Bringing Books to Life, Creativity is Key, Little Ones Literacy, Small Worlds

Read and Sculpt

I recently discovered a brilliant combination – Play Dough and Books! My overall aim was to bring the stories to life for Paige and in the process create a story inspired small play area that Paige could enjoy after the story was over. This activity did exactly that!

Basically, we read the story and as we encountered new characters we made them with the play dough! Paige was so giddy to make the animals that I had to read the text once the animal was made!

All you need is:

  • Play dough.
  • Other embellishments (if you want) such as googly eyes and feathers.
  • A story to read.

The final result was….IMG_0469

Do I need to say how much she loved this!? Her little face says it all!

Once the story had finished I just let her enjoy playing with the play dough animals and she sat re-enacting the plot and reciting lines! This was the best part for me, it really showed me how much of the story she had understood.

Not only does this activity work on their reading comprehension skills and their literacy skills, it develops their imagination and creativity – it’s a perfect opportunity to have some learning fun!

Other ways you could do this:

  • You could read and sculpt another book.
  • You could sculpt a story scene and picture it to make your own book.
  • Instead of using play dough you could create the characters or set with building blocks.
  • Rather than creating the characters, you could sculpt the landscape of the story and play with plastic figures in the landscape.

Would this make reading even more magical for your toddler too?

 

Creativity is Key, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Little Ones Literacy, Mad About Maths, Something Sensory

Letter of the Week- Phonics Tub!

Have you ever noticed toddlers love to empty things? This activity is perfect for the toddlers who just can’t help themselves – and for once you will be happy for them to empty to their hearts content!

To accompany our letter of the week activities, I fill a tub with items all beginning with that letter. I place it within Paige’s reach for her to explore and play with whenever she chooses. She has loved this and it has been a time saving, ready-made and versatile activity pot for me too!

It takes less than 5 minutes to put together and once it has been organised there’s so much you can do with it to enhance the letter of the week learning.

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So how can you use it?

  • To get them active, you can hide all the items from the tub for them to find, this is probably Paige’s favourite use for it!
  • To link it to literacy, you could tell stories using the items from the tub.
  • As a gross motor activity, you could place a mix of items from the tub with other items beginning with different letters and play a relay game. When we do this I place the objects at the end of Paige’s tunnel and she crawls through to collect the correct items and return them to me. To make it exciting I set her the target of completing this in the time of her chosen song, which I play whilst she is relaying!
  • As a fine motor activity, you could use a scarf, ribbon or string to draw a large letter on the floor and invite your toddler to trace the letter with the items.
  • To test their memory skills, you could hide all the items in a non-transparent bag and see how many your toddler can remember – you might be surprised with how good they are – I was!
  • To develop their language skills, you could place an item in a non-transparent bag and ask them to describe how it feels to you. This could also be presented as a guessing game!
  • To develop their vocabulary, you could place a few of the items on the floor in a line opposite a line of their names and give your toddler string or ribbon to match up the name to the item.
  • For a sensory activity, you could hide some of items in rice, stones or sand and invite your toddler to find them.
  • To get creative you could invite your toddler to draw around some of the items and create a jigsaw for them to complete later.

Or there’s simply drawing, measuring or counting them!

When any of my planned letter of the week activities have been linked to an item in the tub, I have used that item to introduce the activity and reinforce the connection.

As you can see planning this simple tub provides you with endless preparation free activities and so many learning opportunities – your toddler is sure to have a favourite here!

Which activity will you start with?

All About Me, Little Ones Literacy

One of the Best- Labelling Me!

It’s sad isn’t it that we can’t display every piece of art work our tinies create? So most of the time the art work we display are items that really showcase our children’s talents or items that are useful for recapping the subject- this is just that!

When learning about body parts we created a simple poster labelling them, ours was different because it was labelling an actual photograph of Paige. She was so excited to see herself on the poster, I really didn’t need to encourage her to get involved. She couldn’t stop pointing at herself and telling me ‘Paige, Mama it’s Paige’!

All you need is..

  • A full height picture of your tiny.
  • Glue.
  • Scissors.
  • Alphabet stickers.
  • Felt tip pens (to add a splash of colour).

It’s definitely a team effort task!

This is how we did it;

Me-

I cut up the picture, as it needed precision, and wrote all the labels.

My tiny-

Paige stuck down the sections of the picture, she identified the body parts on her ‘picture self’ and she placed the letter stickers on the poster. If she struggled to identify the body part I used the beginning letter sticker, as a prompt, to help.

The Result

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Was it a success?

Well, I can honestly say (and I am proud to say), Paige now knows all the body parts on this picture! So this activity mainly helped develop her vocabulary and speech. Following the method I used it also explored some of the alphabet, by using the letter stickers, and she practised her fine motor skills when sticking them down.

There’s so many ways you could do it…

  • To make it easier, you could use pre-written labels that you could read to your tiny to stick down.
  • For more of a challenge, your tiny could spell the body parts using letter stickers.
  • If you didn’t want to look at body parts you could label their faces showing different emotions (this would be a good thing to pull out on a 16th birthday)!
  • You could label the clothing instead of the body parts and learn something new.

Will this be your next team task?

Creativity is Key, Little Ones Literacy, The World Around Me

A is for Airport!

There is nothing I love more than making something that could be boring instantly captivating. I love planning activities that draw on Paige’s interests and hobbies to help her engage with new topics.

My little Paige loves Planes, so it was like we had hit the jackpot when we had ‘A’ as our letter of the week. I, whilst planning late on Sunday night, had a bit of a mummy light bulb moment when I thought of building an airport she could play with her beloved plane on. It was one of those activities that you as a parent are more excited to present to them just to see the excitement on their face!

It requires no prep apart from gathering the materials and is sure (if you have a plane fanatic too) to provide a substantial amount of playtime! This might even mean you can enjoy that much needed cup of tea!

I gathered some building blocks, her plane and wait for it…. FAIRY LIGHTS and we built this. Paige absolutely adored it!

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Would your tiny love this too?

 

Bringing Books to Life, Creativity is Key, Little Ones Literacy

One of the Best- Story Pictures!

To say my Paige LOVES reading is an understatement; she is absolutely mad for it, so as a mum I keep trying to find new ways to keep her passion growing. One of the ways, which she seems to enjoy the most, is creating a ‘Story Picture’ of the book. Now, this could possibly be because it incorporates art which happens to be her second favourite thing to do! So if you have a fan of art and reading at home, this activity is for you! Or maybe even a fan of art who isn’t too keen on reading!

The great thing I love about them is even at the age of 2, they really show the child’s reading comprehension skills and help to develop them too! They also develop their speaking and listening skills, creativity skills and their fine motor skills if your picture includes sticking things down or stamping- so as a learning activity they’re golden!

Now, we have a portfolio of Story Pictures and we create a new one every week. What’s even better is once we have created them we use them when reading the book again!

Who doesn’t love an activity which creates an already loved learning resource?!

So, what do I mean by a ‘Story Picture’?

We create our visual representation of the book plot and include key characters, places and objects.

Here are a couple we have made (and ones we love!).

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What you need totally depends on how you want to create it, because as you can see you can use almost anything from your craft box – you could even use natural resources like leaves for an Owl Babies inspired one.

How can you use them after they are created?

  • You can ask your tiny to explain the story using the picture.
  • You can play book inspired ‘Can you find…?’ as you read- this tends to be how Paige enjoys uses them the most.
  • You could place it in a plastic wallet and ask your tiny to put a sticker on everything beginning with a certain letter (if they are older and at this stage).
  • You could do a similar thing with words and have them label the picture, or if they aren’t confident readers you could just read the word to them.
  • When you have made a few you could place them on the floor and play ‘pairs’ matching the book to the Story Picture.

Will these be a hit in your home too?