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Learning At Home Activities

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Age Group: Preschool
Thirsty Celery
You will need:

Red and blue food colouring
2 clear plastic cups
2 stalks of celery
Water
Magnifying Glass

Directions:

Adult Guided Activity

Trim the bottom and top of the celery (adult only)
Put a small amount of food colouring in each of the plastic cups and fill them with water
Place a celery stalk in each cup and leave in a warm place overnight

Developing Investigation and Enquiry

Talk about what has happened to the celery stalks


  • Why do you think it has started to change colour?

  • How did the celery 'drink' the water?

  • How did the water get up the celery stalk?

  • Can you see the tiny tubes in the celery?


Introduce the word xylem to explain the tubes that transport up the stalk. Use the magnifying glass to see the xylem.

Tip:

Keeping Everyone Safe

Role model safe cutting when using a sharp knife to cut celery.


Age Group: Infant
Free Movement Activities
You will need:

Directions:

Babies need daily opportunities to move freely on their tummies in a variety of stimulating, safe spaces without constraints such as clothing, or straps in baby chairs.

Floor Time

Put your baby on the floor on different surfaces and materials, eg blankets, changing mat, and in different positions, eg, front, back and each side. This will encourage free movement and balance.

Tummy Time

- Let your baby have lots of tummy time from as early as possible - little and often is best. This will encourage neck and head control.

- Lie little one on your chest while sitting in a reclined position or lying down.

- Get down on the floor with your baby. This will help their balance, as they sense the ground beneath them.

- Encourage interaction through talking, singing and shaking toys.

- Incorporate tummy time into nappy changes.

- Interact with your baby in lots of different ways - talking about what you're doing and about what they're doing, singing and reading. This will encourage listening and moving.

- Spend time stroking their hands and feet using different soft items such as feathers, ribbons and cuddly toys, and hard items such as plastic toys. This is good for sensory stimulation.

- Carry your child in different positions - in arms, on shoulder, face down on forearm. This helps with their neck and head control.

Experience the Outdoors

Take your baby outside for a walk in a pram or place on a rug/blanket, or grass if dry, under a tree to watch the leaves. This will stimulate their senses.

Tip:


Age Group: Infant
Where's It Gone?
You will need:

A silky fabric scarf, fabric napkin or a tea towel
A selection of favourite toys

Directions:

This is best done sitting in front of your baby either on the floor or when your baby is seated in a highchair. Pop the scarf, tea towel or napkin over your face then pull it away quickly and say “Peek-a-Boo”. Repeat again and then invite your baby to pull the scarf, tea towel or napkin off to reveal your face. This becomes a game of great anticipation and fun as your baby discovers that you’ve not disappeared. Switch the game round and pop the scarf, tea towel or napkin over your baby’s face and say “Where’s ……. gone”? Watch as baby pulls the fabric away to reveal that they have not disappeared.

Extend the game by hiding a favourite object, such as a teddy, under the scarf, tea towel or napkin and saying “where’s Teddy gone”? As baby pulls the scarf, tea towel or napkin away to reveal teddy say “there’s Teddy”! This fun game of hide and seek is a great way to help develop the connection of the object and object name as you reinforce the name of the object by saying “where has ……. gone” and “there is ……”

Babies learn through repetition so don’t be surprised if this becomes a game that your baby indicates they want more of it!

Object Permanence

Object permanence is about understanding that when something disappears it has not gone forever and tends to begin to develop between 4-8 months of age. Before a baby begins to understands this concept, things that disappear from her view, such as something falls off the high chair tray or is covered over with an upside down bowl, are gone. Quite literally out of sight and out of mind. Developing object permanence is an important cognitive milestone. It is an essential foundation to learning for symbolic understanding (which a baby needs to develop language, pretend play, and exploration) and helps babies work through separation anxiety.

Tip:


Age Group: Preschool
Marvellous Magnetism
You will need:

A tray
Magnets
Various magnetic and non-magnetic materials
Paper to record results

Directions:

Adult Guided Activity

Provide your child with a tray of metal and non-metal objects and some magnets for experimentation and exploration.
Include some metal objects to which magnets do not stick, such as jewellery, to prompt curiosity and questions.
Create a chart with your child that lists (in words or pictures) the objects that are magnetic, and another for objects that are not magnetic.

Developing Investigation and Enquiry

Ask your child to guess if the magnet will pick the item up or not. Try it out and then record the result.

Introduce the word 'attract' as you explore if the magnet will pick up the item, "Will the magnet attract this?"


  • Ask your child to sort the items into those that are attracted and those that are not attracted to the magnet

  • Ask your child to think why some are attracted and others aren't.


Introduce the word words metal and metallic and then see what else they can find that is metallic that will attract the magnet.

Provide a range of metal objects and help them to understand that magnets stick only to objects made of materials such as nickel, iron and steel.

Further Exploration and Experimentation

Using magnets under a piece of cardboard, see what they can magically move across the cardboard.

Place paper clips on a clear plastic container and see what happens when the magnet is moved along the side.

Help them explore and discover that every magnet has a north and south pole. Help them explore that two north poles or two south poles will push away from each other and that opposite poles will attract one another.

Tip:


Age Groups: Infant, Preschool, Toddler
Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
You will need:

Directions:

Children love to have the opportunity to experience messy play; many children love to experience getting really, really messy - even playing in the dirt. In our clean environments we now sadly worry about this. However, there is a school of thought that indicates that getting dirty is actually quite important for children and something that children are actually programmed to do for reasons of survival.

The publication “The Dirt on Dirt” by the US based National Wildlife Federation summarises the benefits of playing in the mud for developing the immune system and preventing allergies. The Forest School movement advocates that playing outdoors also decreases children’s stress levels and improves their concentration abilities.

Many nurseries have developed “Mud Kitchens” where children can play in a hands on way, get stuck in and as messy as they like. As they get absorbed in squishing, moulding and mixing, their imaginations roam free. They spontaneously make potions, mud pies and develop their own little worlds.

If you have the opportunity to have a space in your garden to make a digging area where your child can also do this they will develop their own way of playing that will help them problem solve and encourage their own creativity. If you have no garden, go for walks in green spaces and gather natural materials to bring back and make potions on the kitchen table. Blossom trees and wild flowers are starting to spring up and these can be used for “magic”!

Different ways of learning emerge as we mature but learning through our senses is not something that we entirely lose throughout our lives; who hasn’t been reminded to use oven gloves by touching a hot pan? We don’t want children to learn everything this way but experiential learning does have an important place as it helps to develop understanding and skills and gives the brain important feedback.

For more information go to:
http://www.muddyfaces.co.uk/download/Making%20a%20mud%20kitchen.pdf
http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Dirt-is-Great.aspx

Tip: