The Yellow Door Blog

Ideas For Outdoor Learning

eh1Have you ever stopped to think of the dramas taking place in your setting’s outdoor space? Just like EastEnders or Downton Abbey, there is so much going on, even excluding the children’s dilemmas:

  • The ants at the beck and call of their queen
  • The lone wasp ready for a fight
  • The gossiping sparrows
  • The fearful hedgehog.

Every outside classroom is alive with stories just waiting for our children to become part of the drama. Perhaps this is what the eagle teaches us about open-air learning. We talk about people being eagle eyed, having the ability to look closely and notice things that others miss. If we pause in the outdoor spaces of our contexts and look closely we will notice how they invite us and our children to become part of their stories.

Here are some ideas to help you to pause and really look at your outdoor space throughout the seasons:

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Subitising and Early Number Sense in Early Years Children

Subitising is a term that was coined by the theorist Piaget and defined the ability to instantaneously recognise the number of objects in a small group without the need to count them.  An example often used to explain this, is to think of a die – we immediately recognise the number of dots without having to count each one individually.

subitising1Studies have found that most adults can subitise groups of items up to five. This is known as perceptual subitising. Beyond five, other mental strategies come into play for identifying the number of items in a group without counting them individually. These require some understanding of grouping and basic mathematics.  For instance, when we see six dots on a die, we actually break this down into two groups of three which, when combined, gives us six. This is known as conceptual subitising and is an essential element for developing mathematical skills.

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The Great Toast Experiment

Each set of Sensory Stones includes a fantastic leaflet full of activities written by play specialist Wendy Usher. The ‘mark making with toast’ idea caught our attention – see step-by-step details of the activity below along with our results!

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Introducing Sensory Stones

Sensory Stones enable children to have sensory experiences by experimenting with raised and indented shapes and patterns. Here, author and play specialist Wendy Usher shares her ideas on introducing the stones into a setting and some sensory play activities.

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Super Powered Learning at Eastfields Nursery

It’s no secret that we love superheroes at Yellow Door and it seems we are not alone! Our friends at Eastfield Nursery in Northampton have recently run a superhero topic and they’ve written an amazing blog which they have kindly allowed us to share.

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Why Football Doesn’t Deserve a Red Card!

Early years writer, consultant and trainer, Helen Bromley explains how introducing a football theme into a setting can bring benefits to both child and educator.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the UK. Watched in millions of homes on television and enjoyed at an amateur level by many, there can be no doubt that the sport forms an important part in the lives of many families. Understanding and harnessing the enthusiasm football generates in young children can open doors to meaningful learning opportunities across all areas of provision. Whether children or adults are the instigators, there are undoubted advantages to working with football as a topic:

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Phonics Pebbles – Blending and Segmenting

Get the most out of our Phonics Pebbles with these great ideas and activities from teacher and consultant, Christine Barker.

It is important for children to begin segmenting and blending simple VC and CVC words early in their phonemic development, and to continue practising this skill. As digraphs and trigraphs are introduced, children will more easily see how phonemes work together to make one sound. The Phonics Pebbles help with this as each phoneme is on a single pebble.

The pebbles can be used for simple wordbuilding games, such as the ones that follow.

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Phonics Pebbles – Phoneme Recognition Games

Teacher and consultant, Christine Barker shares some ideas for using our Phonics Pebbles.

Yellow Door’s Phonics Pebbles offer an engaging visual and tactile way of introducing young children to letters and sounds. They can be used in many ways, both indoors and outside, to support phonics teaching, and give children opportunities to independently show you what they can do.

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