I have been meaning to get round to starting a blog for the childminding. The summer holidays are an ideal time because I have the additional challenge of keeping my five children entertained as well as our young childmindee additions to the family.
Yesterday we did some ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ activities. The younger children were wildly excited and had a great time using their imaginations, collecting items from around the house to use as water, snow, grass etc. My elder two children were less keen on the activities and escaped fairly quickly.
Today I decided a treasure theme would span the age groups better as I could incorporate some jewellery making and box construction. I planned for treasure hunts, treasure maps, coin rubbing and digging. I had planned an outing to the sandpit at Ruxley Manor so the theme fit perfectly. I find that children feel they have more ownership of a theme if you allow them to choose their angles on the activity. When the children appeared I told them the choice of theme and made my suggestions and asked them to think of some ideas of their own. My seven-year-olds were immediately off making a pirate ship out of cushions. They decided to put on roller skates to be ‘time travellers’.
Most of the children decided to join in the treasure map activity. We used a dip pen and pot of ink to give the maps an authentic feel. I supplied teabags to add some stain. I helped our two-year-old mindee to wipe the teabag over the map and laughed as our five-year-old decided it was more fun to rip the teabag apart and to press the leaves into the picture.
‘it looks as though it has been dug up!’
Our next mission was to make a treasure chest. The best template I could find was at this website:
The box in this page is a ‘school box’ but I found that it made an excellent treasure chest. The children taped them with masking tape and then painted them. A few of the children threaded beads for jewellery to add the their treasure chests. They added some sequins for sparkle too.
My 9-year-old daughter decided to make a minature map to fit inside her treasure chest.
Our seven-year-old was excited when we brought out the glitter and sequins and made a treasure inspired painting.
The next challenge I gave the children was to create a piece of ‘treasure’ related writing for a competition. All entries would win a treasure prize. Our two-year-old mindee joined in by doing some lightbox writing. The lightbox was bought for my illustration work but it has been wonderful for my childminding. Children of all ages enjoy this equipment. Older children enjoy copying intricate images and younger children improve their fine motor skills by aiming their pen at specific areas of the page and adding marks over the top of images beneath. As they learn to draw boundary shapes they circle areas of interest and slowly begin to learn to follow the lines beneath.
Finally we set off for Ruxley Manor where the children did some digging in the sandpit. Our seven-year-old even found a treasure in the sand – a small stone which he swore was precious and ‘it changes colour Mum!’