Sensory boards, sand mounds, number stones, and desert islands (Week Beginning 15th June 2015)…

The Chimps have been working on their exploratory skills this week as the Chimp team unveiled their brand new sensory board. There’s been pinging of door stoppers, the clink of a chain pulley, and the whirr, whirr, whirr of trolley wheels while the Chimps investigated all the shiny noisy things. On inset day, the team also created handmade bean bags which the Chimps have been placing in the strangest of places – on top of their heads and making rather impressive stacks on the bead maze. For their painting activity, the Chimps had a go with the potato masher, stamping into paint and printing onto paper. The activity seemed to remind some of the little ones of bath time as they dipped their hands into the paint and started washing their hair. That’s okay, though, since their handprints were used for their sloth-themed Father’s day cards. The towers have been legendary with stacking up constructions and a few of the children noticed the change in their voices as they shouted into them. Never too young for the selfie craze, the Chimps put their tablet to use and pulled all the funniest faces they could at their camera. No trout pouts here. The small world was a rather unintentionally tasty affair with a sensory farm complete with Shreddies, pasta and lentils for the farmland. In the role play area, the Chimps practiced their “more” and “please” Makaton as they sat down for a spot of tea and bread. Sip, sip.

It’s certainly that time of year when we all need to dust off our sandcastle skills and the Howlers have started it off with sticky sand molds. The Howlers were very impressed with their sand mounds and even sprinkled some glitter over the top because…well…why not? At the creative table they also made blow painting monster portraits, blowing paint around their paper through straws. There’s nothing like a little ten-pin bowling on a sunny day and the Howlers grabbed a few construction blocks and a ball for a quick game. They even waited patiently for their turns and deterred themselves from knocking the blocks over with their hands. In the role play area, the Howlers have been taking excellent care of their babies from feeding and changing nappies to rocking them gently to sleep in their cots. As the weather has been particularly pleasant to us this week, the Howlers have been enjoying some quality time in the garden, playing with our newest garden resources. At the abacus wall, the children moved balls along as the adults called out numbers and colours for them to move. It’s all been very noisy at our new sound wall while the Howlers have searched the garden for anything that’ll make the crash and bang of the pots and pans a bit louder, and the water wall couldn’t come soon enough as it’s been a welcome place of retreat from the heat. Phew.

The Baboons have had houses on the brain and have been viewing the different types that people live in, even creating their own from junk modelling resources. The unanimous favourite was, naturally, the treehouse, so the Baboons banded together to create their perfect treehouse from recycling materials. Their construction role play area also lended to their creating spirits as the children talked about being safe – wearing all their protective gear – and planned the various buildings they wanted in their city including a school and a castle. The Baboons are the first to start using our new natural counting stones and have been enjoying the colourful designs and putting the rocks in numerical order. Oh yes and the Baboons have also been ball rolling paint up and down and around the garden. Better here (for you at least) than at home, I suppose. Our colourful, long-lasting playdough sets are out, and the Baboons wasted no time in creating sets of animals with it. Well, sets of elephants. Apparently, everyone wanted to make elephants. They’ve also enjoyed their new and improved puppet show theatre. This week, they’ve been enjoying a presentation of “The Gruffalo’s Child,” identifying all the main characters’ shadows and predicting what’s going to happen next in the story. You’ll be able to take them to the West End any time soon, now. They’re a marvellous theatre audience.

The mastery of storytelling is quite a skill, but the Gorillas were completely unphased by the task as they enjoyed their brand new, painstakingly toiled over, story stones – stickers were glued and varnished onto stones to prompt and promote story building. The children put their selection of stones in sequence and told the tallest tales of sea creatures, pirates, and princesses. They were quite a hit. Also quite high up on the fun meter was their scientific milk experiment. The Gorillas added a thin layer of milk, washing up liquid, and a few drops of food colouring to watch the reaction of swirling colours. Using cocktail sticks, they poked and dragged at the swirls to move them around and create various patterns. At the writing table, the Gorillas tried their hands at sand drawing, moving their brushes around the tray to reveal a colourful surface underneath. They made rainbow snails, seashells, and enjoyed brushing out their names. In the dance room, the children started learning musical scales, viewing and listening to the musical notes. Musical virtuosos on the rise. Pirates seemed to be quite a theme in the Gorilla room this week as the children had a choice of story cards during their quiet time. Together, the Gorillas told the story of a pirate who lived on a desert island who had to fight off all the other pirates who came to his island looking for treasure. Aaaargh!

Look out for the new sand kitchen workbench – a new garden feature added by Paul and Sam this weekend. We are hoping the children will love it. They have lots of new sand and utensils to make pies and cakes with. Oh and the Baboons also have a new sand tray in their room which they will be enjoying too.

Happy belated day, daddies, from the Young Friends team!