Despite the sweltering heat throughout January the children and I managed to stay cool, calm and collected with a range of early morning activities outside, lots of water play on the deck and slow and quiet games when the temperatures soared in the afternoon!
Intentional Teaching… Our Sun Smart focus was a fantastic opportunity to discuss why we put sunscreen on but also encouraged independence and for some children it became a sensory experience as they became used to the feeling of the cream on their skin. We also dressed our dolls in appropriate clothing and referred to the Sun Smart poster to decide what was best for them to wear. The children enjoyed hanging the clothes from the line with pegs and pretending to take their babies to the pool and beach which might be a nice extension activity for the future.
For our fire safety activities we used small world play to explore what our fire services do within the community. With some of the older children we attempted to practise what we might do in an emergency, including calling 000. For the most part the children were eager to run around making siren noises with the fire engines and emergency services hats that I made for them! A good start to becoming more aware of who helps us in the community… We’ll follow on from this next month by completing a fire drill.
Popular Activities... Water play is usually the most popular regardless of weather and a water table is on offer out in the backyard now so I am keen to find ways to extend on this. I’ve noticed most children are interested in pouring water onto different surfaces and watching what happens so this might be something to explore further.
Our group focus this month has been on tidying up during transitions and setting the table for morning tea. Music is used as motivation to help tidy up but sometimes it becomes more of a distraction as my group of little ones begin to wriggle around to the music. We’ll continue with this routine but I’ll find ways to incorporate some tidying as we dance! When preparing for mealtimes most of the children are very focused and enjoy the idea of sitting together. I might include some activities in the play kitchen to practise how we set the table and have the children make placemats that show where to put a plate, cup and cutlery. Ultimately, I’d like the children to set the table, choose food from their lunch boxes with tongs and pour water into their cup! It’s ambitious but I think this might be a great focus for this year! Most of the children are eager to do these things so we can definitely achieve it!
Sandy paintings and fiery finger paintings were enjoyed by most although some weren’t keen on using their fingers to paint. Like the sunscreen, this activity indicates to me that we may need to incorporate more opportunities for sensory play to help the children become more familiar and comfortable with different textures.
Our loose parts in the backyard were very popular and working together to make an obstacle course was enjoyed by most. We’ll keep these items out and include more pieces over time to encourage creativity and imagination as well as utilising them to strengthen gross motor development.
We love dancing and our musical tubes from the Ballarat Toy Library have been a hit so we’ll keep them for another week. One child’s grandmother donated some containers recently so we have used some of these to make our own shakers by scooping rice and pasta into them.
Activities to consider… We haven’t begun our rocket ship yet which some of the children are interested in and I’m sure others will jump on board with it too! We now have lots of large boxes available so this will be fun to build and explore over the coming months.
Our fine motor activities were only enjoyed by a few this month so I may need to investigate some other ideas for those who found them difficult or were not interested in what was on offer. Threading beads onto pipe cleaners and our sun lacing activity were quite challenging for most and upon reflection they didn’t quite meet the needs of all the children due to their age and development. I will continue to offer these sorts of challenging activities but will ensure my under twos have access to activities that are appropriate and achievable.
Although we didn’t play any board games to focus on turn taking (the older children just didn’t seem interested this month!) we did shift this focus outside with our obstacle course. The children lined up one behind the other and began to understand the importance of not pushing past others as well as being patient when someone was in front of them. I am still keen to use age appropriate board games and might look for some at the Ballarat Toy Library to encourage this.
Everyday Experiences… We will continue to apply sunscreen, care for our garden, feed the guinea pigs, tidy up and set the table as part of everyday experiences. Encouraging independence and team work is a big part of what we do together each day and it’s wonderful to watch the children engage in these experiences so positively. It’s also lovely to see the children asking to do these ‘jobs’ so they have well and truly become a part of our every day learning.
Looking Forward…Over the next month the focus will be on ourselves and the people closest to us. I’m encouraging each family to send in photos of their child and family so we can make family books that children can access in the reading area. We’ll explore our emotions, how others make us feel and what family means. We’ll extend on some of January’s activities with the focus being on independence and perseverance which will tie in nicely with our focus as we think about ourselves and who we are. Another exciting month coming up!