Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Plastic Easter Egg Games

These plastic Easter Eggs are everywhere at the shops. They are cheap and colourful, they can open and can be used for a wide range of play based learning opportunities.
I purchased these eggs last year from my local $2 shop and we played many games then when Miss M was just 2 and I had not yet started blogging!
Some of the games I remember playing back then with her were
  • simple colour sorting
  • hide n seek games
  • Tongs and egg carton play for fine motor
  • sensory tub
  • Alphabet match up
(where I wrote the capital letter on one half of the egg and the lower case on the other half)

This year I thought it would be great to focus on numbers.
Miss M is very capable with numbers 0-12 so we used numbers 11-22 however you could play this game with any combination of numbers depending on the ability level of your child.
Suitable Ages: Can be adapted to suit ages 2-8yrs
To Prepare:
  • Write selected numbers onto the bottom of an egg carton as shown in above picture
  • Write corresponding numbers in permanent marker onto the plastic eggs as shown in the picture below. Make sure you do one egg per number.

To Play:
  • Hide the plastic eggs. This can be done inside or outside. Don't make them too tricky to find as little kids can get easily frustrated.
  • Give your child the egg carton with the numbers inside and tell them they need to find an egg with the matching number for each of the spaces in the carton.
  • During the hunt the children find the numbers and put each egg into it's matching space in the egg carton. Be sure to get your child to tell you the number on each egg
  • This game can be played in pairs or individually. It can also be done with a large group if they all have their own set of eggs to find and egg carton.

Change the game by playing it with these different ideas
  • letters
  • colours- put diff colours at the bottom of the egg carton
  • Shapes

Miss M and her little friend had a great time finding all the numbered eggs!
"I found 17" "I found 11"

They wanted the eggs hidden over and over again both inside and out!
In the end they were hiding the eggs for each other to find!
It wasn't long till they were both very confident with their number recognition of these numbers!
This made for a great play date game however, I can see Miss M wanting to play this lots over the Easter long weekend!
We hope you and your families have a lovely time celebrating Easter with your families!
Play and Learn,

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Egg and Chick Easter Craft ~ Playgroup

Here is a cute little activity we did at Playgroup in the lead up to Easter.
With an awareness of different beliefs and views amongst members we focused on talking about new life and new beginnings.
Suitable Ages: Can be adapted to suit multiple ages
I was unable to get any photos of the children doing this activity as I was hands on the whole time, discussing, asking, answering and assisting the children.
Learning Opportunities
Fine motor skills
Language and Vocabulary
Discovery of the sense of touch
Discussion on Chickens and other animals that hatch from eggs
Role Play

To Prepare
I drew a simple chick shape and photocopied onto white card and cut out
Attach the chicks to pop sticks with tape
Cut out egg shapes from white card


Colour some cotton wool balls.
(this photo was taken after the activity)
I used chalk powder in a bag and shook it with the cotton wool inside.
I've also done it before with powered paint and that works better, especially if you give them a light spray with water from a water bottle, however I didn't have any and the chalk worked ok.

To introduce the activity I filled this surprise bag with the cotton wool balls and I asked the children to put their hand inside and tell me what they could feel. I assured them it was safe and would not hurt them.
We got soft, fluffy and woolly. A few children made a guess of what they thought was inside. I then showed them the cotton wool asked them to tell me some things they knew that felt soft,fluffy or woolly.
I then introduced the cardboard chick and told the children that we were going to use the cotton wool to make our chicks soft and fluffy like a real baby chick.
Have the children glue some cotton wool onto their chick.

After our chicks were all fluffy, we talked about where chicks come from.
Each child was then given a card egg and we did some more gluing and stuck some crepe paper on to colour the egg.
We discussed how the chick got out of the egg.
They hatch
They crack the shell with their beak
I told the children we need to crack our egg so our chick can hatch out

To do this we used scissors to cut a crack in our egg.
Most of the 3yr olds in our group had a go at doing this themselves with safety scissors.
Parents assisted and helped the younger children do this.

Now our chicks are ready to hatch out of their eggs!
I showed the children how to place their chicks behind their eggs and we learnt this little song.
I'm a little Chickie ready to hatch,
pecking at my shell scratch, scratch, scratch.
When I crack it open out I leap,
fluff my feathers with a cheep, cheep, cheep!
Children can act out this song with their chicks and eggs and then they can act it out themselves and pretend to be the chick in an egg, hatching.

To Extend This
Read some books and stories about chicks and chickens.
Talk about other animals that hatch from eggs, ducks, snakes etc.
Play and Learn
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Circles circles everywhere~ Tube painting!

A super fun way to encourage creativity and
develop an understanding of 3 dimensional shapes/ cylinders!
Suitable Ages: approx 2yrs plus

We all have some cylinders of various forms around our house.
Paper towel rolls, postage tubes, piping, tubs etc.
Grab a collection of tubes, of different lengths and sizes.
Trust me the kids will love painting with the big ones!
Choose your paint colours and set them out on trays or plates.
We have done this before with a collection of smaller tubes but today I thought it would be great fun to use some of the bigger tubes that require standing to paint also!

I set this up early in the day and when Miss M came outside I let her go for it, however she wanted to. Interestingly she went from the smallest tube straight to the biggest!

Points to Discuss with your Child
  • What are you painting with?
  • What shape do the tubes make when you stamp with them?
  • What are tubes/ cylinders?
  • Describe the features of the tubes
  • Which tube is the biggest/ smallest?
  • Which tube is the longest/ shortest?
  • Which tube is the easiest/ hardest to paint with and why?
  • Which tube do you like to paint with the best, why
  • Talk about the colours and pictures they are making

Our finished product!
"Look the blue circles are the biggest and the smallest"


Such concentration!
Play and Learn
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Monday, 18 March 2013

Make it 5! Simple Numeracy game


Make it 5... or 3 or 6 or 10!
This is a super simple to prepare numeracy game that is completely adaptable to suit many abilities and can be made many different ways.
Suitable ages: approx 3-6 years.
Can be simplified and extended to suit the level of your child
Learning Opportunities:
Number recognition
Counting and one to one correspondence- counting each object just once.
Knowing the last number tells 'how many'
Subitising- knowing how many items without counting
(children from 3 can generally do this to their age)
Counting on- for example, starting at 3 and counting 4, 5, 6 etc
Simple addition- how many ways can you make ...?

As Easter is fast approaching I used an egg shape, however you don't necessarily have to use an egg. It does look cute with the cracks in it though.
You can just draw this up on card or paper.
I laminated mine for extra durability but also so I could re write and change the number as many times as Miss M liked.
This is a game we can play over and over again!
You will also need
A marker for writing numbers, or some magnetic numbers or other.
Some counters- magnetic if using on a fridge or magnetic board however, they do not need to be magnetic and any objects can be used as counters to play the game.
It can be played on a table top or floor.
How To Play
  • In the top crack of the egg write a number. Make sure it is at an appropriate level for your child. For example, a number that your child can count to confidently using correct one to one correspondence.
  • Place some of your counters in the first crack, but do not equal the top number.
  • Children are required to 'add' the extra counters on the other side to make the total amount of counters equal the number shown.
  • Having the two sides of the egg is important so children have a visual representation of how many ways '5' can look. Etc 1 and 4 or 2 and 3
  • Change the amount of counters in the first crack so children are required to add different amounts of counters on the other side to make the same number.
Children will be able to see how many ways you can make ___  in a very hands on way
1 and 4, 2 and 3, 3 and 2, 4 and 1, 0 and 5 all make 5!
  • Change the top number as often as your child is motivated and interested in the game.
Counting on 5, 6, 7
"I need one more"
So pleased with her achievements!

Playing on the magnetic board!
You don't have to have magnetic counters to play this game.
Here is one young P&LB@H fan who has used playdough to play!!
Roll some playdough balls as your counters and if you have some number cookie cutters you can also make playdough numbers!!
To extend this
  • Have older children use numbers to record how many ways they made the top number. They could either use the magnetic or playdough numbers or if they are able to they could them down.
  • Introduce the mathematical symbols +, = and explain what they mean.
  • Demonstrate how to use numbers and symbols to record the number problems they have solved 2+3=5
  • Use increasingly harder numbers
Play and Learn
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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Threads and Wool ~ Activity time at Playgroup

This is fun and simple invitation for your children to get creative, play and work at their own level with many learning benefits.
Great for multi age groupings as children can work to their level.
can be modified to suit most ages from 8months onwards
Learning Possibilities
Sensory awareness
Language development
Fine motor development
Understanding of lines using three dimensional materials
You will need
a variety of wool and threads of different thicknesses, textures and lengths
Glue- PVA works best & glue brushes/ sticks
Card, paper, paper plate or any surface you wish to work on

Look at those busy hands working!
Discussion Points
Talk about the flexibility of the wool.
What shapes can you make?
How can you bend your lines?
Can you make them curly, straight, zigzags?
What pictures can you make?
Introduce vocabulary such as straight, bent, curved, spiral, long, short, fluffy, smooth, sparkly etc
Which thread is fluffy, skinny, long etc?

"Look, I made a letter 's' with my wool"
The three year olds in our group enjoyed exploring the wool and gluing as much of it as they could down in many different patterns. We kept this an open ended experience and let children complete it and create however they saw appropriate. A number of children did more than one, some wanted to add drawings to their work.
For older children you could encourage them to get creative with the lines they can create. Can you make a zigzag, spiral, love heart? Can you make your name? The opportunities are endless.

Even the younger members of the group enjoyed exploring the textures of the wool!

Extend on this Activity
Explore woollen jumpers or knitted blankets.
Demonstrate knitting and how the wool is turned into jumpers and blankets.
Talk about where the wool comes from
If you have access, get some wool straight from a sheared sheep for the children to touch and smell.
Read stories and books about sheep and wool,
Little Baa by Kim Lewis
Warm as Wool by Russell Sanders
Three Bags Full by Ragnhild Scamell

Sing songs
Baa baa black sheep
Old MacDonald had a farm

Play and Learn

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Ooey Gooey Wibble Wobble Jelly Play

Yummy to eat, but Jelly is also fun to play with and a great way to get creative and develop new and interesting vocab with your littlies.

Ages: Children will like to taste and eat the jelly as they play so you can introduce jelly play as soon as you feel comfortable with your little tasting it.
You can get more natural, preservative and colour free varieties nowadays.

To begin with prepare your jelly according to directions on the packet, you may wish to use more than one packet. You can make it more watery if you'd like a more slimy feel or set it quite hard if your wanting a firmer consistency- good for digging into and getting little muscles in little fingers working.

Below, I'll share with you some of the ways I have used Jelly play with my children.

Alphabet Recognition

Miss M learnt her letter sounds and names really quickly however we hadn't done any consolidation of this skill for awhile so I decided to add some gorgeous glittery alphabet letters I have to the jelly. I added them into the 3 packets of dissolved jelly crystals before I put the Jelly in the fridge.
I left the Jelly to set overnight for 24 hrs as I wanted it quite firm.

You could also try
shapes/ cookie cutters
plastic animals/ dinosaurs
glass pebbles- over 2.5/3yrs
anything that is of particular interest to your child at the current time

Ummm it didn't quite come out looking like I expected but Miss M didn't mind one little bit. She couldn't wait to get into it!

You can do this inside or out. If inside be sure to put down a large messy mat/ old table cloth etc to help with the clean up.

"Hmmm I think there might be something in here"

Using her senses,




"hey look what I found" 

"let me just clean off these letters a little bit"

Each letter she found we'd talk about it's name and what sound it makes in words. We would think of and share some words we knew that began with the sound.

 Once she had found all the letters and had finished exploring the jelly I had a tub ready to give the letters a wash.

 Miss M lined the letters up on the paving to dry but the play didn't stop there.
Together we arranged the letters to see if we could put the sounds together to make words.

Miss M is learning the skill of blending
"  j   ,   c  " thats not a word hehehe!
"   m  ,  a  ,  t  " makes mat, yay

We had many laughs using the letters to make up real and nonsense words.

 Miss M also enjoyed Jelly play in her younger days also!

She had lot's of fun using all her senses and I still remember how she tried to get in by stepping into the bowl! How awesome would a jelly bath be if not just a wee bit sticky.

The H Man's turn at Jelly play!

I used smaller bowls of jelly this time and placed them around a small table as I wanted to encourage the H Man to stand and play and to cruise the table to get to each of them. This is something he has needed some encouragement to do.

It is great to think creatively on how to use play to develop certain skills that need strengthening in your children.

 You may also be interested in

Play and Learn



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