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  1. How movement play can help early writing skills

    How movement play can help early writing skills

    How movement play can help early writing skills.

    This blog will examine how physical activity can help children with their early writing skills.

    Before children begin to write they need to feel comfortable about putting their forearms onto a table so that they can support their hand when writing.  Some children find resting their forearms very strange and prefer to try to write with their arm up in the air which of course is not going to make for producing legible letters.

    When they were smaller some children may have missed out on crawling and this is an important stage in their physical development.  Crawling as well as lots of floor play is important, as this is when children will get used to resting their forearms on a flat surface, so that when they come to sitting at a desk and begin to write it will not feel alien to them.

    I must make the comment that this is only my own personal research.  When I have children i

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  2. 6 ways to get your child ready for starting school

    6 ways to get your child ready for starting school

    6 ways to get your child ready for starting school

    There are only a few months left before your child will start "big school" and research by PACEY has shown that 71% of parents were anxious about their child starting school.  I hope that this blog will give you some tips as to how you can make this big step worry free.

    1. Help your child to be independent with their self care.  At school children will need to go to the toilet and wash their hands independently.  As a parent you will be used to helping them with this process but they now need to do it by themselves.  Dressing children in clothes that they can undo by themselves will help.  Encourage them to use toilet paper properly (they do not need to use the whole roll!) and to flush the toilet when they have finished.  Also if they don't make it to the toilet in time then reassure them that it is ok to have accidents.  As a teacher in a Foun
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  3. Why I love Numicon

    Why I love Numicon

    Why I love Numicon

    Early experiences of maths at home can have a huge impact on later achievement in maths.  Numicon is one way that you can help your child with their early maths skills. It is designed to help children visualise numbers.  It comes in different coloured shapes which represent the different numbers.  It can be used to help see what a number 1,2,3 etc. actually looks like.  As children progress they can use the pieces to see how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers.  It is in one word FANTASTIC and has helped a number of children who I have taught to actually understand what different numbers mean. Here I have put together a number of different activities which I have used to make children familiar with different numbers.  Photos for some of the activities can be found at the end of the blog.

    1. Printing with Numicon. Early experiences with Numicon are getting used to wha
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  4. Schemas: How children learn through play

    Schemas:  How children learn through play

    Schemas:  How children learn through play

    Schemas are patterns of repeated behaviours that children exhibit through their play.  They have been defined as "building blocks of knowledge" Jean Piaget.  They are perfectly natural and can be invaluable to a child's development to understand the world around them.

    These repeated behaviours can be shown by children in different ways.  You may have a child who loves transporting; moving things from one place to another either by carrying them or putting them into containers, pushchairs, wheelbarrows etc.  They will also get really involved when role playing being a post person, packing up a picnic to go somewhere, or being a delivery driver.

    Another example of a schema is rotation; this focuses on movement of the child themselves or by using objects by spinning and turning repeatedly.  For example, wheels, knobs and balls.  You may

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  5. What's in the cupboard? Early Science skills

    What's in the cupboard? Early Science skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Early Science skills

    It's Part 4 of What's in the cupboard and this week we are looking at early science skills.  Children are naturally curious and it is vital to capture their fascination with the world around them from an early age.

    Here are some early science activities that you can do at home.

    1. Sensory play arouses children's imaginations, creativity and curiosity.  It is also great for teaching about the different concepts between a solid and a liquid. Conflour, water and a touch of food colouring make a lovely gloop when mixed together.  When you roll the mixture in your hands, the particles join together and the mixture feels solid.  But if it is left to rest or is held up and allowed to dribble the particles slide over each other and it feels like a liqud.
    2. Children are fascinated by ice and what happends to it as it melts.  To develop their curiosity freeze some i
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  6. What's in the cupboard? Early maths skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Early maths skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Early maths skills

    It's part 3 of What's in the cupboard and this week we are looking at early maths skills.

    Here are some ideas for helping your child improve their maths.

    1. Pre-counting skills are important in the early stages of maths.  These include the ability to sort and match objects.  Setting the table is a good way to practise this as is helping with the washing and matching up pairs of socks.
    2. Singing number songs help children get used to the pattern of numbers.  These can be sung when other activities are taking place such as bath time, walking to school etc. 5 little ducks, 5 speckled frogs and 10 fat sausages are good for counting down but don't forget that counting up is important. 1 elephant went out to play is a lovely one to sing with a few friends.
    3. Numbers can be written down on pieces of paper and matched up with household objects.  For example, sort
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  7. What's in the cupboard? Early writing skills

    What's in the cupboard? Early writing skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Early writing skills


    In Part 2 of What's in the cupboard we are looking at early writing skills.  Before children actually begin the process of forming letters, they need to experiment with making marks and also attributing meaning to those marks.

    Here are some ideas for early writing activities that you can do with your little ones.

    1. Encourage big arm movements and take mark making outside.  Painting fences/walls etc. with paint brushes and water.  Get out some chunky chalks and let your children experiment with mark making on the pavement/walls etc. it doesn't matter where as it will easily wash off.
    2. Children need to get experience of lying on their tummies and resting their forearms on the floor (to prepare them for formal writing).  So why not try mark making on the floor.  Children  enjoy creating big masterpieces, so use the back of an old roll of wallpape
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  8. What's in the cupboard? Gross motor skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Gross motor skills

    What's in the cupboard?  Gross motor skills


    In our new series we will be looking at different activities that you can do with your child at home without spending a penny! This week we are looking at gross motor skills.  Gross motor or physical skills are those which require whole body movement and are important in order for children to perform everyday activities such as walking, climbing, throwing and catching.

    Here are some ideas for gross motor activities you can do with the family.

    1. Belly-crawling and crawling on all fours helps children to not only align their body ready for walking but also helps with balance necessary to hop and skip.  Try having crawling races, crawling tig or crawling follow-my-leader where the whole family can join in.
    2. Children need to be able to explore how their body feels when it is moving in different ways.  You can always have a "How are you going to move day?" where th
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  9. Bonfire night foam fireworks

    Bonfire night foam fireworks

    With bonfire night approaching why not try these shaving foam fireworks.  It is a great messy fun activity which also helps to improve fine motor skills.

    You will need the following:

    • Baking tray
    • Shaving foam (unperfumed if your child has sensitive skin)
    • Food colouring or paint in 2 or more different colours
    • Cocktail sticks, cotton buds
    • Thick paper

    Squirt some shaving foam into the tray and then smooth it out.  You want to try and make it as flat as possible so that the colouring/paint will not run when added.  Then put a few drops of colouring all over the shaving foam.  If you want to make your patterns more colourful then you can add a different colour into the middle of the drops.  Next comes the fun bit.  Using your spreading tools such as cocktail sticks or cotton buds, spread the colour starting from the centre of the drops.  This is an activity wh

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  10. Autumn gross motor adventures

    Autumn gross motor adventures

    Involve your children in the autumn garden jobs and improve their gross motor skills while enjoying some great shared moments.

    With autumn now in full swing there is lots of tidying up to be done in the garden such as clearing all of those fallen leaves.  Use these chores as a way to help your child improve their gross motor skills.

    Gross motor or physical skills are those which require whole body movement and are important in order for children to perform everyday activities such as walking, running, climbing, throwing and catching. They are also vital for everyday self care skills such as dressing (where you need to be able to stand on one leg to put your other leg into your trousers without falling over).

    Here are some ideas for gross motor activities:

    1. Picking up leaves and throwing them high into the air to get the whole body moving.  Check that hedgehogs are not hiding in the leaves beforehand! I have yet to see a ch

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