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The complete resource for the Early Years Foundation Stage

These three teacher-led activities promote number recognition and ordering by length, and encourage children to count, match and sort


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Can you spot the spotty socks?

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For the fi rst two activities below, sing the following words to the fi rst part of the tune, Polly Put the Kettle On:

Can you see the spotty socks Lots of lovely spotty socks, Can you see the spotty socks that Hang on the line?

Then chant the following:

Now here comes the wind. It’s blowing hard today. ‘Wooo’ goes the wind, And blows one sock away.

On ‘Wooo’, all wave one hand in the air. Alternatively, make wind noises using the following suggestions:

■ Slide a beater across the bars of a metallophone.

■ Groups of children could take turns to shake tambourines or maracas.

■ The children could have one of these to shake: A piece of fringed tissue paper twisted together at one end to make a handle.

Early Years Foundation Stage points covered: Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy ■ 40-60+ months: Say and use number names in order in familiar contexts.

■ 40-60+ months: Recognise numerals one to 10. Begin to relate subtraction to taking away.

■ 40-60+ months: Match some shapes by recognising similarities and orientation.

■ 40-60+ months: Order two or three items by length or height.

Communication, language and literacy ■ 40-60+ months: Use language for an increasing range of purposes.

■ 40-60+ months: Listen with enjoyment and respond to stories, songs and other music rhymes and poems. Use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking.

Activity 1 Aim: To match by colours and shapes; to count to ten; to begin to understand taking away.

Resources Washing line or string, two chairs, ten pairs of socks made from paper or vivelle, each pair a different length from any other.

Using a different coloured pen for each pair, draw bold spots on fi ve pairs of socks, and bold stripes on the other fi ve pairs.

What you do 1. Set up the washing line between the two chairs. Display a 0 to 10 number line near to the washing line.

2. Jumble the fi ve pairs of spotty socks. Invite the children to pair them up and peg them on the line.

3. Together, count the socks. The children could clap for each sock as you point to it.

4. Point to number ten on the number line.

Activity 2 Aim: To recognise length difference; to learn numerals to ten.

Resources Washing line and chairs, a fi ve-pair mixture of striped and spotted socks, number fans, post-it notes, 0 to ten number line.

What you do 1. Ask the children to help to hang the pairs of socks in order of length.

2. Number each sock consecutively with a stick-it note. Read the numbers with the children.

3. Sing these words:

Can you see the coloured socks, Stripy, spotty, coloured socks, Can you see the coloured socks that Hang on the line?

Then say the chant. 4. Secretly remove a sock.

5. Sing and chant the words, letting the wind remove the last sock in the line.

6. Count the socks again. Find the number on the line.

Harvest Festival Harvest Festival

5. Help the children to fi nd the space on the line from which the sock has disappeared.

6. Say: ‘What sort of sock has gone, a spotty one or a stripy one?’

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until there are no socks left.

Each time a sock goes, use suitable maths vocabulary. Relate the take-away process to the number line. Draw jumps back along the line, if appropriate.

Repeat the above activity, using the stripy socks. Repeat singing the fi rst part of the tune Polly Put the Kettle On.

Then say the chant. 

September 2010 Issue 116 5 © MA Education Ltd 2010

Say: ‘What number is on the sock?’ Then help the children to refer to the number line and decide which number sock is missing.

7. Say: ‘Show me that number with your number fan.’

8. All write that number in the air. Reverse your number if you are facing the children.

9. Replace the missing sock and repeat from step 3.

September 2010 Issue 116

PPS mono Sept2 1 i PPS mono Sept2010.indd 5 0 0. ndd PRACTITIONER


An autumn gardening

Autumn gardening

Gardening with children can be a fun and exhilarating experience, not only developing their sensory skills, but also helping them to learn how to care for the world in which they live. It is about planning ahead, deciding what you want to grow, the space in which you have to grow it, and the time it takes for seeds to germinate and mature.

Getting started Decide on a good location for a seed-bed or vegetable patch. Measure it, choose a shape, and edge the sides with wood. If you need a hand, invite parents and volunteers to help; a great way to build a positive school community. Send home a request for helpers in the school newsletter – don’t forget to ask them to bring a spade!

Preparing an area in which to put a compost bin forms an important part of the gardening cycle. Contact the council waste and refuse department to ask about obtaining a compost bin for your school. Alternatively, build your own using three wooden pallets turned up on the sides, forming an open-ended cube.

To do this, secure chicken wire or garden mesh across the front panel to stop the green waste falling out. It is important that air can circulate through the compost bin to help break down the garden matter. If using wooden planks and bricks, stack the bricks, allowing a small gap between each one. Start composting immediately, fi lling the bin with fruit peelings, weeds, leaves, twigs, grass cuttings and even paper waste.

8 Practical Pre-School September 2010

Snowdrop snow pots Resources: Snowdrop bulbs, compost, trowels, lego or duplo blocks, (tray and gravel, if planting indoors).

This activity is in preparation for growing snowdrops that will bloom towards the end of January, early February.

Using white lego or duplo construction blocks, help the children to build a square or rectangular frame to form a snow pot container, of any size. They can build these outside, or inside. Position the snow pot directly onto the soil surface, preferably in a shaded area.

Ask the children to fi ll up their snow pots with compost. If planting indoors, rest the pot on a tray and sprinkle gravel into the base, before adding

In the first of a new series on gardening through the seasons, Judith Harries and Emily Price discuss activities that will help to enhance children’s sensory skills as well as their appreciation of nature

Introducing yoga for

the young: Energise the body and mind!

of water, binding to a wet, but fi rm mixture. Encourage children to experiment fi lling buckets with the compost mix, and turn out to create different-sized compost castles. Provide small-world, plastic spiders and other bugs to hide inside the creepy compost castles. Who can discover the most bugs in their castle?

Mini beast mansion Resources: 3 to 6 wooden pallets, lengths of old guttering, clay pipes, corrugated steel sheets, old fl ower pots, pine cones, bricks, pebbles, logs, bark, straw/hay, raffi a, twigs, sticks, old clay roof tiles.

compost, to aid drainage. Show them how to plant the snowdrop bulbs, positioning the fl at base of the bulb down into the soil, about 10cm deep. Explain that the bulbs need to stay in the ground during winter and will fl ower towards the end of January.

In the winter months,

encourage the children to look out for snowdrops emerging from icy snow pots!

Creepy compost castles

Resources: Sand tray or tuff spot, different-sized buckets, spades, sand, compost, a little water, small-world plastic bugs.

This is a fun activity to try around Halloween. Prepare a sand tray or tuff spot with an equal mixture of play sand and compost. Mix with a splash


How to implement original numeracy ideas

These resources will need to be collected in advance – the children can help you with this. Explain to the children that we need mini-beasts in the garden to help carry out important jobs, such as breaking down compost, pollinating crops and returning nutrients back into the soil.


Providing an area where bugs can thrive in the garden will be a huge benefi t to help crops grow successfully. First of all, decide where to position your mini-beast mansion. A damp, quiet area is best, away from play areas and noise. Layer the wooden pallets on top of each other before the children begin working in the chosen area.

Once pallets are stacked ready, invite small groups of children to come to the area with their collections of autumn materials. Fill the gaps in between the pallets with different materials. Begin on the bottom layer


Practical Pre-School provides you with everything you need to successfully

deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. As well as a magazine, containing the latest news, reviews and features on all aspects of early years education, Practical Pre-School is also a vital activities resource.

Each issue includes an essential 16-page practical activities pull-out section with inspirational and time- saving ideas and projects based on the six areas of learning and early learning goals, together with practical articles giving you advice and guidance on management issues and professional development.

You will receive the following with every issue:  A magazine  An activities resource  Management guidance  Professional development articles  A free double-sided colour poster

A harvest festival full of fun

For the Early Years Foundation Stage

inspiration: The first in a NEW series © MA Education Limited 2010 Illustrated by Cathy Hughes

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