Category Archives: Activities

Beech Tree Autumnal Leaves

October Forest Days

During the month of October the children had great fun with their ‘forest days’

They arrived wrapped up and stayed outside for the duration of the day.

Activities included den building, mud painting, vegetable digging, vegetable and fruit painting, a treasure hunt and of course, the best bit hot chocolate and whipped cream.

Everyone had such a great time and all slept well that night!

Modelling clay ladybird

Make your own modelling dough

Modelling dough gets used up quickly, why not save money by making your own?

This no-cook method is especially good as it can be made safely by children.

What you’ll need

  • Two cups of plain flour
  • One cup of salt
  • One tablespoon of oil
  • One cup of cold water
  • Liquid food colouring (about two drops is usually enough)

The activity, step by step

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl or pan.
  2. Mix the water and the food colouring in a cup.
  3. Add the water/food colouring and the oil to the flour/salt and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Knead the dough well.
  5. If the mix is too wet add in a little flour, if it’s too dry and is crumbling at drop more water.

Teaching points – things you can talk about while you’re enjoying this activity

  • Discuss how the flour feels.
  • Talk about the measurement of the ingredients.
  • Watch as the water changes with the food colouring.
  • Look at how the mixture changes as you mix the dry and wet ingredients.
  • Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
  • Communication, language and literacy.
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World.

This childcare activity promotes:

  • Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
  • Communication, language and literacy.
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World.
Ginger Bread Man Children's Activity Illustration 01.

Gingerbread Men – Children’s Fun Baking Activity:

Get creative, and have a tasty treat at the end of this fun children’s activity.
This recipe will make roughly 36 nine-centimetre high gingerbread men.

What you need:

For the gingerbread dough:

  • 450g/1lb plain flour.
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda.
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 dessertspoon of ground ginger.
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • 110g/4oz of butter.
  • 225g/8oz of soft brown sugar.
  • 1 teacup of black treacle.
  • About 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk.
  • Gingerbread man shaped cutter.
  • Or scissors and card to make your own gingerbread man template.

For decorating:

  • Use dried fruit and/or small sweets.
  • Pre-made icing tubes (for decoration).
  • Or mix your own icing:
    • Icing sugar (see back of pack for instructions).
    • Water.

The activity, step by step:

A. Make the dough:

For younger children, make the dough first and start at step 7. You can prepare the dough the night before and keep it in the fridge.

  1. Prepare your ingredients. If you’re working with younger children it may be easier to weigh everything beforehand.
  2. Sift the flower, soda, salt and spices into a mixing bowl.
  3. Place the butter, sugar and treacle into a saucepan
  4. Adult: Stir over a gentle heat until it’s all dissolved.
  5. Adult: Leave to cool a little then add flour with enough evaporated milk to make a firm dough.
  6. Cool the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. Why not read the classic story “The Gingerbread Man” while you’re waiting.

B. Make your gingerbread men:

  1. Adult: Set the oven to 325 °F / 170 °C / Gas mark 3
  2. Lightly grease a few baking trays.
  3. Roll out the dough to between 0.5 and 1 centimetre thickness.
  4. Use the cutter to cut out your gingerbread men, or cut a template from a piece of card and use a knife to cut around it.
  5. Carefully lift the cut shapes onto your greased baking tray.
  6. Adult: Place the trays into the oven and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. When cooked allow them to cool before lifting them off the baking trays.

C. Decorate your gingerbread men:

  1. Use the icing to stick the dried fruit and/or sweets onto your gingerbread men.
  2. Children can have good fun decorating the gingerbread men as people in different jobs and roles.
  3. If you have a writing tube and icing, children enjoy using it to draw on the gingerbread men.

And there you have it! And you’re not just limited to gingerbread men. You can make gingerbread Christmas trees, gingerbread Easter treats, gingerbread footballs…

Teaching points – things you can talk about while you’re enjoying this activity:

  • What does the mixture look and feel like at the different stages in the process?
  • Discuss the different weights and numbers when weighing the ingredients.
  • Discuss the colours when decorating.

Ginger Bread Man Children's Activity Illustration 02.

This childcare activity promotes:

  • Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
  • Communication, language and literacy.
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World.
Painted pasta for necklaces.

Children’s Craft Pasta Bracelets.

This is an affordable, fun childcare activity for you and your child.

Please note: Children should not be left unattended while making and wearing pasta bracelets.

What you need;

  • A bag of tubular pasta, e.g. penne or elicoidali – experiment with different types.
  • Acrylic paints; if you don’t have acrylic paint you can make your own by mixing poster paints with PVA glue until the desired thickness is achieved;
  • Paint brush;
  • Elastic string to make the bracelet – use an elastic that can be easily broken to help avoid accidents;
  • String, for drying the pasta;
  • Scissors.

The activity, step by step:

Part one; paint the pasta:

  1. Prepare your paints according to the manufacturer’s instructions;
  2. Apply the paint to the uncooked pasta; use a brush or hands if your child enjoys getting messy!
  3. Thread the painted pasta onto a length of string and hang to dry.

Part two; make the bracelet:

  1. When your pasta is dry remove it from the string; separate any pieces of pasta that stick together carefully to prevent them snapping;
  2. Use the scissors to cut the elastic to the desired length; it should easily slide on and off your child’s wrist;
  3. Thread your painted pasta onto the elastic;
  4. Tie the two ends together, or use a pull-apart clasp.

Teaching points – things you can talk about while you’re enjoying this activity:

  • Use descriptive words to discuss how the paint feels on your hands;
  • Talk about the different coloured paints you’re using;
  • Stretch the elastic, what does it feel like?
  • Talk about how the raw pasta is different from cooked pasta.
  • Count the pasta tubes as you thread them.

This childcare activity promotes:

  • Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
  • Communication, language and literacy.
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World.
Photo of our welly boot planting activity.

Children’s Fun Planters, a Meadows Day Nursery Favourite!

Use up old or outgrown children’s welly boots as a great alternative flower pot. The children at Meadows Day Nursery really enjoyed this activity.

What you need:

  • An old Wellington boot.
  • A couple of handfuls of gravel or small stones.
  • Enough compost to fill the boot. Use general purpose compost.
  • Choice of plant.
    It’s good to pick a plant that’s already flowering, with a few more new flowers coming on. We used pansies.
  • Strong, sharp scissors.
  • A trowel (or just use a spoon or your hands).

The activity, step by step:

  1. Cut some slits or holes in the bottom of the welly boot for drainage (adults only to cut). It might be safer to prepare this before you start.
  2. Put a couple of handfuls of gravel or small stones in the bottom of the boot to provide drainage.
  3. Encourage the child to scoop the compost into the boot until it is about 3cm from the top.
    Stop occasionally to give the boot a shake or ask the child to make the boot walk on the floor. This firms down the soil as you go.
  4. Pull the plant out of its container keeping as much compost as you can on the roots. Ask the child to make a hole in the soil big enough to take the roots, and pop the plant in.
  5. Press down the compost around the plant with your knuckles or the back of the spoon (not too hard).
  6. Sprinkle on a little water.
  7. You could add gravel to the top as a mulch to reduce water loss. Or how about adding crushed egg shells to put off slugs and snails?

Teaching points – things you can talk about while you’re enjoying this activity:

  • What does the compost feel like?
  • Compost is a form of recycling. Talk about what goes into the compost (food, plant cuttings, etc). You’re also recycling the welly boots.
  • Count the spoonfuls of compost as you put them in.
  • Give the plant a drink; plants need water to grow just like people.
  • Talk about the different creatures that will like the plant. Bees will take the pollen, slugs and snails will eat the leaves, worms will live in the soil.
  • Talk about the colour of the flowers.

This childcare activity promotes:

  • Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
  • Communication, language and literacy.
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World.