive break.
What do we need:
- Calendar blank or calendar tab
- Coloured Card
- Paper Fasteners
- Pens / Pencils / Crayons
- Modelling dough / Blu Tac
- Cut out a circle of card or paper
- Fold into quarters, then unfold so the quarter line can be seen
- Add an image or words to represent each season (one per quarter)
- Stick on to the calendar blank or card you will attach the calendar tab to
- Cut another circle of card or paper
- Fold into a quarter and unfold
- Cut out one quarter ( you should be left with a Pac-man shape!)
- Place on top of your season circle
- Find the middle of both with a sharp pencil, place some modelling dough underneath and push the pencil through to make a hole through all three sheets of card (you could always use a compass!)
- Push a paper fastener though the hole and bend back to fasten
- Now the top cut out circle can be moved to show the current season
- Discuss quarters and other fractions
- Discuss seasons and how the year can be divided into quarters
- Have a circle pre-cut or allow children to find objects to act as templates. They can then create the circles themselves
- Provide collage items to represent the seasons (see below for a few ideas!)
Areas of learning covered by this activity:
- Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, science, problem solving and reasoning
The ideas we've mentioned above are just one way of decorating your own calendar. Have a look at these other great ideas for making calendars that last all year!
2 more ideas:
You could also use silver card on the calendar and turn it into a mirror, you can then incorporate it into PSED.
There are loads of ideas out there so feel free to share yours with us!
Visit our article discussing display ideas that will start off the new term with a bang!