Tag Archive for: activity ideas

It’s 5-Star Food & Fun at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham

It’s been five-star food, fun, and feasting at the Nursery during February this year! Children enjoyed making and eating pancakes, parents got to eat breakfast with nursery staff and children for Valentine’s Day, our 5-Star Food Hygiene rating was awarded again for another year, and our little ones even got involved in our Recipe of the Month. We’ll spill all the beans for you below, although not literally of course.

A Renewed 5-Star Food & Hygiene Rating

Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, has been awarded a 5-star rating for Food Hygiene by the Food Standards Agency.Our Padiham nursery had its annual inspection by the local Environmental Health Officer recently. The purpose was to ensure, as required in all settings serving food, that Little Acorns Nursery has high standards of hygiene and follows the food preparation guidelines specified by the UK’s Food Standards Agency. Once again, Little Acorns Nursery passed with flying colours, achieving a full 5-star rating. That’s the best rating possible and reflects the highest levels of quality for food preparation, the food itself, cleanliness, and competence of staff. So, our thanks and utmost respect go to Kim, our in-house chef/cook, whose high standards, skill and expertise do the children and the nursery proud.

Recipe of the Month

To expand their learning and development and to nurture children’s interests, nursery children get heavily involved in our Recipe of the Month each month — and it’s been no different during the first part of the year. For January, it was the inclement weather that influenced the outcome of the new year’s first Recipe of the Month. Having witnessed snow, rain, hailstone and wind in recent times, the decision was made to choose a warm and healthy meal and, indeed, the final choice went down a storm! The recipe chosen for January was Warm Winter Stew.

One of the Little Acorns Nursery children peeling potatoes for January's Recipe of the Month.Because the recipe heavily involved potatoes, this also tied in nicely with the book Supertato, which our preschoolers have been looking at in tandem with discussions about food and the importance of a healthy diet. The photo shows one of the children peeling potatoes. Others peeled vegetables and even made their own dumplings. The fun activity helped to nurture children’s learning and the development of new skills and knowledge. The final result was both tasty and a huge hit with the little ones!

Recipe of the Month for February almost decided itself, as you’ll see below…

Pancake Time!

Nursery children loved mixing ingredients to make pancake batter on Pancake Day.Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Pancake Day, arrived on the 13th of February and it gave us a great opportunity to organise pancake-themed activities for the nursery/preschool children … for the entire week! After all, who doesn’t love pancakes? So, as you’ve no doubt guessed by now, our Recipe of the Month for February was home-made pancakes and it’s a recipe the children really enjoyed getting involved in. They loved mixing ingredients in a bowl to make their own pancake mix. We even set up a ‘Pancake Bar’ (see the main photo at the top), which included lots of yummy toppings that children could use to decorate their pancakes. The toppings included strawberries, bananas, chocolate spread, jam, lemon, sprinkles, honey and cream.

The theme continued all week with further pancake-themed activities laid on for the children. Even the toddlers had fun as they recreated pancake-making by ‘pat-pat-patting’ play-doh pancakes at the play-doh table in the nursery’s home corner.

On Valentine’s Day, the Food Theme Continued

Food prepared for Valentine's Day at the nursery.Valentine’s Day, which arrived on the 14th of February, also involved lots of food. After all, as the saying goes, it is often thought of as the language of love! At the nursery, we organised a lovely Grab ‘n’ Go Breakfast for our parents. This was followed by a special 3-course Valentine’s Day meal for our children in our lovely new dining room, which was set up like a little restaurant (see the photos). Children had sausage rolls to start, cheesy chicken and red pepper pasta for the main course and strawberry mousse – with sprinkles – for pudding. Accompanying this was some delicious blackcurrant juice. It all went down a treat with our nursery children, as did several other activities that were themed towards Valentine’s Day.

Healthy Meals & Snacks at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Our talented in-house chef Kim ensures children receive healthy, nutritious and balanced meals.Kim, our talented in-house chef, prepares tasty home-made meals and healthy snacks for children at the nursery. Meals are prepared freshly, on site, using high-quality ingredients, which are locally sourced whenever possible. They are delicious as well as being nutritionally balanced to include a healthy mix of fish, meat, pulses and vegetables. Learn more about our menus and our approach to serving children here. The link also includes some new example menus that we’ve recently put together.

Special Diets are Catered For

All diets are catered for at Little Acorns Nursery, so if your child is allergic to anything, is vegetarian, vegan, or requires things like halal or kosher food, simply let us know and we’ll make the appropriate arrangements.

Little Acorns Nursery

High-Quality Weekday Childcare in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12)

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. If you have a baby or child under five and require the best weekday childcare service near Padiham in Lancashire, do consider Little Acorns Nursery. As well as looking after little ones, we give them a high-quality early years education too. Indeed, we bring out the very best in every child and help them achieve personal bests across the board, so they’re ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us to begin school around the age of five. Contact us if you’d like your child to have the very best start in life — we’ll help children grow into the very best version of themselves, so they’re ready to take on the world and thrive! We’d be delighted to show you and your little one around and you’ll soon see how well they will fit into our warm, caring, and homely environment.

Get in touch today to explore more about a childcare place at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool in Padiham may also suit families in nearby towns and villages including Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Let's Go on an Autumn Nature Hunt – a Fun Outdoor Activity for Children!

Our autumn nature hunt is a fun, educational activity for children that also comes with a free reference sheet.As leaves start to blanket the ground and the earthy scents of autumn begin to infuse the air, it’s the perfect time to engage children in a captivating adventure that celebrates the season. In today’s post, we’ll introduce you to an Autumn Nature Hunt, an exciting outdoor activity for children that’s not only entertaining but also educational.

Explore the Beauty of Autumn with a Nature Scavenger Hunt

The autumn season offers a unique opportunity to immerse children in the wonders of nature. The changing colours of leaves, the falling acorns, and the crisp air make it an ideal time for outdoor exploration. This nature-based treasure hunt is designed to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature, where they can enjoy the many benefits that outdoor play and exposure to the natural world provide.

Download Your Free Reference Sheet

To make this autumn-themed nature hunt even more enjoyable, we’ve created a reference sheet that children can use to check off the items they find. This sheet should keep them engaged and help them learn about the beauty of the season. N.B. supervising adults will need to decide whether children should simply spot the items or collect them. Factors including hygiene, safety considerations and the child’s age and abilities should inform their decision.

Download this free reference sheet for the autumn-themed nature hunt. (Click to save/download).

What You’ll Need

Before the commencement of this adventure, ensure your child has the following:

  1. Our free reference sheet. We’ve prepared a free reference sheet that features images of various natural items children can look for during their outdoor excursion. The A4 sheet includes leaves of specific colours, catkins, wild hazelnuts, pine cones, acorns, oak leaves, pine needles, ‘winged’ seeds, horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, pumpkins, cereal crops, sunflowers that are now turning to seed, and even some fruit that may be found at this time of year. It’s available below, for free, in Acrobat PDF format and you can download and print it for your convenience.
  2. Adult supervision in place. Ensure that adult supervision is available, especially for the youngest children. Safety is a priority, so be certain to keep the kids out of harm’s way while they explore.
  3. Safety precautions. Teach the children about safety precautions. For example, emphasise the importance of not running off out of sight, avoiding poisonous items like fungi, not touching berries, keeping all items away from mouths, and being cautious around things like chestnut cases, which have sharp points.
  4. Good hygiene. Encourage the little explorers to exercise good hygiene practices and wash their hands thoroughly after the adventure.

The Autumn Nature Hunt is a fantastic way to connect children with the wonders of nature, encourage outdoor play, and create lasting memories. So, download the reference sheet, gather your young explorers, and set out on a journey through the enchanting autumn landscape. Remember to emphasise safety, ensure adult supervision, and cherish the opportunity to immerse your kids in the beauty of the season. Enjoy your autumn adventure!

Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

We know just how important both nature and outdoor play are to children; they bring enormous benefits to children of all ages. So many, in fact, that we’ll publish separate guides on those benefits in the near future. So, watch this space.

Little Acorns is a high-quality childcare nursery in Padiham, Lancashire, offering the very best childcare and early education to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. As well as giving little ones the very best start in life and ensuring they are as ‘school-ready’ as possible by the time they leave us, we help them to become the very best version of themselves. Part of this is achieved through a learning and development programme that’s tailored to them as individuals. In this way, they achieve personal bests across all areas of their development.

If you would like to explore the possibility of sending your baby, toddler or preschooler to Little Acorns Nursery, please get in touch using one of the following options:

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12), also convenient for families seeking high-quality childcare near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham or Wood End.

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

This nature-based bird spotting activity for kids comes with a free reference poster for families to download.Today’s bird spotting activity for kids continues our series of nature-themed posts that each come with a free reference poster for families to download. Featuring 40 British birds, the activity and the poster represent a great opportunity to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature. As many of us know, nature is hugely beneficial to the health and well-being of little ones as well as fostering a greater respect and understanding of the natural world around us. Such an appreciation is also likely to encourage children to do their bit to help protect the environment as they grow older. Nature-based activities are therefore a win-win for children and the environment.

Did you know? UK bird populations have declined by a staggering 38 million birds during the last 5 decades. Even some of our once-common birds are in steep decline.

Children will naturally be fascinated by our feathered friends. When encouraged, even infants and toddlers will soon start to recognise and be able to name the different varieties of wild birds that they see. Robins, blackbirds, blue tits and wrens are always likely to be firm favourites and, with the help of the reference poster, children may soon also be able to identify additional species. We suggest printing the poster out at full size (A3), if possible, using high-quality settings and paper. Reducing to A4 is also possible on desktop printers that only print to that size. Either way, the posters can be displayed permanently on nursery or bedroom walls, or used as handheld reference when children are out and about. Tick boxes have been included alongside each bird, to allow children to mark which birds they have seen. The posters can also, of course, be viewed in glorious high resolution and fine detail on screen, for example on handheld tablets.

The poster is free and no sign-up of any kind is required. Here’s how it looks:

Bird Poster Preview

Preview of the A3 British Birds poster for families to download and print out (click to download or see instructions below).

Download Instructions

Click the preview image, or this link, to download or view the poster, which is in PDF format (grab Acrobat Reader free here if you don’t already have it on your device). Please note that your individual browser settings will govern whether a left-click or a right-click either opens or saves the file. Try either to see which best suits your particular set-up.

Bird-Spotting Recommendations

Once children have their print-outs at the ready and are primed to go bird spotting*, there are a number of things that can help with their success:

  • Birds will naturally gravitate towards sources of food. So, think about where they might find seeds and insects. For example, try looking around flower meadows, woodlands, lush hedgerows and parks or countryside featuring a variety of different natural environments.
  • Failing that, put out some food for them — this is possible even if you don’t have a garden, as bird feeders can be attached to windows or suspended from walls and eaves. Many birds will like commercially available bird seed. Our best successes have been with ‘sunflower hearts’ and ‘peanut cake.’ Seed balls are also popular. Supermarkets, garden outlets and online stores usually sell such things fairly inexpensively. Side note: grated Cheddar cheese is also very popular. However, don’t feed birds too much of that and ensure never to give birds cheese that has mould, as it will be harmful to them.
  • Timing is important too, because different birds are around at different times of the year. So, undertaking the activity periodically throughout the year may help to tick off some of those boxes on your poster!
  • Teach children to be patient, observant and logical. Patience, perseverance, and critical thinking are all important skills for children to master, and this type of activity can help them to improve such skills.
  • Teach children to keep noise levels very low. For thousands of years, humans have been seen by most wild animals as predators, so children need to learn to stay quiet and even tread quietly through woods etc. when on the lookout for any kind of wildlife. This can, however, make the activity even more exciting!
  • Teach children stealth and the use of observation and auditory skills. Doing so will not only help them to see/hear more birds, but will also encourage them to hone motor, balance, coordination and sensory skills.
  • Binoculars and monoculars may be useful tools for children to use to see birds further away or in close-up view. However, ensure they understand that they must never point them in the direction of the sun or towards other bright objects. Hence, we suggest they are only used by children under close supervision.

Have Fun Bird Spotting!

We hope you and your little one(s) have fun with this activity and find the free poster useful. We’ll gradually publish more nature-themed posters as time goes by, so watch this space for more free stuff! Nature-based and outdoor activities are great for children, teaching them so much about the world around them and their place within it. Such activities will help them develop new skills and gain new knowledge, all pretty much free of charge too! This type of activity may also instil in them a love of the outdoors, exploration and the natural world along with the flora and fauna in it. What’s more, children who spend significant time around nature often grow up to have a lifelong love of the Great Outdoors, a greater empathy towards other creatures and high levels of environmental consciousness. With all the problems the human race has made for the planet, that can only be a good thing.

Your High-Quality Nursery & Preschool in Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children love our nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham too, as we know how beneficial nature and outdoor play is to little ones. It’s one of the reasons we’ll be publishing more nature activity ideas for children to take part in over the coming months. So, watch this space and come back to visit our blog area regularly to get more ideas for kids’ activities along with lots of useful facts, information and news relating to early years education, learning, development and childcare.

Do you need a high-quality weekday childcare service for your baby, toddler or preschooler in the Padiham/Lancashire area? If so, do consider Little Acorns in Padiham as we’re simply one of the best nurseries and preschools around and give children a wonderful start in life. We also support Government schemes like free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds — plus many more.

Get in touch to register your child for a nursery or preschool place, request a tour of the setting with your child, or simply ask any questions. We’re here to help! Please choose an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns Nursery is located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12) but is also close to Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. So, we may suit families who require high-quality weekday childcare in any of those towns and villages.

* It goes without saying that children, particularly the very young, should always be supervised appropriately by a responsible adult.

Butterfly Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

With more adult butterflies around than at any other time in the year, late July and early August is a perfect time for children to get outdoors to see them.At the time of writing, it’s peak butterfly-spotting time — more adult butterflies can be seen in late July and early August than at any other time in the year. That makes it the perfect time for children to get out in nature to spot these charming creatures. Doing so is fun, educational and also beneficial in so many ways – we’ll explain more about that later.

Fun Fact: About 60 different types of butterflies can be found in the UK.

Butterflies come in many different forms and sizes, often with incredibly beautiful patterns and colours on their wings. They are also rather endearing as they flit around on seemingly haphazard flight paths. As such, infants, toddlers and young children will naturally be drawn to them when they see them flying around flowers, gardens and hedgerows. With that in mind, we have designed a free butterfly identification poster for families to download. It features 36 different types of butterflies that are commonly seen around large parts of the UK. The poster can be printed out for children to display on bedroom or nursery walls, or for use as a hand-held reference when out and about on butterfly-spotting nature trips. Take a look at the preview below — full instructions for printing it out or viewing it on screen are explained below the preview. The poster is free to download and you do not need to sign up for anything, nor register in any way.

Butterfly Poster Preview

The preview image below shows the 36 wonderful butterflies that are included on the identification poster. However, be sure to download the Acrobat PDF version for greater clarity and detail.

Preview of the Butterfly Spotting Activity Poster for children to download.

Download Instructions

Depending on your specific device and browser settings, the high-resolution Adobe Acrobat version of the poster can be viewed and/or downloaded by left- or right-clicking the preview image above, or alternatively use this link. If you do not already have it on your device, Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free.

 

Amazing Fact: The Painted Lady butterfly flies all the way from Europe or Africa, travelling thousands of miles, before arriving in the UK for the summer. When travelling, they fly up to 100 miles per day, travelling almost 30 miles per hour. Unlike some other butterflies, Painted Ladies do not hibernate in Britain, instead migrating back to Europe or northern Africa.

Butterfly Spotting Has Many Benefits

The Benefits of Butterfly Spotting to Children

Butterfly spotting is a delightful and almost magical activity for children to take part in. On a simple level, it’ll help children learn the names of different butterflies and open their eyes to some of the UK’s wonderful wildlife. On a deeper level, though, it’s hugely educational by teaching children about nature and the natural world more widely. Through the simple task of butterfly spotting, children will get to understand the important role of butterflies, bees and other insects as pollinators. They’ll learn about concepts like metamorphosis, where food comes from, how plants, trees and creatures reproduce, the circle of life, and even about their own place in the world. These are profound and important concepts.

Spending time in and around nature is also hugely beneficial to children in mind, body, spirit and even academically. That conclusion is supported by study after study, all around the world. Indeed, we will write a separate article about the benefits of nature to children in the near future. So, watch this space!

Some of the Benefits to Butterflies & the Natural World

Nature-based activities like butterfly spotting will also begin to foster a deeper appreciation in children for the natural world and the flora and fauna within it. Children who regularly spend time in and around nature will tend to develop an affinity for it, right into adulthood. As well as enjoying everything that the Great Outdoors has to offer, children who are used to spending time in natural environments are often more environmentally conscious, with a greater sense of empathy for other creatures and a more responsible attitude around the impact that humans are having on the planet. And, as we’re seeing in recent news about global warming, climate change and the effects on recent weather patterns, such attitudes have never been more important. Children are the planet’s future, so encouraging them to look after the natural world is crucial for its very survival. The human race needs to act decisively to reverse both climate change and habitat loss so that wildlife populations can begin to recover. If there were no pollinators, then we’d all be in deep trouble.

The Best Places to Spot Butterflies

There are some obvious, and not-so-obvious, places where children are most likely to see the most butterflies:

  • Around flowers and blossoms, as nectar is their food.
  • Especially around butterfly-loving plants like Buddleia, also known as the ‘Butterfly Plant’.
  • Around calm, sheltered, sunnier spots, especially in the middle of the day — although they’re around any time of day if it’s warm (above 20ºC if it’s cloudy). Butterflies are delicate and do not like the wind.
  • Butterflies love brambles, flower meadows and forest clearings (‘glades’) where wildflowers grow.
  • They’ll also be drawn to forests and glades where a variety of different tree and plant species are growing at different stages of development.
  • Areas with long grass and hedgerows are good spots if they contain wildflowers.

Look But Don’t Touch

Butterflies are very delicate creatures, with wings that are easily damaged. Therefore, teach children not to try to catch or hold them. It’s best if families simply look rather than touch. Also, try to keep fairly still because butterflies can sense movement from multiple directions and are constantly on the lookout for danger.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children also get to immerse themselves in nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, where we offer high-quality weekday childcare for babies and children under five. The service is much more than that, though, as we give children the very best start in life, nurturing them in their early years to become the very best version of themselves by the time they leave us to start school. Their learning and all areas of personal, social and emotional development come on in leaps and bounds during their time with us. This gives them all the tools they’ll need to thrive going forwards. We also support all the free childcare schemes offered by the Government to eligible families, including free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds and much more.

For more information, to register for a childcare place, or request a guided tour with your child, please get in touch using an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns is a nursery & preschool in Padiham, also being convenient for families nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.