Monday 11th March – Dinosaurs then – is it children?   Leave a comment

So over the weekend Penny  sent out her usual weekly newsletter to the parents of the children who attend Penny’s Place.

Parents of the children and readers of this blog – know that Penny is not a big believer in pre planning and prefers to go with the interests of the children.

However Penny does decide on the topic book which forms a loose framework for activities over the next week, month or however long the children remain interested. Normally – some days – even some weeks go past with hardly a mention of the topic book ,and other days the children just use the story to interweave in their play – and other days they want to do related activity after related activity. Penny does pride herself on knowing the children well and generally choosing books that match their interests – and can usually  link to seasons,  festivals and stage of development.

So this weeks newsletter contained the following bit


This week we are changing our topic book – in fact for a change we are going to have a number of different topic books! All the children are showing an interest in counting – and in fact are very good at counting to 10 for Penny when she does her insulin injection. Alex in particular is pointing out numbers in the environment, while everyone is very interested in number 3. Therefore we are going to be using the various counting books – and linking to other spring related things – so frogs, Easter, flowers, ducks – and trains. Yes I know trains are not really to do with Spring – but they will be – as Spring is when the Arboretum opens for the year – so of course we will be sitting on the bank and looking at the train

So all set for a topic based on numbers and Spring related things – and well to be honest that was as far as Penny’s planning went as she knew she had lots of books and resources and activities that could produce and do at very little notice.

The children arrived  – Erin at 6:40, Alex and Shona at 7:12 – and the first part of the day was taken up with breakfast and free play, Then Archie arrived at 8:40 complete with a very nice pair of new shoes – with – yes you guessed it dinosaurs on the side. Penny was not surprised as Archie has a long standing interest in dinosaurs – although lately he has not been that bothered with dinosaur play apart from making the odd dinosaur roar in his role play.

Of course all the children wanted to see Archie’s shoes, all the children made loud dinosaur nosies – Archie had his breakfast and the children wandered into the lounge and picked up the play from last week that had been popular – namely sitting in the triangle mirror house and pretending to be on a train or in a car – and playing with the duplo train set.

Brilliant thought Penny – let’s find some books of the bookshelf to introduce the new topic a bit later on. However as is her way – Penny was observing the children and listening to their play – and realised that actually the play was not the same as last week!

Imaginary dinosaurs were riding on the duplo train and getting in the way of the train by lying on the track – this resulting in loud protests from Alex the train pusher and even louder roars from Archie who was insisting the dinosaur HAD to be on the train track (Penny had to smile to herself as both boys were very serious but of course there was not actually a dinosaur – not even a toy one – just imagination). Meanwhile in the mirror house car it seemed that dinosaurs were scaring the teddies and were going to eat them!

Naturally Penny stopped looking for spring related counting books and instead went in the garage – because she knew just where something that would support the children was.

You see over the weekend – despite the freezing cold weather Mr.Penny’s Place had spent some considerably time moving things out of HIS garage and into HIS brand new shed in the garden. Therefore Penny had spent an hour or two semi sorting her resources that were in Mr.Penny’s Place garage – Penny actually needs some new made to measure shelves before she can sort the resources properly (and move the ‘stuff’ from the loft and the spare bedroom – oh and her bedroom – oh and the kitchen cupboards). However on Sunday evening Penny did manage to get some sort of order by making use of the space just made vacanted by Mr.Penny’s Place – and that is why she knew just where the large box of dinosaur things were – the wooden slot together dino land, the fold out storage box that makes a playmat, the dinosaur books and puzzles – and of course the dinosaurs – in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

The children were very excited to see this box of things and eagerly helped Penny unpack it . Once all set up Penny let the children do what they do best – explore and play as you will see when you scroll down. However the dinosaur theme did not stop there as Penny very quickly downloaded some nice dinosaurs with numbers on from Twinkl, printed and laminated them (Shona and Erin very interested in this and watched and asked lots of questions) and Penny also found some dinosaur colouring pictures because the children are all very ‘into’ colouring at the moment.

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And if wondering about the material over dino land – that was Archie’s idea to make a cave for the dinosaurs

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Just goes to show – if you think on your feet and go with the children’s interests you can provide a wonderful learning environment and ……. save yourself loads of pre planning!

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