Arts and Crafts

Autumn as a Cross-Curricular Theme

Autumn as a Cross-Curricular Theme

The theme of Autumn is one that I will use every September/ October in school for a variety of reasons. There is an abundance of activities that all relate to the theme of Autumn that cross a variety of subjects.

Check out how you could use the activities below to celebrate the coming of Autumn across many subjects including Aistear, SESE, Art, Maths, and SPHE.

Aistear & Art Ideas

Creative Play - Playdough: We downloaded these Autumn playdough mats from Twinkl and laminated them to make sure they last. Laminating them also makes them very easy to clean as they only require a spray of disinfectant and a wipe between uses. Each child has their own personal tub of playdough and the playdough toys can be easily washed in warm soapy water.

Creative Play - Painting: We used red, orange, yellow and brown paint to create our autumn forest scene on A3 paper. Dabbing the paint onto the branches created a more realistic portrayal of leaves. Alternatively you could pinch a cotton wool ball in a clothes peg and use that to print the leaves onto the branches.

We also used sponges to print autumn colours onto leaf templates and tried our best to cut along the black line. These templates were downloaded from Twinkl.

Games with Rules - Bingo: We also downloaded these Autumn themed bingo mats from Twinkl. Again laminating them makes them last for future groups and they can easily be cleaned. We print the picture boards with the words below and use counters to cover the images that have been called out by the captain.

Physical - Exploratory Play: Explore the story 'We're Going on a Leaf Hunt' by Steve Metzger. Following the reading of the story bring the class on an Autumn SESE walk around the school grounds and collect fallen leaves along the way. Compare the characteristics of the leaves (Oral language and mathematical vocabulary development).

Physical - Manipulative Play: Use the items you collected on your nature walk to create a leaf man. Alternatively you could read the story 'Leaf Man' by Lois Ehlert. We love this work created by Jennifer Burns.

We also love the idea of creating a leaf rubbing hedgehog, just like the one created in this video. All you need is some leaves that you collected on your Autumn walk, some card, scissors, brown crayons and a googley eye.

Creating these acorns also provided the children with opportunities to refine their motor skills. They cut out two separate parts of the acorn, they finger painted spots into the cup to mimic the lumpy texture and then they stuck paper squares onto the shell before sticking the two sections together.

We hope you enjoy our Autumn ideas and would love to see what you do in your classroom for Autumn on our social media.

More information on the types of play can be found here on page 54.

David Quinn
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We love covering the book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle with infants in school around this time of year because there are so many possibilities for activities that correspond with the book. We hope that this year's infant classes won't miss it completely!

Here's a YouTube link for a read-aloud version of the book just incase you can't get your hands on the book. We do however recommend a hard copy!

We love to use it for the life cycle of the butterfly!

We read through the story and discuss the changes that occurred. What did he start off as? Then we use story sequencing cards to try and help the children to recall the steps that were taken. Can you put the pictures in the correct order? How do you know that this order is correct? We love these ones from Twinkl as they're very simple yet attractive to the eye.

We love to use it for maths work too as it covers more than one strand on the curriculum. These learning outcomes come straight from the Primary School Mathematics Curriculum (NCCA, 1999) which can be easily accessed through this link. Mathematical activities done in association with the book should enable the child to:

  • Sequence daily and weekly events or stages in a story:
    The caterpillar works through the days of the week, telling us what he did on each day and what he ate as he gets bigger and BIGGER! Discuss the days of the week, which day came before Tuesday? Which day do you think will come next? What did he eat on Friday?
  • Use the language of ordinal number (first, second, third, last):
    The caterpillar was very busy during the week, he ate lots and lots of different things! Discuss the order that the caterpillar ate some of the things. On Friday what did the caterpillar eat first/ second/ third etc.? Did he eat the banana second?
  • Read, write and order numerals (0–10):
    It's time to do some adding! On Monday he ate one apple and on Tuesday he ate two pears. Practise writing these numbers. You could even make the number using playdough with help from the Twinkl mats below.
  • Read, write and order numerals (0–10) (again):
    Make word cards for the number and match the word to the number. 1 links with 'one' and so on. We make things easy at school and just write the words on one sheet of coloured card and we write the numbers on another colour. Cut them into equal cards and get matching! You could also print something similar to the Twinkl image below. We love putting all the cards upside down too and take turns trying to flip over the matches.
  • Use the symbols + and = to construct word sentences involving addition:
    Find the words that represent the numerals and practise writing them. Next, use to signs and try to form the equation. On Wednesday he ate three plums and on Thursday he ate four strawberries. For smaller children, draw pictures to help in solving the problem (plum, plum, plum + strawberry, strawberry, strawberry, strawberry) which will visually show 3 + 4. Count all the fruit you've drawn. How many pieces of fruit did he eat on those days?
  • Identify the empty set and the numeral zero.
    Did the caterpillar eat anything on the very last day? How do we show that? Practise writing the numeral zero. Make a pasta necklace and form it into a 0 as shown below by Healthy Mama Info.
  • Order objects according to length or height.
    Time to get crafty! Use empty egg cartons to create your very own mini-beasts. The can be made in all sizes and colours just like those below found on Babyccino. Compare them. Which is the longest? Which is the shortest? How do you know?

Why not get the paint out? We love the idea of retelling the story through art just like learning.through.play did. You'll need eight paper plates some green and red paint, a paint brush scissors and some glue. Begin by painting one plate red and the rest green (the red plate will act as the head of the caterpillar while the body plates are green). Next, label the plates with the days of the week. finally draw (or print) all of the food items he ate and stick them onto the appropriate plate.

Retell the story through body movement. You are the caterpillar, follow the direction on the cards below as you start off in an egg and transform into a beautiful butterfly.

Additionally, what not make your own butterfly inspired by the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’? All you need is coloured card, paint, a paint brush, scissors for small hands, a pencil, glue, a lollipop stick, half a pipe cleaner and some funky eyes.
What do you do? Choose a piece of coloured card and fold it in half. Choose some coloured paint and use your brush to paint on one of the halves only. Fold it back together (making sure the painted part is on the inside) and press. When you peel it open you’ll have created a print. Once it is dry draw the shape of a set of wings and cut along the line. Glue a coloured lollipop stick for the body, some funky eyes and half a pipe cleaner for antennae.

You could also bring your butterfly around the garden to search for some mini beast friends.

See our blog post 'Reading with Younger Children' to find more information on accessing Twinkl for free.

David Quinn
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Easter Ideas

Easter Ideas

Happy Easter!

Schools were supposed to be finishing up last Friday for two weeks for Easter break and although things haven't been that certain recently we're hoping to spend Easter as we usually would; with family (and extended family via video chats), and with friends (also via video chats).

As a result of having to spend lots of this time isolated, we've decided to share some activities that you could be doing with your children at home. Here's some of our favourites.

'My 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsule' created by Long Creations helps to teach children that they are living through history during this time. It contains a variety of activities, games and colouring sheets all designed to make memories for the future.
Click here for the link to access the free downloadable booklet.

Rainbow Sky Creations have created '100 Points of Family Fun'. An Easter challenge aimed at keeping children occupied and bringing families closer together. The game, score 100 points to win! The challenge, complete tasks to earn points. Tasks include make your bed four days in a row, help prepare a meal, read for 15 minutes, and our favourite, have a paper aeroplane contest.
Click here for the link to access the free downloadable booklet.

Why not design your own Easter themed bookmark to assist with all the reading you could be doing during this time. Click here to download the beautiful bookmarks created by I Should be Mopping the Floor.

Younger children could practise their number and colour recognition by completing some maths/ colouring as Gaeilge. This worksheet which is free to download on Twinkl by setting up an account and using the code IRLTWINKLHELPS.
Click here to download a choice of beautifully designed Easter eggs.

Finally, we love the Easter Scavenger Hunt created by Happiness is Homemade. The whole family will have fun with this silly Easter scavenger hunt, and it’s guaranteed to add some joy and excitement to your Easter morning! Firstly, you need to print the clues available here. Then, after you've hidden the clues all you have to do is simply hiding the eggs!

We hope you have as much fun with these activities as we do!

David Quinn
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DIY Marble Run

DIY Marble Run

Time to let your creativity flow with this ‘Do It Yourself’ Marble Run. What a perfect way to keep the kids busy, engaged and mentally stimulated! Also, most households should have the supplies needed already around the house, bonus!

You will need:

  • Toilet Paper or Kitchen Paper Rolls
  • Tape
  • Marbles / Pom Poms / Bouncy Balls
  • Paper plates (not necessary but useful for extra swirls)
  • Wooden Blocks (not necessary but useful for support)
  • Paint (not necessary, just for decoration)

Firstly plan your marble maze. We went onto Pinterest to get some inspiration for how we’d like our maze to look. Check out some examples below!

Now all you have to do is cut your paper rolls and plates as planned, ensure to tape everything up well and paint if desired. Finally drop in your marble and watch it roll!

Why not have a race against a parent or sibling by dropping in two or three marbles of different colours and see which one makes it to the finish line first!

David Quinn
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Work Those Motor Skills with Homemade Playdough

Work Those Motor Skills with Homemade Playdough

his is the playdough recipe which I have been using to make for school for quite a while now. I originally found it at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/playdough-recipe

 

What you’ll need:

  1. 8 tablespoons of plain flour
  2. 8 tablespoons of plain flour
  3. 2 tablespoons of table salt
  4. 60ml of warm water
  5. 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil 
  6. food colouring (optional)

Method:

  1. Add the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl add the warm water, oil and a few drops of food colouring.
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the large mixing bowl with the flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients have combined.
  4. Dust your work surface with a small amount of flour and place the dough on top.
  5. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
  6. If your colour is not intense enough you can add more food colouring.
  7. Store in a sealed container or zip-lock bag to keep it fresh. Removing the air prevents the playdough from drying out and going hard. We also recommend storing it in the fridge. 

 

 

David Quinn
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Get Crafty, Mother’s Day Edition

Get Crafty, Mother’s Day Edition

Here’s a craft which is guaranteed to brighten up your Mother’s (or Grandmother’s, or another special person’s) day during these difficult times, we hope your child will have as much fun making them as we had in school (pre shut down).

Firstly you’ll need a pice of A4 white (or cream) card and fold it along the centre, creating your card. We folded it short end to short end to maximise the surface space. Next, you’ll need the poem. We printed it onto coloured paper and cut it into the shape of a vase but feel free to write it on for an added personal touch!

I’ve made some Mother’s Day flowers,

With my finger and my thumb,

So you’ll always have these memories,

For all the years to come.

Next, you’ll need to make the handprint which is used for the stems. It’s important not to have the fingers too widely opened or you’ll have no room for the petals. We smudged our hand in green paint and pressed it into the centre of the page. Alternatively, you could put the hand in place and trace around it, colouring the inside in green.

Now all that remains is making each flower. We put a spot of yellow or orange paint onto the top of each stem (finger) with our finger and then used different colours to add petals.

Once the paint has dried you can stick the pot with the poem into the bottom of the card and there you have it.

For and added bonus you could print off a colouring sheet from Twinkl by visiting https://www.twinkl.ie/. They have a support page set up, enabling free use from home during these difficult times. In the search bar I simply typed ‘Mother’s Day Colouring’ and selected the 2 sheets per page printing option. We coloured the picture in and stuck it to the inside of the card before adding our message.

David Quinn
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