Understanding the world

Understanding the world: Celebrate the dark

While adults may complain about the lack of daylight hours and the long, dark nights, for children darkness is mysterious and exciting. Build on their fascination by making it a theme for learning.

Cross curricular: Wrap up!

'There's no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing,' as the saying goes. Use children’s colourful winter clothing as a link to many areas of learning.

Living the moment

Discover how a new resource is helping pre-schoolers to develop a passion for the past with an audio experience that transports them to momentous events such as the Great Fire of London.

Grab a pumpkin and have fun on Halloween!

Discover how this spooky celebration can provide an exciting springboard for children's creative activities, including artworks, story-telling, role-play and lots of fun with friends.

Down to detail

Using magnification to observe tiny objects or discover the patterns in larger ones is a fascinating occupation. Use this as a springboard to create miniature artworks which reflect the natural world.

Connect with nature

Being outdoors can be a great adventure, especially at this time of year when there are so many mini-beasts, animals and birds to discover. Kathy Brodie takes her pick of the best resources that can support children’s learning.

Red, white and blue...

Ailsa Chapman reflects on a month that saw her class celebrating the Royal Wedding in a way that encompassed many learning areas. Her next challenge is to complete 52 end-of-term reports.

All creatures

A series on classic picture books would not be complete without Eric Carle. His simple stories and distinctive illustrations exude warmth and provide an invitation to children to explore the natural world.

Impressions of sunflowers

Kim Benham, senior manager at outstanding nursery Sparkles, in Croydon, begins her new monthly column recommending resources and creative themes.

Come into my parlour

Ailsa Chapman reflects on how the warm weather has had a positive impact on learning, providing inspiration for creative activities such as making ice cream parlours using tuff trays.

Marvellously messy!

Don’t be surprised if your child comes home from pre-school looking a little grubby. They will have been exploring messy play, an activity which is all about tactile exploration, says Annette Rawstrone.

What we find in nature’s larder

This is the second in a new four-part series that will explore the sometimes mysterious but always wonderful world of plants, opening up a once hidden world of knowledge.

Time to enjoy your vegetables

Helping to grow, harvest, cook and eat their own vegetables contributes to healthy lifestyles for children, but vegetables can also provide many other opportunities for play and learning.

Whatever the weather we play

There is one thing you can predict about a British summer, it is completely unpredictable! But as we know, with the right assortment of clothes, we go outside come rain or shine.

Summertime nature activities

Being outside at this time of year has many benefits and offers a great many learning opportunities, from increasing biodiversity through to spotting a wide variety of bugs.

Plants: a useful, renewable resource

This is the third in a new four-part series that will explore the sometimes mysterious but always wonderful world of plants, opening up a once hidden world of knowledge.

Happy holidays are here again

Welcome to summer – a time for the older children to relax without school, for families to go on holiday and for childminders to enjoy some freedom without normal daily routines.

Lavender Blue, Dilly Dilly …

If you have a well-drained sunny spot in your garden or outdoor space, you should try growing this attractive plant, bringing fragrance, colour and relaxation to your setting.

Plants: living in and around water

This is the fourth in a new four-part series that will explore the sometimes mysterious but always wonderful world of plants, opening up a once hidden world of knowledge.

Make sure we keep to the tracks

A keen interest, verging on a slight obsession with transport, can lead to some specific learning opportunities. Here, we use wheels to help children move streets ahead.

Getting carried away with seeds

This is the first in a new four-part series that will explore the sometimes mysterious but always wonderful world of plants, opening up a hidden world of knowledge.

Swanning around on the lake

Early summer is the best time to visit swans. In this article, you will find guidelines to help make the most of your visit and how to keep both swans and children safe.

Z is for Zygomaticus muscles...

This month, we continue our series that takes the form of an extended alphabetical adventure around the body, helping children to get to know themselves a little better.

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