Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Monthly play roundup: A very busy July

Phew!!! July has been an absolutely crazy busy month for us here. So, so, so much to update but so very little time. Anyway before we get too far into this next month of August, I shall give you all a good, solid photo dump just to show you some snippets of just a few things that have been keeping me busy this past month in the family day care department…

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Scissor skills and cutting stations
A number of my kiddos have been showing a lot of interest in practicing their scissor skills. A simple activity I sometimes do is to draw some lines along plain paper for them to cut along. I also set up a scissor/cutting activity station to make some paper-patty-pan flowers for added dimension to our scissor practice.

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‘PERFECT SQUARE’
A fun book to extend on scissors and cutting activities is ‘Perfect Square’ by Michael Hall. We followed through with our own ‘perfect square’ craft activity. Each child started with their own perfect square of coloured paper. They then had free reign to use all the tools set out before them to see what they could create from their ‘perfect square’. Some creations had a clear subject, some were more abstract, while some children were just happy to just simply focus on the process of cutting and exploring the materials and tools at their own pace—which was perfectly fine too.

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Exploring shapes and patterns with coloured popsicle sticks
We’ve also been focusing a lot on shapes and pattern matching activities. I set up some activity trays with shapes and coloured pattern cards using coloured mini popsicle sticks for the children to explore and play around with. I also converted some of the coloured popsicle sticks into magnetic props with the aid of some sticky magnet strips for the children to play with on the magnet board, creating their own pictures and shapes.

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Extending learning on shapes and patterns
I extended on our pattern and shape exploration with other activities such as Lego/Duplo pattern cards, matching colourful bottle caps, and a shapes-pass-the-parcel-game. For the latter, I hid various magnetic shapes within each layer of nesting bowls. We then played a simple ‘pass-the-parcel’ game in a circle with music. Each time the music stopped, each person had a turn to open up a layer of the nesting bowls to reveal a magnetic shape and match it to the corresponding outline on the magnet board.

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Mini clothesline fine-motor activity
My personal favourite activity last month was this mini clothesline I set up with some string, pegs and fabric scraps. The children spent ages ‘hanging up’ the laundry on the mini clothesline. It was a terrific way to get the children practicing their fine-motor skills and strengthening their pincer grip with their fingers.

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‘STICK MAN’
Another favourite book we read several times over the past month was ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. And of course we had to make our own ‘stick men’ with sticks, leaves, googly eyes, and chenille pipecleaners for the limbs. We extended on this to use our ‘stick men’ for story-telling and role-play.

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Rainbow cookies and popcorn
We did some cooking and baking—rainbow cookies and popcorn. Perfect for these cold, wintry days we’ve been having lately. The popcorn was especially a fun cooking activity to do. I used our portable stove so the children could have a closer view of how popcorn actually ‘pops’. I started with showing them what the uncooked popcorn kernels looked like. I dropped a couple into the pot for the children to watch it pop. They shrieked in laughter and delight when they did. I poured the rest of the kernels in and I popped on the lid over the pot. The children giggled and laughed as they listened to the kernels popping away inside the pot. When the popcorn was all popped, I tossed it in some butter and salt and we all munched on it together for a special morning tea treat.

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Bird Watching
I borrowed a ‘Bird ID Toolkit’ from our library to extend on learning about birds as we often see many birds during our walks around the neighbourhood. The weather has not been the best over the week when we had the kit to maximise full use of it. But we did manage to spot the usual ducks (which are in abundance at the pond around our neighbourhood) and a family of beautiful Purple Swamphens.

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Staying dry and cosy indoors
On really wet days when we had to stay inside, we kept busy and active with lots of music and dancing, made cosy forts and tents, snuggled down with a good book, and did some stretches and exercise with Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube.

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Soaking up sunshine and fresh air outside
But at every opportunity, we would head outside as often as we could to soak up all the sunshine and fresh air. We made roads and towns with chalk on the ground to zoom our cars along, cooked gumnut pies in the play kitchen and sandpit outside, and made our own obstacle course with the outdoor play equipment.

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Heading out
Sometimes,we might head out to the park nearby or drive out to the play group in our area… just for a change in scenery and environment. But we’re always glad to be back home again.

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And that marks July off the calendar. Stay tuned later this month to see what we get up to in August.


If you enjoyed this post, you can check out last month’s roundup of activities and more of my other play and learning ideas. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup!

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