Houses and Homes – as simple as this theme sounds, there’s a lot of exciting activities and learning to be done. We spent 3 weeks on this theme, and as usual here is an over view of what we planned to learn (I tend to find planning one of these before the theme, really helps linking in the progress of learning too) followed by our display wall and books to be used this theme.
Week 1: What are houses made of?
We started this week with the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs.’ I think it perfectly captures the elements of materials, building homes and which of these homes was the strongest! After reading and discussing the story we were able to think about the different materials these homes were made of. So in Arts/Craft, the children decorated 3 houses straw, sticks and layering bricks (brown paper shaped bricks).
We also practised our cutting skills to design our own homes using this lovely pre-made resource from Twinkl. This was a great activity to understand all the different parts a house may need. A roof to make sure we don’t get wet, windows to let the light in and a door to let ourselves in.
From this session and my 2.5 yr old Hibah’s excitement in dressing up as a builder I decided to make a builder’s site role play area with a desk for the Architect too. See below for more. The role play area includes safety hats and visor jackets from our dress up box (You can buy the simple visor jackets at IKEA too). I used some old biscuit and cereal boxes which I wrapped in brown paper to make bricks. I put out all things related to building including lego, lego duplo (the home version), blocks and even foam blocks we had bought in. I covered a McDonald’s paper drink holder with foil and stuck a label and instantly made a tool box. I found a lot of my construction Area labels on Twinkl and added some material type labels too (wood, plastic, glass etc). The kids thoroughly enjoyed this! (We still have it set up as I write this).
We also had a little small world play with wooden furniture. The children enjoyed organising this into the correct rooms. You can do this with Doll’s furniture or even have an Ikea Magazine at hand and make it into a craft activity where children are finding all the furniture and sorting them into the correct rooms. This was something we did last year – see the display wall picture above for more details.
In science this week, we looked a little closely at materials and went on a material hunt around our room and sorted all the materials into the correct categories. This is a great way to start teaching materials.
This week in Literacy we were moving on from the alphabet learning and beginning our phase 3 phonics. For our 4-5 yr olds, we looked at the sound “zz”. We used this lovely Roll and Read sheet to focus on reading the different words with the sound zz in them. We ended the week with a review in our Sound ‘zz’ booklet also from Twinkl.
Above: Our 3-4 year olds focused on initial sounds and a review of the letters we already knew this week. We used these pegs to also practise our final motor skills.
This week was all about measuring. We started by measuring using blocks, lego etc. Then moved on to a measuring tape using the inches side (especially has the numbers are bigger and easier to read). The children decorated their own inches rule which we laminated for them ready to use the next day. The went around the room looking for things that measure more than 5 inches and less than 5 inches, just to get them into the habit of measuring. By the end of the week the 4-5 year olds were measuring these.
Arabic & Islamic Studies:
Islamic Studies this week was learning and talking about the duas (supplications/prayers) we recite before we enter and leave the house. The children began by repeating them after us, then practising through role plays. Finally we helped them make these awesome dua door hangers. For Arabic the 4-5 yr olds moved onto letter forms using play dough to show how the letter stretch out as hands to join on to the following letters.
Week 2: The homes and buildings around us!
This week was all about observing our own environment and realising that there are other useful buildings in our area too. We also looked at the different types of homes people live in all over the world – we used some awesome Twinkl powerpoints to help us look at igloos, mud houses, boat houses and much more. (I would definitely recommend Twinkl). We also arranged our first ever nursery trip, a nice and simple one – a walk around our local area! I edited a Local Walk Observation Sheet (from Twinkl) so that children could really observe their surroundings. It was a hot morning, but we did enjoy a little trip to the park and had our fruit time picnic there too! With this age group, the whole trip lasted about 1 hour and 20 mins. We had about 11 children and 4 adults with us. The children had a lot of fun!
We also made 3d house models (Twinkl) which were a bit tricky for our kids but with an adults help and their superb decorating they turned out beautiful! We placed them on our Ikea town rug and talked about where each type of building would be.
To finish the week we even had a chance to look at animal homes, again using a lovely powerpoint from Twinkl followed by a look at where Sarah, Percy and Bill live in the Owl Babies – one of their fave books!
This week our children worked so hard on their new sound “ch” – what an amazing achievement that together they wrote out this caption for the picture I had drawn on the board. We looked a little at finger spaces and how words only make sense when they have some space around. Our younger kids of 3-4 yr olds moved onto letter formation! 🙂
We used our chunky chalk outside in the park on the day of our trip!
We focused on shape this week. Reviewing over our 2d shape and looking closely at 3d shape. Some of our activities included: cutting around 2d shape, sorting and tracing 2d shape. Sorting and matching 3d shape and building towers and building using 3d shape. This was a great way to practise the name of the shapes too.
Arabic and Islamic Studies:
The younger group continued their Arabic letter a week activities – this week focusing on the letter jeem for jazr (carrots). Alhamdulillah we continue with teaching the Quran to the children daily – upto 1 ayat a day. The children have memorised quite a few short surahs from the Quran, with just 15 mins of practise each day. This is something we continue regardless of theme or day – alhamdulillah!
Week 3: Inviting someone to our home!
This lovely week was all about how we invite someone to our home and how we prepare for them when they come. We spoke about the importance of having guests and did some role-playing on how to treat the guests when they come to our house. We began the week by reading the lovely story of The “Tiger who came to Tea.”
We decided to hold our own Tea Party and started by making our invitations and inviting all the parents to the nursery. We even pretended to be at the post office and stuck on 1st class stamps before posting the invitations into our red letterbox (loaned to us by a friend)!
We merged some of our sessions of Maths and English and focused on baking all our treats the day before the parents arrived! Below: the younger children helped me make puff pastry cinnamon and nutella chocolate swirls! 🙂 The older children 4-5 yr olds help us make chocolate chip biscuits and fairy cakes!
The day of the tea Party arrives – and the children begin with a fantastic greeting in Arabic and English (pre-rehearsed of course) and recite some Quran they memorised! They then help serve the mums and enjoy their yummy Tea Party treats. This is such a lovely way to get children into helping when guests arrive and encouraging them on how to behave too. Here is how we decorated everything in the end!
We covered a new sound “sh” this week with our 4-5 yr olds, and also recapped sounds ch and sh together! We also attempted to sound out and copy the words to help us with our invitation writing this week!
A lot of the Maths we looked at this week was about counting and number. I even managed to put up this 100 square on our door to help us look at larger numbers! Why not 1-20 has become to easy. I don’t think we should limit the children to the age specifics, but stretch them and see how far they can connect the dots!
Arabic and Islamic Studies:
Our Arabic this week was all about welcoming the guest to our home so the children learnt a welcome poem and welcomed our guests so beautifully. In Islamic Studies, we focused on the lovely powerpoint I found on Twinkl titled ‘Be my Guest’ It’s a story based in the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) where he advised a Muslim to take home the poor person and feed him. When he got home his wife said there wasn’t much food only that which she saved for the kids. They still sacrficed the little they had to feed their guests. And that’s what we did in our role play with our children. It really was lovely helping them realise that sharing and sacrificing for others is full of reward from Allah.
So that was pretty much our 3 weeks on Houses & Homes and what an eventful 3 weeks it was! We ended with a lovely Tea party to practise and celebrate all that we accomplished. Hope you enjoyed looked over our theme and please let me know if you plan to do this theme any time soon!