Happy Bank Holiday Weekend Everybody! The teams have been busy at MonkeyMoos this week creating fun, sensory trays for the children. Winklebury have created a dinosaur themed tuff tray. Highdown have created a gingerbread man themed tuff tray and Worthing have created an Antartica themed tuff tray. BUT who will be this weeks winners?


INTENT: This week’s tuff tray was a dinosaur themed tuff tray! I chose to do a dinosaur themed tuff tray as the children have recently shown big interest in dinosaurs! The children had so much fun with our dinosaur themed activities and were talking about dinosaurs and where they live. I based this tray off of the children’s shared interest and curiosity about dinosaurs. This tray provided the children with the opportunity to learn more about dinosaurs and their habitats, what foods they like to eat, and helped the children engage in a conversation about dinosaurs and their different sizes and species! One part of the tray the children were practicing their phones using the dinosaur eggs, another part of the tray the children were using magnifying glasses and paint brushes to find the dinosaur fossils in the sand. The children also enjoyed getting the themselves and the dinosaurs messy in the dinosaur swamp.

IMPLEMENT: After playing in this tray, all the children were even more curious about dinosaurs and why thee isn’t real dinosaurs anymore. They learnt about the different types of species of dinosaurs and where dinosaurs used to live. The various resources used in this tray enabled the children to a fun earning opportunity! It also showed the children we can learn with touching and tasting different things. This tray engaged the children’s physical development, speech language and communication, personal social and emotional, and understanding the world development.

IMPACT: The children enjoyed this dinosaur tuff tray! They loved saying showing each other the fossils as they found them and talked about what they thought they were! The children loved looking at the different facts cards about the dinosaurs and talking about how the dinosaurs used to live! They also enjoyed playing with the dinosaurs in the swamp and  talking about if they are big or small. We had  lots of different materials and talked about where the different species lived and what the different species ate. The children loved having what dinosaurs ate meat and what dinosaurs ate plants.

HIGHDOWN- Gingerbread Making!

INTENT: This week our tuff tray based around the book of the month, “The gingerbread man!”The idea around the tray was to get the children to listen to the story and join in with the familiar words as well as recalling the familiar known story. Afterwards we wanted to allow the children to make play-doh by using their maths skills to measure out the ingredients and use language such as more, or a lot. We wanted to let the toddlers join in with group activities to build confidence as well as explore different textures. 

IMPLEMENT: In this tray, we added the story to the tray so the children knew what the intent was of the tray as well as describing words of how the gingerbread could taste. We also included the ingredients to make the playdough, with the recipe on how to make it so the preschools could sound out the letters. We then added cutters and rolling pins for the children to use to form and make their own gingerbread man from the story. Around the tray we added all sorts of decorations such as cupcake case, sequins and flour so the children could get creative and make their gingerbread man come to life.

IMPACT: The children quickly pointed out the gingerbread man and knew the story and straight away and began to say familiar words from the story. They listened carefully and joined in with excitement with the words. They then took it in turns to add the ingredients and looked carefully at the numbers on the side of the jug. They then shared the play dough between each other evenly before working together to make a giant gingerbread man. After a while the children began to make mini ginger cakes by using the cupcake cases and using the sequins and toppings and shared them out as well, even with the adults. Some of the children even pretended to be the fox and eat all the cakes on the tray, this was lots of fun as the children were running and screaming with excitement. 

WORTHING- Visiting Antartica!

INTENT: This week we have created an icy antarctic environment themed tuff tray to further explore water in ice form for world water week! We wanted the children to learn about other habitats and which animals can live there. We created a range of different ice blocks for the children to explore the feel and temperature within the frozen and icy parts of our world. We wanted the children see and feel the different materials and shades of blue, white and sliver. We wanted the children to know about the animals who live in these conditions and how they survive in the cold. In the middle of the tray we created a hole of water, otherwise known as ‘polynyas’ to represent the ice melting and introduce a brief conversation about global warming for our preschoolers to learn about the world. 

IMPLEMENT: This tray was covered in tin foil to imitate a layer of ice. We created the snow on top by using cotton wool, flour, white tissue paper and smaller scattered pieces of tin foil. For our water hole, we used blue tissue paper mixed with green  cellophane to indicate all of the many shades within the sea. We also made an igloo out of junk modelling. The tall ice towers were made from different shades of blue paint and frozen water. We included two other shapes and sizes of ice cubes to see how quickly they melted. We had a range of animals figures and pictures for the children to role play and explore with including walrus, reindeer and penguins. 

IMPACT: The children were amazed to see the tuff tray! All of the children were quick to sit down and engage with animals and the icy creations! They role played with the animals, the sea lions dived into the sea with the fish; the penguins searched inside the igloo. One boy took the fish onto a waterside “weee” he said whilst everyone giggled. The children enjoyed feeling all of the textures of the tissue paper, the ice, tin foil and the “soft” cotton wool. The children enjoyed watching as their hands turned blue. The children commented on the icy scene, “its cold!!!” The older children discussed why the ice was melting “its hot!” A practitioner asked how we get the ice to melt quicker, one child suggested using an “oven”. The children loved exploring this freezing habitat and the animals who live there. 


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