The Royal Wedding! More Finger Gym and Emergent Writing

The Royal Wedding is happening on 19th May and Isabel is very very excited about it (they have been learning about it in school.) We have been doing some activities in the lead up to it and I suspect her interest will go up even further once we have seen the wedding on Saturday. As previously mentioned we are still working on building the muscles in her fingers to help build her stamina when writing, I have also noticed that while Isabel is benefitting from these activities both Megan and Charlie have also shown noticeable differences in their hand control and co ordination.

Here are some of the activities we have done and I have listed the learning outcomes for each one so you can clearly see what learning is happening and also the language to try to encourage. Of course things don’t always go to plan and the activity may go a different way, but that is also great as it means your child is exploring and leading their own learning.

1. Red, White and Blue Pasta – Pasta can easily be dyed. Once you have cooked it then add a teaspoon of oil and your dye. Turn pasta around in in with tongs until all the pasta has changed colour. I always do it when it is still warm. Ensure you leave it to cool completely before allowing children to play. Place in a tray with scissors, tweezers, scoops, pots and allow children to explore.

What did we learn? This activity was focusing on developing the muscles in the fingers, squeezing the tweezers and transferring the pasta meant they had to keep squeezing for a period of time. Also using the scissors is another way to develop those muscles as well as improving co-ordination.

2. Red, White and Blue Rice- Rice can easily be dyed. Just pour the required amount into a sandwich bag. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and your dye (the more you use the darker the colour), then shake the bag until all the rice is covered. Leave on a paper towel to dry. Once dry it is ready to use. I encouraged Isabel to use a scoop and try to recreate the Union Jack flag with a scoop. Once she had done this we added red, white and blue pom poms, some diamond gems I found in the pound shop, some sparkly bits of pipe cleaners, and some confetti I had in the drawer. To this we added scoops, spoons, tweezers, cups, pots, straws and allowed the children to explore.

What did we learn? Asking Isabel to try to recreate the Union Jack by scooping the rice meant she had to use control and co ordination as well as thinking about the pattern she was trying to recreate. Pouring from one container to another develops hand and eye co ordination, and using the tweezers develops the muscles in the fingers. You can also encourage pattern language in this kind of activity such as placing the pom poms in a repeated pattern around the edge of the tray.

3. Post – it notes- I had some post it notes out for Megan and Charlie to explore peeling and sticking them down. Isabel noticed there were some heart shaped ones which she thought were great. She then wrote love notes to all her friends and family and stuck them on the window.

What did we learn? This was great as it was entirely initiated by Isabel. She had a go at writing the tricky word ‘love’ and by the time she had written a note for everyone she knew how to write it without thinking. She was also able to use her phonics knowledge to sound out her friends names and also have a go at writing family names correctly.

4. Stickers and lines – This is similar to an activity we did last week based on putting stickers along various lines and shapes. I wrote their names at the top and they chose a wedding themed picture to go underneath, Isabel chose a crown and Megan choose a castle. They then used sticky gems to cover the lines. (I found the sticky gems in pound land.)

What did we learn? They were able to develop their fine motor control by peeling and sticking the stickers, they were able to develop hand and eye co ordination by following the lines. Isabel also explored different patterns by choosing the colours in a particular order.

5. Tea Party- First of all I encouraged Isabel to make invitations for a tea party to celebrate the Royal Wedding. She made one for her doll and one for her teddy. Then we set up a table with teapot, cups and saucers, plates and play food. The children then explored and played together.

What did we learn? Isabel was able to use her phonics knowledge to write the invitations. By encouraging her to write them to the toys she wanted at the tea party it meant she had to use some stamina and keep those muscles working. The activity itself promoted lots of lovely language. Isabel was able to model language for Megan and Charlie which helped develop their use and understanding of words.

6. Small world play- There are a few toys on the market that you can buy to help children explore the theme of the Royal Wedding, but I prefer to make the resources we use. So we cut up a box to make a castle, and we built a church from Duplo. We printed the pictures of Harry and Meghan and put them on a cut up kitchen roll. Then we had a hunt around for small world people we had as guests for the wedding. I put some cars out and chalk so they could draw the roads for the procession. (I used the tuff tray but you can easily chalk the roads straight onto the floor). I then let the children explore and play.

What did we learn? This activity is one set up to promote language. The children can explore words they might not use everyday such as ‘wedding’, ‘married’, ‘church’, ‘procession’, ‘guests’. They can experiment with using these unfamiliar words in sentences within their play and begin to understand their meaning which will in turn widen their vocabulary in the future.

7. Make crowns- We decided to have a go at making some pipe cleaner crowns. I thought that twisting the pipe cleaners into different shapes would create some unique crowns and allow them to be more creative with their shapes.

What did we learn? Twisting the pipe cleaners into a shape then trying to attach them together was great for fine motor control, hand and eye co-ordination as well as strengthening the muscles in the fingers. It also helped to develop patience and trying again when it didn’t work the first time. I would suggest this is an activity suitable for the older children.

8. A Wedding Book- This is an activity suitable for after the wedding. Either take photographs on the day of key things like Windsor Castle, Soldiers, Dress, Cake (you can just take photographs of the television when they come up) or wait until they are available online. Then print off the ones your child likes and stick them onto a piece of paper. Underneath encourage your child to write a sentence or two about the picture. Once this has been done they can then be hole punched and threaded together with string to make a book.

What will you learn? This is a great opportunity to encourage writing based on your child’s interest. They will be able to use their phonics knowledge to write words and also have a go at using new vocabulary in a sentence. It will encourage the use of pencil control and strengthen the muscles in their fingers. They can do the hole punching (great for muscle strength) and threading (hand and eye co-ordination.) Once the book is finished it can go in your book box or shelves and they can then read it and look at it whenever they want. They will be able to read it to siblings or friends and can see a purpose to their writing.

Hope you find these activities fun! Enjoy the wedding 🙂

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