Monthly Archives: August 2015

The exciting life of…. 


Oh yes.. I’m talking about the beauty of turning a simple flimsy bit of copier paper in to a glossy, reusable, long lasting show piece!

As I spent 5 hours yesterday morning (on a Saturday #committed) laminating a variety of children’s pictures, I pondered on life without a laminator!

Literally 5 minutes later and it broke! After a frantic plea to super hubby.. He dashed off to Staples to buy a new one! 

I genuinely couldn’t do without a laminator at nursery.. We laminate the children’s names and photos in a variety of sizes for pegs, registration, key worker boards and allergy place mats.

We encourage new children’s parents to bring in a selection of family photos that we turn in to family books and then add them to the book corner, they really help to settle the children in to nursery. 

We also encourage the Pre-schoolers to make up their own stories, we normally have to write the story as they tell us it, but then they add pictures, then of course we laminate them so they last!

We create “having fun in nursery books” which have lots of photos of the children joining in on all the fantastic activities my awesome team provide.

We also have created some garden health and safety checklists for the children. There are photos on them; a box of tissues, a photo of the slide nice and dry and the gate locked at the black of the garden.  There are little boxes by the photos so that they can go around checking off the potential risks and discuss what might happen, if for example the slide was wet!  We laminate these to so we can reuse them!

We’ve also mounted some different photos of animals with the caption “can you draw a…” We’ve laminated them and popped them in the writing/mark making area to encourage them to draw with a purpose in mind!

In a previous setting the ladies laminated leaves and added them to water play, the children loved it and it opened up loads of conversations about different parts of the leaf.

However note to self; you can not laminate the following:

  • Sticks
  • Bumpy textured collages
  • Sticks (yes we tried more than once) with berries on!

Although the berry laminating disaster of 2013 led to the laminator never quite working the same way again, it did smell of Ribena for about two weeks after!

Meet Carla… Space Explorer!

I’d like to introduce you to Carla… Space Explorer!

Children should believe that they can be whatever they want to be!!!

I think they’ll be more to come from Carla…

Have a fantastic Friday everybody…

Look up at the sky at night,
Do you see those flashing lights?
They might be stars or planes in flight,
But don’t forget about the satellites!

Satellite 9 is worth a mention,
So sit tight and pay attention,
Because this satellite is searching for a,
Super splendiferous space explorer!

It’s searching for budding astronauts,
From the very day that they’re born,
Checking to see if they have what it takes,
To survive in the environment of out of space!

One such girl who caught there eye,
Was Carla Simpson from Pearl Way Drive,
She’s always shone out from all the rest,
But why does Carla seem the best?

Well since the age of 2 years and 1 month,
Carla has managed to eat all her lunch,
Not complaining about anything being green,
Enjoying a selection of vegetables and meat.

She’s shown other talents such as great hygiene,
Brushing her teeth as part of her daily routine,
Brushing her hair, keeping her room spic and span,
And helping her Mum and Dad out whenever she can.

But most of all Carla just loves to explore,
Knowing an adventure can be found behind every door,
She makes the best out of every situation,
And this is why she received a very special invitation.

It was on a Tuesday in the month of June,
The letter arrived and Carla knew,
That whatever was inside was going to change her life,
Perhaps because it said this all along the side!

She carefully opened the envelope and read out aloud,
“Carla you have been selected to come aboard,
The training space explorer ship name Cancord,
You’ve been observed and we all agree,
That you’ve got what it takes to explore the galaxy”!

The rest was a blur as Carla started to scream,
“Mum, Dad come quick you have to come see,
Finally I’ve been spotted, no longer ignored,
You must help me pack I’m off to explore”!

Her Dad said “Calm down Carla, we need to look in to this”,
So they dialed the number on the given contact list,
10 minutes later when Carla could wait no more,
Dad said with a grin ” well Mum she’s really off on tour,
Of Space, the Galaxy, the Milky Way,
Our little angel, I never thought I’d see the day”!

He also added an extra dimension,
Something the invitation had failed to mention,
That they’d all go along and explore together,
Hardly your average family adventure!

The next morning they followed the directions on the invitation,
And soon arrived at a field just round the corner from Oxbury Station,
And within seconds, out of the sky came the most amazing sight,
The Cancord space explorer training ship in full flight,

After it had landed, out of the door,
Came a friendly looking lady by the name of Eleanor,
She shook Carla by the hand and said,
“We’ve been waiting for forever to come and land…

To meet a girl with such great explorer potential,
Is amazing, terrific and completely essential,
We need to start the training straight away,
So please follow me to the family bay”.

As they walked on the ship, Carla knew for sure,
It was her destiny to explore,
And as the count down began from 10 down to one,
There was no turning back for the fun had just begun!

Her mind raced with ideas of what she might see,
In there journey across the Galaxy,
Aliens, stars and planets, what else was in store?
Well you’ll have to join us next time to find out more,
To discover how their lives will all be changed forever,
So come along if your brave enough and we’ll all explore together!

We’re going on a …..

Bear hunt, bug hunt, colour hunt, number hunt, transport hunt!!

I love “We’re going on a bear hunt” it’s a great story that children can learn quickly due to its repetitive structure!

The children at nursery love to go on a bear hunt… You can really bring the story to life by printing off some bear paws and hiding them around your nursery, house or garden!

Then hide a teddy bear somewhere and let the bear prints lead them to it.

Inspired by the bear hunt success at nursery, I knew they would love to go on hunts for all different types of stuff!

I created a number of sheets on word. It’s so easy to do.. Just choose the topic; for example colours and put different coloured splodges on the page with the colour name written underneath them and add a little box under each one. At nursery I laminate them, the children use whiteboard pens when going on the hunt- you can then wipe them and reuse!

Then off you go, a clip board always comes in useful! You can go on a Colour hunt in your house, around your garden or when your just out and about. As your child see’s the colour they can tick it off!

You can make the same style of sheets for numbers, shapes, bugs or transport!

Your children will be:

  • Noticing features in their environments;
  • Recognising colours, numbers and shapes;
  • Expanding their vocabulary and developing their listening and attention skills.

You can also create sheets that are geared towards your children’s particular interests.

I visited Woburn Safari Park the other day here is the wild Animal Hunt I created!

At nursery we also use this fantastic Mini Beast Hunt sheet from

Follow me on Twitter @learning4play and like my Facebook page “Learning Through Play is Easy”.

Sneaky ways to get children to write.. 

Often I’m asked by parents if they should be worried that their children aren’t interested in writing. 

Firstly don’t worry not every child will be interested in the same things, secondly always remember: LEARNING THROUGH PLAY… If you always think about the play, the fun, what sparks your children’s interests then you can add some of the sneaky ways I’ve found that work an absolute treat when to it comes to encouraging them to write! 

Clip boards are fantastic!  Add them to construction areas, home corners in fact any where you like.

At nursery we have them all over, the children love using them as part of their imaginative play.

Lists – they love to make lists, shopping lists are awesome. When you are planning on going to the supermarket get your children to write a list, it might be random squiggles, they might want to draw pictures of the food they want- but it all helps them to develop their writing skills.

If they do start to take an interest in writing, don’t think those random squiggles are meaningless. Over time those squiggles will get less squiggly and they might be written in lines, from the left to the right of the page, these are key signs that your children are learning how to write and that they understand that words on paper have meaning! 

Have fun! 

A box is not a box…. 

It’s not you know, it genuinely isn’t… It may just look like a cardboard cube otherwise known as erm a box.. 

However… As my fantastic nursery team and husband will know I believe that a box however big or small should never, NEVER be thrown away!

Currently my nursery reception is rocking a structure built by the children.. Several parents have asked “is it the Taj Mahal?” That wasn’t the children’s intention when building and decorating it it  but to me it should be one of the wonders of the world!

Boxes offer limitless play and learning opportunities- seriously…. 

I don’t know what a “transmogrifier” but it sounds pretty awesome.. 

Anyhoo… Not only can children turn it in to what ever they darn well please boxes can also be used for construction and junk modelling. 

At nursery the children love a group project. Prior to the “Taj Mahal” there was a dragon – the children spent varying amounts of time over a two week period painting boxes green (they wanted a green dragon), shredding up tissue paper to make fire and practicing their scissor skills by cutting up card for the dragon spikes. 

The end result was an awesome 4 ft dragon. Not only were they exploring colours and textures but they also worked together, took turns and communicated their preferences. All their ideas and contributions were praised by their peers and this all helps with their personal social and emotional development.

At Home…

 You could use a box to make a space ship, fold the sides out and it gives it wings! Pull the front flap up and you have a control deck! If you don’t mind some potential mess, mix up some black paint with pva glue – let your children paint the whole box, rip up/ cut some foil to add some shine, and tape on milk bottle tops as buttons for the control deck! 

The learning opportunities are fantastic too, they will be developing their communication skills from the start as you talk through how you are going to build it. 

Once the space ship is created you can encourage more communication as they play imaginatively with you as their co pilot or their friends. 

You can also chuck some mathematical communication in to the mix by encouraging them to use positional language when creating the box, words like top, bottom, inside, outside etc. 

They will also be using their imagination, being creative, spending time working together to reach a goal and most importantly having loads of fun! 

There are so many more ideas on Pinterest just search “cardboard box play” or “junk modelling”. 

And please if your moving save those boxes, or stick them on freecycle… There’s bound to be people like me who will put them to good use!