Shorter days, dark evenings, orange leaves, can only mean one thing-Autumn!
With Autumn, comes Harvest! How many of your children are learning about Harvest at school? Generally Harvest is about thanking the lord for crops and so forth, however, I am not religious, but I do see it as a good opportunity to teach my children about counting their blessings and recognising all things good in our lives!
For Miss 4, we read The Little Red Hen (lots!), we have a couple of versions with different endings, our favourite being the one where the Little Red Hen shares her bread with the baker and the miller as they helped her, thus showing kind morals.
This year I decided to really ‘topic’ it in our family home and yes, it started with a tub-time! A little bit of red food colouring in the water to emphasise the colour.
Foam letters are brilliant for story titles & repeatitive refrains, supporting early literacy skills, if you don’t have any, craft foam is amazing! A couple of bunches of corn to add effect, and to add a sensory approach.
Laminated copies of relevant pages, enough to prompt the story sequence. A few Schleich figures of the animals from the story, so Miss 4 can retell the story. Laminated story characters (an alternative to Schleich figures) and of course, the book.
Needless to say, little Miss 4 did not want to get out the bath!!
We then took a family trip to Bircham Windmill in Norfolk.
A lovely, family run windmill, with tea rooms, shop, farm animals,
dairy, interactive museum, not to mention the scrumptious smell in the bakery!!
But the main reason for us visiting, is the opportunity for children to bake their own loaf of bread, a great, realistic experience for a 4year old to understand that bread and cakes, and milk and cheese do not just come from Tesco’s!
A fantastic, educational but fun day out and quality time together as a family!!
Our bedtime read that night, you guessed it, was the Little Red Hen.
Having a daughter, that is very much into her drama, the laminated characters I used for Miss 4’s bath previously, I then backed with a lollipop stick to turn them into puppets, low and behold, being one of our favourite stories, little Miss 4 was able to retell the story using her puppets. She made us tickets from scrap paper and we even had to ‘buy’ popcorn!
Laminated puppet theatre-Such a simple, yet effective way, for children to develop their attention and recall skills!
I then found a simple bread recipe, (with pictures so Miss 4 could follow the directions)
and together we baked some bread rolls for her friends at school, as it just so happens to be the book they are reading at school for Harvest too!
I love little Miss 4’s enjoyment when we bake together, measuring the ingredients, mixing & kneading, so much learning, whilst having great fun, not to mention dancing to the radio!
Huge, huge learning opportunities from just one story!
Many of my posts mention learning and development aspects, I am by no means a ‘pushy’ parent, I strongly believe children learn from the interactions their environment presents to them, as a parent you have so much control over this and I merely aim to show you how easy it is to make it fun, so children don’t even realise they are learning! In the process you have fun too!
Children are sponges so feed them as much as you can whilst they are still little. It’s not about them being the cleverest in their class, it’s about them recognising their abilities, consequently gaining confidence to explore, make mistakes and find their ‘niche’.