Celebrate Chinese New Year in your early years setting

EYFS Chinese New Year Activities

Chinese New Year, also referred to as Lunar New Year, is the Chinese festival which celebrates the New Year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The Chinese calendar calculates the days, months and years based on astronomical phenomena. Because the calendar accords to patterns of the solar calendar the date of the Chinese New Year varies year-to-year. It usually falls on the second new moon following the December solstice.

The Chinese Zodiac animals are often used to represent years. 2020 is the Year of the Rat. The Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture and can be used to determine your fortune for that year. Different meanings and characteristics are assigned to each animal, for example the rat (鼠—shŭ), represents people who like saving and collecting. Although normally deemed successful ,they don’t look for praise.

Chinese New Year is a perfect way to introduce your early years children to different cultures and traditions that may not be familiar to them or their families. It’s also a perfect way to keep celebrations going following Christmas and New Year!

There are many different ways to celebrate and learn about the traditions of Chinese New Year, here’s our top three EYFS Chinese New Year activates that you can use at try school, nursery or preschool.

1) Chinese Food

During lunch or tea time take the opportunity for children to try different food from China and expand their taste buds. You could try lots of pick ‘n’ mix bowls with common chinese food. Spring rolls, prawn crackers, rice, sweet and sour chicken or tofu, as well as many other common dishes can be made in your setting.

Alternatively, children can contribute to the whole setting’s lunch or tea by making their own Chinese foods. This can get children excited about the food they’re going to eat. Above all, it gives your chef a helping hand!

Try these simply recipes that your early years children can make and enjoy:

2) Chinese Dragon Painting

There are many different ways you can go about painting a Chinese Dragon to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Try a painting or messy play activity and create a dragon using hand and footprints, this means that children of all ages can be involved. Use green, orange, yellow and red paint to create the long body and head of the dragon. Older children can then add the details, for instance, big google-y eyes, scales and whiskers/moustache.

You can create individual dragons or bring together multiple pieces to make a larger dragon for a mesmerising display board!

3) Chinese New Year Writing

Your children may have been working on phonics, numbers or even talking about animals recently, use these subjects and incorporate them in to your Chinese writing activity. For younger children a simply painting activity with black paint is great way to work on those little muscles. For older children, try a look-and-copy activity – don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Children can also use laminated sheets to trace the Chinese letters and then wipe clean for another child to use or to be used next year!

 

Don’t forget to decorate your rooms for the occasion. For example, make displays of children’s artwork, use lanterns and lots of red colours to spark children’s imagination and wonder.

Discover more information on Chinese New Year and other EYFS activities below:

Involving parents in their child’s learning journey

Parental involvement in Early Years and Learning Journeys

Working in partnership with parents, carers and families is a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Parental involvement in how children learn, what their early experiences are and their development helps practitioners plan for effective learning throughout the early years. It also helps settings support parents in continuing their children’s learning and development at home.

Parental involvement and partnerships may mean parents join in on trips, stay and plays and other events going on at the nursery. It can also mean gathering information from families and encouraging them to invest time in understanding what their child does every day and how they are progressing. Some parents may be less engaged or may not have an understanding of how they can support their child and you. It is essential that you and your setting are inclusive of all parents and carers wherever possible.

A perfect way to get parents involved is to introduce them to their child’s learning journey, what is means and what it tells them about their child.

 

What is a learning journey?

A learning journey is a collection of pieces of information that create a picture of a particular child. It’s a valuable tool for:

  • ● Assessing a child’s development through the EYFS;
  • ● Providing a record of a child’s time with you;
  • ● Helping you plan activities.

You should be able to see at a glance the child’s stage of development and what they need to cover next. Learning journeys enable you to keep track of a child’s development. Observations are linked to areas of the EYFS and you use your knowledge, as well as information from parents and other relevant professionals to plan activities.

Learning journeys can be hugely beneficial for early years practitioners when it comes to tracking progress, benchmarking and planning. That’s why it’s important to invest time and effort into school and nursery learning journeys, and encourage parents to contribute.

Many settings use digital or online learning journey systems, such as LearningBook, to help save time and make assessing a child quicker and more accurate. Going digital with your learning journeys means that parents can access it anywhere, anytime, rather than having to wait until parents’ evenings or the end of term to see it. It also means your parental involvement is boosted. Parents can more easily contribute as they know what is going on daily and what their child’s next steps are.

 

How LearningBook can help with parental involvement and engagement?

LearningBook gives parents the visibility they need to support their child’s education beyond the classroom. We have introduced multiple features to encourage the growth of early years parental engagement. If parents can understand how their child learns and what they do day-to-day, partnerships with parents will be made stronger. We understand the importance of early years parental engagement and boosting parent partnerships within your setting. To do this to benefit children’s well-being and development, not only to appease Ofsted. Parent involvement in early years education can introduce new experiences. A child can have lots of influences varying from the classroom to home. A parent who recognises what their child does at school, pre-school or nursery has a better understanding of their child’s ability. This means they understand which areas they need to work on to improve their development.

“Parental engagement has been great, we have noticed more engagement again since the launch of the Parent App. It’s been a great success!” – D-Dee’s Day Nursery

Parent Portal

MyLearningBook is a dedicated Parent Portal accessed through any web browser using a secure log in, parents can access their children’s learning journeys at any time. For example, when they’re at work or on the move – they will never miss a moment. Parents can upload photos from home to be included in the learning journey. They can comment on individual observations and view and contribute to termly assessments.

Parent App

A beautifully designed iOS app available on iPhones. Parents can download and log in for free whilst they’re out and about. Parents can do everything the Parent Portal does but it is designed to be more user-friendly for iPhones and easier to logon and keep informed. They will receive notifications when a setting shows an observation or assessment.

At Home uploads

Parents can upload their own photos from home to show children’s learning when they’re not with you in your setting. Some children may show abilities and skills that they don’t show at nursery. The At Home uploads can be converted by staff and linked to the EYFS to contribute to the ‘bigger picture’.

Keepsakes

LearningBook allows parents to cherish their child’s memories forever by printing their learning journey in beautiful hardback books and compact memory sticks. A permanent keepsake to show children, parents and families just how far they’ve come and what they can achieve.

Parent logon report

The LearningBook support team can provide settings with a ‘Parent logon report’. This report shows you exactly which accounts have logged in and when. You can encourage those who haven’t logged in for a while to do so. Ask them to upload photos from home based on your next steps and your coversations.

 

How does an outstanding nursery ensure involvement of all parents and carers in their children’s learning?

As part of the new (September 2019) inspection framework, an inclusive service must be demonstrated as well as how an early years setting works in partnerships with parents, carers and others. Staff and settings must engage effectively with parents and carers in order to facilitate education and development.

Footprints Day Nursery

We sat down with Hayley, Manager of Footprints Day Nursery in Macclesfield, who were recently graded as ‘outstanding’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework, to discuss how they ensure engagement and inclusion of parents on their digital learning journey software, LearningBook.

In Footprints’ case, they have many working parents, those without access to a computer and those who are less comfortable with technology. To adapt and ensure they support these parents, Hayley and her staff at Footprints have used LearningBook’s features of ‘parental view’ as well as come up with their own strategies to ensure the involvement of their parents no matter their inclination.

“Footprints were part of LearningBook’s creation which means we could have an impact on lots of features, including the parental aspect. Even early on we knew that there may have been some resistance to going online, so we needed to make sure everyone could be involved and access their child’s learning journey.

We obviously use the Parent Portal [MyLearningBook] to encourage parents to logon and look at their child’s observations and progress daily. It helps parents understand what we do and how their child learn, what they like and don’t like. MyLearningBook empowers parents to get involved in their child’s education from an early age and contribute what they’re seeing at home.

The introduction of the Parent App was great as it made logging on even quicker, and getting notifications meant there was no excuse to miss their child’s achievements!”

Hayley was quick to recognise apps and website aren’t for everyone, “We do have some parents who find using apps and websites a little tricky, or don’t have access to these devices and are put off from logging on. So to support these parents we sometimes use print outs or even show them their child’s learning journey through our Admin Portal on our own computers. We have introduced a dedicated area in our reception for parents to logon during drop-off, pick-up and parents evenings. Our staff show them how to login and advise them on how they can contribute. It also gives parents confidence and helps them realise it’s not hard to access, which has a lasting impact.”

To make sure as many parents are logging on as possible, Hayley said “We target those parents who we know aren’t logging on to MyLearningBook as regularly as we would like. The LearningBook team provide us with a ‘Parent Login Report’ which tells us when parents last logged in. Key workers will chase the parents who haven’t logged in for a while and reiterate the importance of parent involvement and engagement – this normally does the trick!”

Footprint’s strategies are clearly working as HMI mentioned the effectiveness in their recent Ofsted report, “Staff know families well and relationships between children, staff and parents are a key factor in the success of this exceptionally caring nursery. For example, staff are aware that it is difficult for some families to access computers at home. To address this, they support parents to use a designated computer in nursery. This enables parents to view children’s progress trackers.”

The report also references the parents’ point of view, “Parents describe how staff ensure that all significant adults in children’s lives are included in their learning.”

Footprints use a basic computer monitor and a ChromeBit, which is a simple PC and costs just over £100. They have this and a display board in their reception area for parents to use to logon to MyLearningBook with the support of key workers or managers. They can view observations and assessments, as well as add comments.

footprints dedicated LearningBook area
footprints dedicated LearningBook area

 

• To read the full Ofsted report, please follow the link: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50130071
• To find out more about Footprints Day Nurseries check out their website: https://www.footprintsnurseries.co.uk/
• Inspection Framework: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/801429/Education_inspection_framework.pdf
• Early Years Inspection Handbook: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/828465/Early_years_inspection_handbook.pdf

General Election 2019

General Election: Childcare & Primary School pledges made by key parties in run up to vote

Here at LearningBook, we’ve summarised what key promises political parties are making for early years, childcare and primary schools:

Conservative

  • • £14 billion boost in school funding.
  • • £4,000 minimum funding per primary school pupil by 2012/2022.
  • • Raising teacher salaries and benefits. New teacher salaries will be increased to £30,000 by 2022-2023.
  • • Increase contribution in to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
  • • £1 billion fund to help create affordable childcare, including before and after school clubs and holiday clubs.

Labour

  • • Create 1,000 new Sure Start childcare centres at a cost of £1 billion.
  • • Entitlement for 30 hours free childcare available for all 2, 3 and 4 years olds within 5 years.
  • • Free early years training to the workforce to attain qualifications whilstworking.
  • • Recruit nearly 150,000 additional early years staff.
  • • Provide sustainable, long-term funding for early years and schools.
  • • Provide free school meals to all primary school children.
  • • Maximum class sizes of 30 children.
  • • Scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments.
  • • Replace Ofsted and transfer responsibility for inspections to a new body.

Liberal Democrats

  • • Entitlement of free childcare to start from 9 months old.
  • • Triple the Early Years Pupil Premium.
  • • Expanding Children Centres with £1 billion a year investment.
  • • Require all Early Years settings to have a training programme for staff.
  • • Recruit 20,000 more teachers.
  • • Reduce class sizes to 2015 level.
  • • Scrapping mandatory SATs.
  • • Replace Ofsted with a new HM Inspector of Schools.
  • • Increase schools funding by £10 billion a year.
  • • Free school meals for all primary school children.
  • • Increase teacher starting salaries to £30,000.

Green Party

  • • Provide 35 hours a week of free childcare for all from the age of 9 months.
  • • Increase funding by at least £4 billion a year.
  • • Renaming ‘Free School Meals’ the ‘School Meals Allowance’ to tackle stigma.
  • • Reduce class sizes to under 20.
  • • Formal education will start at 6 years old.
  • • Replace Ofsted with a collaborative system of assessing and supporting schools locally.

Find out more:

Don’t forget to regiester to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Get your children excited for Christmas and New Year

Top 10 EYFS Christmas and New Year Activities

As Christmas and New Year quickly approach (where has 2019 gone?!), its only right that you and your early years setting get in to the festive spirit. It’s the most wonderful time of year – so get those sleigh bells jingle-ing, ring-ting tingle-ing, put down your pens, tablets and laptops, and get cracking with these EYFS Christmas and New Year ideas!

1) Trip to Santa’s Grotto

A really simple way to get children excited for the festive season is to take a trip to see arguably one of the most important men of the season, Santa!

Many local farms, shopping centres or pop-up Winter Wonderlands will have arranged a visit from Santa, his hard-working elves and his trusty reindeer. Children have the chance to talk to Santa about how they’ve been good this year and what they hope to receive at Christmas. A perfect day for children of all ages!

2) Nativity Play

Whether you decide to tell the classic Christmas story of the birth of Jesus, tell the story of the princess and the frog or mash together a few of those classic jokes and Christmas songs, putting on a play or show can get the whole setting involved. Decide early what and when you’re going to perform so children’s families can schedule it in during this busy time of year. Babies, toddlers, tots, pre-schoolers and school children can all get involved. There was Spiderman and a lobster at the birth of Christ, right?

3) Make and Send Christmas Cards to Families

Children love to make cards for their family for any occasion, and friends and families love to receive them! There’s lots of different way to make EYFS Christmas cards; starting with card, of course! Our favourite ideas include reindeer thumb prints, Santa hands, cotton wool snowmen and footprints trees.

Each can be done by children of all ages (and finished with a little help from the grown-ups!). It’s also a perfect opportunity for older children to practice their writing skills!

Check out more ideas for Christmas cards:

4) Learn About Different Traditions

At this time of year, and throughout the rest of year, it’s always important to be inclusive of different cultures, different religions or simply different family traditions, especially when the children from your setting all come from different backgrounds.

Look in to EYFS activities surrounding Christian, Hanukkah and general community celebrations. Ask the children what they and their families will be doing over the Christmas and New Year break. This way everyone feels involved even if their celebrations are different.

5) EYFS Christmas Cooking

Children can contribute to the whole setting’s Christmas Lunch, it get’s children excited about the food they’re going to eat (and it gives your chef a helping hand!). Children can make and decorate their own gingerbread men deserts: Add sugar, self raising flow, ginger, an egg, butter and golden syrup. Once mixed together cut to shape, bake, decorate and eat!

You could even try to make some healthy options, especially with all the chocolate and mince pies we’re all likely to eat!

6) Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf origins are from the children’s book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, and has now become a worldwide phenomenon for putting the Elf in various places and in numerous circumstances. The book tells a Christmas-themed story, written in rhyme that explains how Santa Claus knows who is naughty and nice. It describes “scout-elves” visiting children and hiding in their homes to report back to Santa of the good and bad events that take place, with the scout elf playing an ongoing game of hide and seek with the family.

A great, yet simple way to instill good behaviour, and to get children involved in a variety of activities such as mark making, writing, speaking and reading, is to involve Elf on the Shelf. Some great resources and examples can be found here:

7) Firework Art Displays

Aside from the usual black card and bright colours displays you can also make lots of amazing artworkusing cardboard toilet rolls.

One activity is to create firework fans, dip them in different colour paint and print them on white or black paper. Children can place them on the card and then twist to make the firework trails! An alternative us for cardboard rolls is to create firework rockets. Children can paint them different colours and add matching cones on top, as well as attach some strips of tissue paper.

You could even try incorporating some Science activities with fireworks in glass jars.

8) ‘Happy New Year’ Bunting

A simple activity to dress up your setting either before you break up for Christmas or when your return after New Year. Cut out triangles of black card and set up a painting station. If children are old enough they can attempt to cut card in to triangles.

Children can then use brightly coloured chalk or paint to make the card a bright and as exciting as possible. You could get the younger children to use their hands and feet in a messy play activity, or get older children to write out ‘H-A-P-P-Y-N-E-W-Y-E-A-R’ on card to be the centre piece.

9) New Years Eve Hats

No New Year’s Eve party would be right without the appropriate headgear! Staff can use a shape template to cut out pieces of card that children can decorate with festive colours. Once finished you can make them in to a cone and add some elastic for children to wear. Like our ‘Happy New Year’ Bunting, try splattering paint outside or paint blowing using straws with bright colours to get the fireworks and celebration effect!

An alternative to making your own hats it to download a ready-made template and wear them during mini-New Year’s celebrations you can have in your setting.

10) Charity Events

Take part this year in different events to help raise money for national and local charities. These can be a great way to get staff, children and their families involved in nursery events and can mix up the daily routine in the build up to Christmas. Some high profile events you’ve probably heard of are:

You can also find out if your local charities are putting on any events that you and your setting can support. These can include raffles, Christmas markets, sponsored walks or runs, or supermarket packing.

From everyone at LearningBook, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Customer Success Stories

At LearningBook we often hear of customer success stories; how LearningBook has helped support early years settings’ practice, learning journeys, morale and children’s learning and development.

One particular LearningBook customer success stories is from Debbie at D-Dee’s Day Nursery. D-Dee’s Day Nursery was opened in Faversham, Kent by Debbie Gunn in September 1996. It is described as “a special place where early years children are nurtured and allowed the space and time to develop at their own pace”. D-Dee’s are proud to be constantly reflecting on their practice; enabling them and their children to be the very best that they can. Ofsted Outstanding and the longest established early years setting under the same ownership in the Kent area, D-Dee’s also have a number of awards under their belt including, Individual Nursery and Nursery Team awards at the NMT Nursery Awards 2017!

Debbie and her team have given insight into the experience and impression LearningBook has had in their nursery.

When was LearningBook first introduced to you?

Our first encounter with the LearningBook team was at the Nursery World Show a few years ago, they had an obvious passion for their product and showed a keen awareness to listen to the sector and provide what they really needed.

What problem(s) were you trying to solve when you became a customer of LearningBook?

We started to look at technological systems to support our recording of children’s observations with us due to time. The time that we have with our little people is so precious. We wanted to use as much of this as possible to engage and interact with them rather than writing, sticking and printing away from them.

What made LearningBook stand out from other digital learning journeys? Why did you choose us?

The locked-down tablets were a major advantage for us. The safety and security of the data alongside the tablets provided by LearningBook made them stand out from the rest.

What have you been able to achieve since using LearningBook?

We have always reflected on our provision, but LearningBook has enabled us to do this with much more accuracy. Our staff have used assessments and progress reports to support children needing additional support from outside agencies. We have also used them to support training needs for our team and environmental re-organisation within our setting. The time saved has been huge and parental engagement has been great, we have noticed more engagement again since the launch of the Parent App. It’s been a great success!

What’s the main reason why you recommend LearningBook?

It is simple, easy to use and gives the team the support that they need to add real value to their practice for each individual child.

What is your favourite feature of LearningBook?

We really like that our team’s professional judgment can override any learning journey assessment made of our children. Our team know the children so very well, but the system can only know the knowledge that we have entered. We have seen real progress made by all thanks to the fact our experienced team have the option to physically change things based our professional judgment combined with the auto-assessment.

I’d just like to say that the support team are great. We have not had to call them very often but when we have, mainly due to our own user error they have been brilliant. They never make us feel silly and are always so positive, happy and bright. Thank you ‘Team LearningBook’!

Read more of LearningBook Customer Success Stories, here.

 

How can your early years setting boost your parental engagement?

LearningBook can help empower staff to build partnerships with parents and improve early years parental engagement

One of LearningBook’s aims is to transform how parents engage and interact with their child’s early years education. We understand the importance of early years parental engagement and boosting parent partnerships within your setting. To do this to benefit children’s well-being and development, not only to appease Ofsted. Parent involvement in early years education can introduce new experiences. A child can have lots of influences varying from the classroom to home. A parent who recognises what their child does at school, pre-school or nursery has a better understanding of their child’s ability and which areas they need to work on to improve their development.

Some ideas to get parents engaged is to invite them to ‘stay and plays’ so they participate in activities and get an idea of activities to do at home. Parents bceome more engaged and motivated with LearningBook. Using different features to keep them updated on what’s going on at their child’s early years setting when they’re at work or out-and-about. We’ve spent considerable time on features that help early years settings target parents in a number of different ways.

1) Dedicated Parent Portal

MyLearningBook is a dedicated Parent Portal accessed through any web browser using a secure log in, parents can access their children’s learning journeys at any time. For example, when they’re at work or on the moce – they will never miss a moment. Parents can upload photos from home to be included in the learning journey, comment on individual observations and view and contribute to termly assessments.

2) iOS Parent App

A beautifully designed iOS app available on iPhones. Parents can download and log in for free whilst they’re out and about. Parents can do everything the Parent Portal does but it is designed to be more user-friendly for iPhones and easier to logon and keep informed. They will receive notifications when a setting shows an observation or assessment.

3) Keepsakes

LearningBook allows parents to cherish their child’s memories forever by printing their learning journey in beautiful hardback books and compact memory sticks. A permanent keepsake to show children, parents and families just how far they’ve come and what they can achieve.

4) Complete Control

LearningBook gives settings full control over their parent management. Staff can setup and manage parent details and logons, enable and disable accounts and share information at their discretion. Above all, staff are in complete control of what information they choose to share and when.

LearningBook gives parents the visibility they need to support their child’s education beyond the classroom. We have introduced multiple features to encourage the growth of early years parental engagement.  If parents can how their child learns and what they do day-to-day, as a result partnerships with parents will be made stronger.

Customer Success Stories

At LearningBook we often hear of customer success stories; how LearningBook has helped support early years settings’ practice, boosted parental engagement, improved learning journeys and children’s learning and development.

One of our LearningBook success stories is from one of our oldest customer, Footprints Day Nurseries; a two nursery group, based in Cheshire, North West England. Established in 2002 it has proved itself as a high quality group, with Ofsted Outstanding ratings at both nurseries. They also boast numerous awards for excellent childcare and commitment to early years from daynurseries.co.uk and NMT Nursery Awards. With upcoming plans for an expansion, Footprints use LearningBook as a unique selling point alongside their passionate staff and beautiful locations just outside the Peak District.

We sat down with Rachel, Nursery Manager at Footprints’ Bollington site to discuss her LearningBook success story. We got to to know her and discuss the impact LearningBook has had on her nursery.

How long have you been working in early years?

I’ve been an early years professional for around 20 years. I started with Footprints not long after receiving my Level 2 diploma. I was one of the first nursery nurses to be employed by the company. I’ve come through the company as a nursery nurse, to room leader to nursery manager.

When was LearningBook first introduced to you?

LearningBook came in to Footprints during its early stages of development. The nursery has seen how LearningBook was during its very beginnings, after that, it has grown from strength to strength with its rich number of features.

What problem(s) were you trying to solve when you started using LearningBook?

We needed something to save the staff time and to cut down on paper, ink etc. At Footprints we found that staff were spending more and more time completing observations and learning journeys rather than engaging with our children and planning their activities to aid development. LearningBook helped boost staff morale, give them more time to focus on the children and we were able to save money. The design of the system also meant we weren’t losing out on the engagement from parents which was a big part of why parents chose us over other nurseries in the local area – we have that family feel.

What have you been able to achieve since using LearningBook?

We were able to focus more on those children who needed the extra support and provision. LearningBook helped us identify where children needed one-to-one support or where staff needed extra training as well.

What is your favourite feature of LearningBook?

The parent portal and app! Having a child of my own in nursery means I can view his achievement and his well-being. As a manager this is ideal to keep parents engaged and to motivate them to contribute photos from home,. We also use the parent portal and app to encourage parents to make comments on assessments which we have discussed at Parents’ evenings.

What’s the main reason why you recommend LearningBook?

That’s a hard one! The quality of each aspect of LearningBook is great. When I used the system as a nursery nurse it was ideal for taking observations and planning – above all the safeguarding aspect is key. Similarly, now that I am a manager, I can track cohorts, children and groups in lots of different ways. This not only helps improve our practice it also ensures we give children the best outcomes. For the staff that use LearningBook everyday it feels like each part of the system has been thought out.

Read more of LearningBook Customer Success Stories, here.

Getting early years active

Try our top 3 Early Years exercise activities in your setting

1. Playing catch

Children of all ages love to catch, roll and throw a ball. Make sure you have a variety of balls available in your setting; these can be soft, small or larger balls, like a football. From rolling a ball for babies to throwing a ball though a hoop for pre-schoolers, this is a perfect way to exercise and a really social activity too.

2. Building with blocks

Babies and ‘pre-walkers’ can use various sized blocks to help with grasping and improve their fine motor skills. As they get a little older they can start making smaller towers, build a den or a bridge with soft blocks that can be used during roleplay.

3. Counting games

Counting is a great activity to promote exercise and incorporate into children’s daily routines. For example, counting their steps to different destinations or counting the number of carrots on their plate at lunch time. Children can also throw a number of bean bags at a cone or in a hoop; a fun activity to use at sports day and play with parents!

Discover more way to promote Early Years exercise activities in your setting and at home for all ages with our free eGuide, here.

Why not incorporate exercise and healthy eating in your day? Our healthy eating blog is a perfect way to not only encourage early years children to exercise and build those little muscles, but to also learn about the food their eating.

Check out further information about early years exercising and physical activities:

 

Get children interested in food and healthy eating

Introducing EYFS Healthy Eating and Food Activities

In early years it’s important to encourage children to learn more about food as well as expand their tastes. Embracing healthy living and eating in your early years setting can be lots of fun as well as important for growth and development in the vital early years. Involve everyone – all staff or assistants as well as parents and children. This will give you a pot of new ideas as well as a feeling of teamwork.

Here are a few EYFS healthy eating activties to help encourage children to talk about, try and understand the food they eat.

1.Make bread

Help children of all ages weigh, mix and knead their ingredients. Allow them to see how the dough has risen and doubled in size!

Bonus: This not only helps to grow children’s interest in their food, kneading helps develop their small muscles (PD). In additio, it gived them an opportunity to talk about what the think healthy food means (PSED).

2.Plant seeds

By planting seeds in window boxes or outside you can help children understand where their foods come from and how they grow in different ways. Why not try tomatoes, cress or herbs?

Bonus: Take children to a farm to pick fruit, like strawberries. This will help children see a wider variety and will keep them engaged.

3.Try foods from around the world

Have an around the world or festival theme with lots of pick ‘n’ mix bowls. For example, try mangos (from India) or hummus (from Egypt) etc. This will help children try different foods and expand their tastes.

Bonus: Invite families to join in and bring food from different countries, this will help children see all of their role models together promoting and encouraging healthy eating and new foods.

Discover more way to create EYFS healthy eating activities in your setting, and boose parental paticipation at home with our free eGuide, here.

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is a great time to celebrate a tradition in the UK and enjoy a firework and bonfire display in your local area. It is something that is celebrated by all ages and by lots of families at the beginning of November. Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night as it’s also known, is a perfect opportunity to create exciting activities in your early years setting and get children expressing themselves through bright colours and fun activities. It’s also a great time to teach children how to keep themselves safe if they attend an event.

There are lots of activities on the internet but to give you a helping hand we’ve created this blog of our top Bonfire Night EYFS activities to get your children in the mood for Guy Fawkes Night, as well as some helpful tips from firework and bonfire safety websites.

Bonfire Night – EYFS Activities

1. Simple Mark Making

Mark making activities can be adapted for all age groups from babies to preschool.

You can ask children to use different material to make bright fireworks and bonfires. Younger children could use cotton buds or their little finger on chalk boards and copy firework style shapes and patterns. Or children can use their imaginations to make their own shapes and swirls with pencils, felt-tips, glitter pens or paint!

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Mathematics – Shape, space and measure; Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials & Being imaginative]

2. Fireworks in a Jar

This activity combines bonfire night, fireworks and science. Fill jars with water and set them out on an activity table. Mix together each food colouring colour with oil and use pipettes or pour the mixtures into the jar and watch the fireworks come to life!

Make sure you don’t miss the step where you mix oil to food colouring as this will make sure most of the colouring floats.

[Understanding the World- The World; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

3. Painting with Straws

Another great way to create fireworks in your setting is painting with straws!

Gather together some straws, at least one per child, as well as black card or paper and some bright coloured paint. Add some water to the paint so they become a little runnier and drop enough paint on the paper to create a small puddle. Then get your children to take their straw and blow through it to spread the puddle you made.

This may take a little practice, so you could always let the children have a few practice goes on scrap paper or newspaper.

Don’t forget to use lots of different colours to brighten up your night sky! This activity is perfect for toddlers and older children too.

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

4. Bonfire Night Sky

A great way to get all children involved and celebrate their beautiful artwork is to create a bonfire night sky display board with a fun and messy twist.

Tape together lots of black card or paper, or use individual pieces, and pour the paints into trays and give the children paint brushes. Dip the brush into the paint and flick the paint onto the black paper. This is the messy bit so make sure you put some newspaper or covering down! Flick a range of colours onto the paper to create a bright picture.

You can add painting and other activities you’ve done to the board too!

[Physical Development – Moving & Handling; Expressive Arts & Design – Exploring and using media & materials, Being imaginative]

Safety

Of course Bonfire Night EYFS Activities are a great way for ealry years children to get involved in the festivities. However, wn important part of any firework celebrations, such as bonfire night, is the prevention of accidents. Fireworks and bonfires can be great fun but it is important to remember and pass on safety tips to parents, families and begin teaching children how to stay safe from an early age.

Here are a number of important tips to remember:

  • Make sure you plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable;
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework packaging prior to the evening or use a torch if necessary;
  • Light the fireworks at arm’s length and have others stand well back;
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit even if it fails to go off;
  • Direct fireworks away from spectators;
  • It is recommended that sparklers are not given to children under-5 years of age;
  • Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves;
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler;
  • When using sparklers avoid wearing loose clothing and tie back long hair.

Check out these websites for more information:

Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents 

Fire Service

BBC Newsround