Party time

making paper chains

Deck the halls!

With Christmas approaching, the four-year-olds in my local nursery are full of anticipation as they practice their Christmas play and learn new songs for this special season. Last week they were busy making some festive paper chains to decorate their classroom in between a good deal of very wet play outdoors!

Paper chain making is relatively simple, yet requires incredible concentration and gives those finger muscles a fine-motor workout. As the children glue and stick together the colourful strips of paper, sing-song counting can be heard around the table: “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…one hundred!" And then they collaborate on the tricky task of attaching their chains together to form really long ones…

Interested in making paper chains with young children in your setting? Instructions here.

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Family playing block game

Fun for the whole family

My family plays a game with mini unit blocks that always brings suspense and laughter. You start by laying one of the longer blocks on the table. Then you take turns placing a block of any shape, and see how high you can build. The rules are that you can’t move someone else’s block and only the first block can touch the table. The goal is to not be the one to knock the whole thing over – because then you have to pay a forfeit. Believe me, you learn a lot about balance and centre of gravity from this game. Sometimes the three-year-old does as well as the 17-year-old!

That’s what I like about blocks: they are great for every age. You’ll see a one-year-old make enclosures for farm animals and a 12-year-old create intricate designs. So I was pleased to meet an early years advisor the other day who’s planning to buy a set of mini unit blocks for her grandchildren. It will be the perfect Christmas gift for the three of them to share.

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