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Our Pumpkin Adventure!

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Today the children in The Den walked to the local supermarket to buy some pumpkins! The children helped choose two pumpkins that we would like to take back to nursery. "Can we have this one", "It's very big", "This is heavy!", "Can you help me?", "Lots of pumpkins!"

Once we had chosen our pumpkins we headed over the the checkout to pay. The lady at the check out helped us put the pumpkins into a bag to carry back to nursery and gave us a token to put in the slots near the door!

After all the excitement we had worked up quite an appetite. We wondered where we could find a bench to eat our snack and the children thought that the park would be just the place! We set off to Millhouses Park in search of a bench and soon enough the children chose the perfect place! The children saw and heard lots of things whilst eating their snack "Doggy!", "It's raining!", "I can hear the river!", "Oh an aeroplane!"

After our snack we had just enough time to have a play on the climbing frame before walking back to nursery for our dinner! After dinner some of the children used a peeler to peel the skin off one of our pumpkins, it was very tricky and we had to be very careful and listen to instructions but we were able to peel some of the skin off and feel at the "slimey" pumpkin underneath. Next week we will be decorating our pumpkins in preparation for Halloween where, amongst other things, we will be dressing up! 


Nature Walk

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Autumn is well and truly in full swing and the children in The Den have been noticing some of the changes in our environment, from the leaves falling, to the colder weather. Embracing this interest this week we decided to take a stroll through the woods! The children found baskets to take with them to collect things they found on the floor. During the walk up to the woods the children found big piles of crunchy leaves and enjoyed jumping up and down in them, listening to the rustling noise they made. Whilst in the woods the children found lots of things, pinecones, leaves, sticks, conkers - and even a caterpillar. The natural environment sparked lots of conversations and the children were keen to keep exploring to see what else we could see. Here are some of the things the children said during our walk:

"This is a big stick" 

"What's this?"

"Look, acorns!"

"That's a big tree!"

"A white feather"

"What's over there?"

"It's spikey!" 

The children were very gentle with the caterpillar and we decided to bring it back to nursery and watch it transform! We talked with the children about what our caterpillar might like to eat, and gave it lots of crunchy leaves and some apple! Within one day the caterpillar has already started to cocoon. 

Celebrating Birthdays

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We have two children's birthdays this week, so to celebrate we have been baking some buns! The children enjoyed counting how many eggs we put into the mixure, and helping to weigh out all the ingredents. The children took turns adding the different ingredents into the mixture and giving it a good stir. Everybody listened very carefully and were able to follow the simple instructions in order to make the buns. The children chose whether they wanted to use a little spoon or a big spoon to scoop the mixture into the tin. 

After the buns came out of the oven the children enjoyed choosing how they were going to decorate their buns, it was very exciting deciding what colours and sprinkles to use! 

At lunch time we sang 'happy birthday' and tucked in, the children were very impressed with their baking skills and it made for a very quiet pudding time! 

Mixing Colours

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This week the children in the Toddler Room have really enjoyed painting and mixing colours together! We have experimented with watered down paint in spray bottles. Teachers demonstrated how to use the spray bottles and the children quickly got the hang of it and we're ready to go. We gave the children some simple rules and directions about where they could spray the paint and everybody was able to listen well, taking turns and discussing what we thought might happen when we sprayed white paint on top of the purple paint. The children watched as the white run into the purple and then drip onto the floor, leaving marks and dots on the floor!

One child added paint to the water tray, turning the water purple! Another fetched a bowl and sprayed paint into it "I'm putting it in the bowl!" After a while, and a lot of exploring and experimenting, the children began using their hands and making handprints all around the garden. One child held a container whilst another child sprayed the paint into it, they then investigated the paint they had sprayed into the container before pouring it onto the paper! 

Exploring shapes!

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This week the children have being showing an interest in shapes, choosing a variety of different shape blocks during play. We decided to explore shapes using a light box! We used the sensory blocks, which are all different shapes and colours. We turned off all the lights and switched the light box on. The children chose a variety of ways to explore the light box and the shapes. Some children enjoyed looking through the opaque shapes "I can see you!" one commented. "What's this?" another enqired, turning the shape around and pointing to the coloured sand moving around inside the shape. Other shapes have liqid inside and we watched as it 'swished' around. Another had beads in, which ratled as it was tipped and shaken. One child made a tower using the blocks, balancing them carefully, and others decided to bang them together, we enjoyed the noise that made!

The children really enjoyed exploring with the shapes, as well as the sensory experiences that were provided by the light box and different tacties inside the blocks. This activity also provided an excellent opportunity to talk about the different colours and shapes the children could see, and how we could change them using other blocks and the light box to reflect other colours. We will be continuing to explore the children's interest in shapes in the environment, commenting on shapes we see and encouraging the children to actively talk about the shapes they can see during the course of the day.

Investigating ice

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As the weather is becoming colder and Halloween is nearly here we decided to explore Halloween shaped and coloured ice.

We placed the ice onto a tray and the children explored touching and sliding them around the tray,"cold" one child exclaimed then pointed to the witches hat."Hat, what's that" he asked picking up the mummy shaped ice and a member of staff explains. He drops the ice and little flakes of ice chipped off and a couple of the children pick these up and begin to mark make on the top of the table and in doing so notice that their fingers are turning red from the food colouring. A child joins the group, fetching a shopping basket with him and begins to fill the basket with ice, a peer joins in and when all the ice is in the basket they tip it back onto the tray. Another child uses the lid off a box to mark make on. The ice was steadily melting so after a while we decided to add it to the water tray and continued to explore as the ice turned the water red, which then became fun to fill, empty and squirt water as bottles were added.

The children really enjoyed this activity and it gave them chance to explore textures and talk about the changes that happened as the ice melted as well as using physical dexterity and working out problems - how to squirt the bottles.

We think the children will really enjoy more investigative texture play, we are therefore planning an activity to extend texture play using squirty pump dispensers with a variety of contents to touch, mix and smell.



Exploring Textures

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Now as you know, we like to get the children messy at Croft Corner and this week we have been having lots of fun playing with gloop. If you haven't heard of gloop it’s a mixture of cornflour and water and we added custard powder in for an extra sensory experience.

The children have loved this fun sensory experience and we saw lots of deep level learning! When children are developing, learning through their senses is a very important way for them to learn how things are different. Gloop, for example, will drip and pour like a liquid but you can also form it into a solid ball so it is fascinating to children.

One little boy squealed with delight when a solid ball of gloop could be seen “disappearing” into the tray. Another wanted to feed his dinosaur the gloop and had to do some critical thinking to work out how to get his dinosaur out when we realised it was stuck!

Our flexible routine in the room allows for children to become absorbed in what they are doing and it was so rewarding to see a little boy play with the gloop for over an hour uninterrupted. He was able to become fully immersed in his learning and it was our role as Early Years Practitioners to support and extend his learning (more on how we do that next time!!)


If you want to try it at home, it’s really easy to make, you just need a bowl and add cornflour with a little water and mix, adding water until you get a smooth consistency. It can get quite messy but unlike paint it is very easy to tidy up! 

Over the coming weeks we will be continuing to introduce the children to different messy play activities. We are always looking for new ideas so if you have any you would like to share then please do. This link has lots of ideas and hopefully we can try them out