Babies, dogs, frogs and snails (Week Beginning 20th April 2015)…

We all love a bit of corn flour and the Chimps have been exploring this wonderfully kooky texture all week. They were given a bowl of corn flour and another of water and practiced dabbing their hands in one and washing the flour off in the other. Wednesday was Earth Day and the Chimps enjoyed a trip to the beach to bask (doused in sun cream of course) in the glorious rays and collecting some stones for our numerous natural resource collections. Some of the Chimps were even attempting, from a distance, some conversations with the local dogs. They also made some bumbling bees using cotton wool and black and yellow paint. All the blocks – megablocks, foam blocks, wood blocks, you name it – have been out for a creative child led assortment as the Chimps constructed, sorted, and occasionally just hoarded. In the sensory tray, the children spooned and transferred colourful rice in bowls and some found chucking the rice across the room a fun-filled experience. They had a good squash and squeeze of their foam filled sensory bags which had a crunchy unseen surprise – there was pasta hidden inside! Speaking of hidden things the Chimps played a pointing game, searching for creatures in the room like ducks and spiders. Not real ducks and spiders – I think we’d need to fill out lots of risk assessments for those. We’ve had 16 new beautiful tree stumps delivered for the garden and the Chimps have been practicing their climbing and sitting on them with enthusiasm and pride. Those tree stumps were greeted with enthusiasm from children and the team alike. For their role play it was the babies’ turn to take care of the babies and they showcased their wonderful skills. They were feeding them bottles, covering them in blankets, and even rocking them to sleep. Of course, they all couldn’t resist having a rest in the Moses basket themselves. It’s tiring work looking after babies.

Blast off! The Howlers were up, up and away in space this week for their role play and role play they did. They donned their astronaut uniforms, put on their space/colander helmets and climbed into their rocket to go to the moon. Because we wouldn’t want to limit their travels to just the lunar landscape, the Howlers also learned about the planets with The Solar System song. You can find a link to this in our nursery song section on the website (http://youngfriends.bn1d.uknursery-songs/) so please take a look – it’s adorable and the children are completely enthralled. They’ve not only been exploring outer space – they have also been exploring St. Anne’s this week. They went on an animal hunt through the park. In the creative area, the Howlers have been painting with spaghetti and doing a lovely threading activity where they created pasta towers with play dough and straws. Now that the weather’s a tad warmer – nigh hot in the sunshine, the Howlers enjoyed some welcome ice play with colourful ice gloves (dyed frozen water-filled gloves). As the ice melted, the children started adding paints and glitter to their quickly melting gloves and verbally investigated liquids and solids, melting and uhhhh, slush. Since Hooray for Fish is such a favourite among the Howlers with all the wonderful and creative assortments of sealife on display, the children are now reading all about The Dogs. It’s quite similar as the focus remains on their different patterns, sizes and emotions. Woof, woof.

Still riding the wave of Baboon passions for tadpoles the children have been learning about frogs and life cycles this week. For their small world pond complete with green and blue water beads, the Baboons created tube roll frogs and were very attentive to details, ensuring all their frogs had legs to hop with. Once they transferred them into their virtual pond the Baboons acted out various scenarios with their pet frogs including acting out that they were eating the water beads and pretending their frogs were growing from tadpoles into full grown frogs. There was also a clear preference among the older Baboons to be frogs rather than tadpoles – perhaps the call of the Gorilla room is upon them. For their maths activity they performed an even more active rendition of “Speckled Frogs” (this can also be found in our song section on the website) – they splashed into the “pond” as the speckled frogs dwindled in number. The Baboons have been enjoying our new mark making garden hut so much that they took their Numicon activity outside and made really fabulous prints. Some of the children were very aware of the colours they created as they mixed them together, while others were keen to demonstrate their turn taking skills as they shared their prints and Numicon pieces amongst each other. We now have a lovely new tub full (like really full) of bright and beautiful buttons of all different shapes, sizes and colours. the Baboons could dream of and they enjoyed a ‘loose parts’ session, arranging the buttons on, around, and beside our wood blocks. They even helped Ebone make a rather unstable table. Better luck next time.

It’s the time of year when we open our windows to let in the cool air…and insects. This year your little Gorillas may tell you exactly what creepy crawly is paying you a visit as insects have been their focus for the week. At group time, the Gorillas looked at pictures of insects and talked about all of their different skills (or superpowers) – the strength of ants, the life cycle of caterpillars, and just how far and fast those grasshoppers hop. They even found a sneaky snail in their flower shop. No idea how it slid its way to the Gorillas but it seemed quite comfortable and the children were very excited about their surprise guest. Their book focus has included “Are you a Grasshopper?” and “Are You an Ant?” to give the Gorillas an even closer look at these fascinating creatures. All this knowledge is gearing them up for next week when they launch their insect world with an ant farm, butterfly garden and a new insect hotel in the garden. In the designing and making area the children created ladybirds and butterfly collages using natural resources (stones, leaves and petals). Maria built upon their Italian repertoire with insect words including “farfalla” which is butterfly and “bruco” (caterpillar). You may have noticed our new tree stumps in the garden which have replaced the crates, but do not worry. The crates haven’t gone too far as the Gorillas had an exuberant music and movement session using them as props. They rode them like horses, tried to touch the ceiling, and used them as boats to travel to faraway lands.

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