In the depths of winter we still like to go on regular walks in the countryside, but inevitably, we spend more time indoors. So how did we spend our time in January and February last year?
The theme for the first two weeks was 'Winter'. I was concerned that the children would not have experienced real snow, but I needn't have worried, as it came at just the right time.
We did some wonderful winter things. We made fake snow and buried animals in it and had snowball fights with cotton wool pompoms. We froze animals in ice and then found ways to thaw them. Then we discussed Arctic animals and their colours- and why! We made snowman pancakes, snowman biscuits and bird food cake. We experimented with floating and sinking, and made our own boats; then we filled a series of jars with different amounts of coloured water and created our own musical sounds.
Our second two-week topic was 'Dinosaurs'. We created our very own Jurassic Park and a Dinosaur World, made out of papier maché and with an erupting volcano, which was amazing. The fascination of dinosaurs never dims, and we loved the topic. We learnt about the different types of dinosaurs, what they eat and how we know. We sang lots of dinosaur songs, learnt the Brontosaurus Stomp, made dinosaur biscuits and read lots of books about dinosaurs.
We are very lucky in our village of Whittington. We have at least five good play areas, not to mention access to the BMX Track, the wind turbine, the horses and the canal, and the surrounding countryside. We visit all of them regularly, and if the weather is a bit too damp and the fields too muddy, we just don our bright red splash suits and wellies and really enjoy ourselves, especially in the puddles. Jumping in them is best! Last year though, they were frequently frozen, so we broke the ice instead.
The two weeks leading up to half term were very intense. ‘Space’ was the theme and the children learnt about the solar system. They made wonderful mobiles, featuring the sun, the moon, the earth, the other planets and shooting stars, many destined to be hung from bedroom ceilings at home, and suspended over the cots of new babies. Amy's Science sessions were amazing. We combined Space with Science and we made lava lamps and moon rocks. When we sprinkled vinegar over the moon rocks, we watched them fizz and dissolve. Using a jam jar, a straw, a balloon and lots of red water, we drew the outline of a human being and drew in their internal organs and bones, and we learnt how the heart sends blood round our bodies. We really enjoyed that! Then we drew round our hands and tied wool to the fingers, to show how muscles made them bend.
On the last day we celebrated the Chinese New Year, so we made an amazing dragon and did a dragon dance in the garden. We have enjoyed the cold weather, spending lots of time going on local walks. Regardless of the cold weather, the chickens and guinea pigs have still had to be fed, the frozen water replaced, and the eggs collected. This has been done every day by Karin and her indomitable little band of helpers. It has all been lots of fun!