the very hungry caterpillar – activity 1

17 06 2011

We’ve done many activities with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. We have a story sack to bring the book to life which has the caterpillar and butterfly hand puppets and the right number of fruit and foods he eats. As LBM has begun learning numbers and can count to ten consistently (he’s 3)  this is an obvious choice of a book when it comes to engaging children in counting and reinforcing one to one correspondence which is a vital stage in learning to count. (one item counts for one number every time) I was lucky enough to find plastic food trays with five compartments in them and numbered them using pictures from the internet. The tray was a hit especially as you can’t quite fit the five oranges in it and one pops out every time you manage to get them all in! My plan had been for him to use the same tray for each separate fruit and see how different it looked when filling it with only one apple or with four strawberries etc. It was all going to be one to one correspondence practice and visually seeing how one item corresponded with a number. However, I ended up making plastic trays for each fruit so it’s easier to to sort them into the right numbers. Finding a tray with four compartments was hard work – eating the dips was less hard…These trays will be useful for any kind of counting and I think I’ll use them in the future when we start considering mathematical concepts like taking away and adding (not till after school age though!)The Very Hungry Caterpillar Part 1


A is for alphabet pot

17 06 2011

These are our Alphabet Pots. Alphabet Pots have been one of those things that take quite a long time to put together and you really have to search around to find the right type of things. I’m sure I’ve spent more than if I’d bought them from an early years supplier but it’s been fun anyway! The aim is to collect lots of little items and sort them into the initial letter pot. Appeals to a toddler desire to play with things, to sort and to categorise thus achieving both letter knowledge and problem solving at the same time. Finding 26 pots can be hard work and after eating a few Innocent Veg Pots and realising that at £3.50 a go this was going to get costly (even if I was getting healthier) I emailed them and asked if they had any to recycle. They did.

The next stage is to add an upper and lower case letter to each pot, an alphabet sticker which I stuck on a laminated card using pretty cardstock and then put the items in. As you can see some letters are easier to find items for than others Letters such as U are much harder. Still, Upsy Daisy has her uses and gets played with more in this pot than she did when she was in the toy basket.

PS – If you want to know what is in the pots and are stuck for inspiration let me know.


peely wally

17 06 2011

I recently found the book called Peely Wally by Kali Stileman and love everything about it. The story is simple, the illustrations bright (and easily copyable  by children) and it really encourages early literacy skills as children get to trace the path of the egg through the story. I bought egg shaped cards (cutting things like that out take time and mine look more like cracked eggs) and white stickers which LBM got to colour in. He loved this bit even going so far as to use three pens at once to create interesting coloured dots. The next step involved peeling off the stickers and putting them on the card which helps develop fine motor skills – another good way of developing literacy skills – and we made loads of Peely Wally eggs.


We made some pictures of Peely Wally and her baby to go inside the cards with fingerpaints and googly eyes and stuck them inside. This is a favourite book now for both of us. Me, because I like the story and the way children have to trace their finger over the eggs path and LBM because the words Peely Wally sound fun. I’d recommend this book for so many reasons!

more recycling

16 06 2011

As LBM loves transporting things (a very clear schema if you know about such things – Chris Athey coined the term) I often find ways of encouraging learning using things with wheels. Many people assume that it’s a boy thing and that he likes playing with cars but he also carries a bag EVERYWHERE he goes so actually it’s all about moving things from A-B. Not that he often has things in his bag…

Sticking with my recycling theme I piled a load of Duplo and Ella’s Kitchen lids in the middle of the floor and then we set up a recycling centre. It included round and square “bins” and he had to sort the pile into not only colours but also into shapes. This could easily be simplified into either colour or shape for younger children. The rubbish truck and the tractor allowed him to transport from A-B whilst problem solving and reinforcing shape and colour knowledge. I love creating activities like this because if I’d asked him to sort the shapes into groups he’d have got bored quickly and found something else to do. This way he spent ages collecting things, fitting them into the truck which is a problem in itself, and delivering them to the right bin. The downside was that I get to tidy up the recycling at the end of the day…I’ve yet to find a way of making that interesting for me!

five a day the easy way

16 06 2011

After finding the idea for a garden sensory box I thought I’d create one. The idea I found on Modern Parents Messy Kids included black beans for soil and vegetables made from egg boxes. As I started to put it together I realised finding that many beans and the time to make the vegetables was going to more time consuming than giving LBM the real thing to play with. I filled one of his tubs with potting compost and stuck small carrots with their tops still attached (thank you m&s for that. Your convenience food really is just that). Granddad had given us some lettuces so I planted them and added a few packets I’d made with beans in them to plant. A water spray, gloves, gardening tools and a few pots completed the sensory experience.

It didn’t go according to plan! He barely got his hands dirty as soon as he discovered there were raw carrots to be had. The next five minutes were spent with him pulling up the carrots, rinsing them in a bowl of water and eating them like a little starved rabbit. Five a day covered without meaning to!!  Whilst the aim of this was to give him a sensory experience which would help him understand about growing food and let him play in mud, he ended up getting something completely different out of it. It turned into a fantastic opportunity to develop his hand muscles for writing in the future. Using the snippers to cut the lettuce  and using the spray water bottle to squirt the lettuce and large areas of the kitchen wall all helped him develop further control of his hand muscles for literacy. A different focus to what I’d had planned.

We’ll be doing this again because the real sensory experience came from eating the carrots. He thought it was fantastic eating “freshly grown” vegetables and I was quite happy with that too!

my first story box

11 06 2011

A recent trip to Poundland in search of coloured play sand led me to their toy section. I’m not that keen on poundshops other than for chocolate you can buy in bulk but found a selection of 3D colour and play scenes. Ideal for story boxes which I’ve so far not got round to making as I can’t face finding somewhere to store them. These scenes can be stored flat so are a brilliant find. We coloured ours in and got out our Elmer and Wilbur bath toys and read the story. Another activity that engaged a 3 year old for about half an hour as it included colouring in, listening to the story and then reenacting it with real characters. I think we’ll be reusing the scene for a other stories but for the moment we’re sticking with Elmer and his cousin.