Friday, 22 February 2013

Baby Play: Textures Treasure Basket

Babies love exploring things and small baskets of everyday objects, sometimes called treasure baskets, are brilliant for keeping them busy - for a little while!  We have a few different baskets and each week I change his basket for a different one and put the old one away for a little while.  Sometime I mix them up and make new ones too.  I find this keeps them fresh and provides new interest and also limits the amount of toys all over the floor that have to be cleared up!

 I found this basket of bath accessories in a charity shop just after a Christmas and with all those different textures to explore I thought it would be a great little basket for baby Boo.  At 9 months and being very happy to sit and have things brought to him by his big sisters he's at a great ages for exploring with these.

It contains:
Hair brush with plastic bristles
Nail brush with natural fibres
Texture back massage
Sponge wrapped in a textured mesh
Squishy body scrubber
Nail file.

It has proved very popular, he loves handling them all, feeling them,taken them in and out of the basket, trying to squash and squish and then of course he loves exploring them with his mouth!

One of our baskets contains our every popular discovery bottles (and it's not just Boo that enjoys playing with them either!)  I've also a few more I plan to share soon.

Also see here for a great summary of heuristic play and treasure baskets from The Imagination Tree.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Simple Science: Melting Snow


When it was snowing we did a ridiculously simple science experiment, asking the question: what happens to snow when you bring it indoors.  Science is all about good observational skills, questioning, recording, explaining and testing ideas, so we set about learning some of these.

First we started off by predicting what we thought might happen to the snow.  
Then we set about observing it regularly, (we should have really kept a timer to see how long it took.)  Each time we checked on it we described what we saw happening.
We tried to explain what was happening and why.  We looked up online about the structure of snowflakes and the structure of water (at a very basic level)
Finally we thought about what we could have done differently to make it a better test (e.g. putting a lid on the container, using a timer to record observations at set intervals, using a thermometer to record temperature, weighing the contents of the jug at the start and the end.)

So at a very basic level we covered the area that form the structure of  the academic scientific research journals of hypothesis, methodology, results, conclusions and discussion - all with just a measuring jug of snow.  And even us adults learnt something new - that as the snow melted it didn't just sink down, it formed a column in the middle of the jug first - now we've got to try and find out why this happened, just so you know even as adults we're always learning too!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Arctic Snowy Small World Play

Here's our simple arctic small world play made of scraps of fabric, some empty plastic pots and tin foil.  Last year we made this arctic snowy world play scene (picture below) with shaving foam, polystyrene and bubble bath.  

We also had lots of messy fun the other day with the shaving foam, doing it again this year.

This scene is out on a little table in the corner of our dining room and I'm frequently catching the girls playing with it.  I tend to leave something like this out for a few weeks to enable them to come back and play over time and develop their games and stories and then after a few weeks we'll change it into something else (And yes once again our antarctic emperor penguin is there with the arctic seals and polar bears, we've just pretended he's a different breed of penguin!)  


Some of the games I've managed to catch a glimpse of include: Lots and lots of rearranging, taking everything off and leaving only the light blue fabric to make it into an ice rink.  There have been boats added and various rescue attempts.  And of course the fairies have come to join the penguins and the seals a number of times.  We've had an ice cave created with some of the fabric for all the animals to live in too.

We've had fun learning a bit about the antarctic, mainly based around some of the picture books we have (see our collection of arctic and antarctic picture book stories) We've also looked up maps in our world atlas and done some ice and snow experiments.  Just a few simple ways to connect up some play-full learning for an inquisitive 4 year old and 2 year old.   
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