Get Cosy – Some great ideas!

abc doesBoys Learning, Continuous Provision, Creativity, Environment, Mark Making, OutdoorsLeave a Comment

As always, I have seen lots of inspiring ideas on my travels, so I thought I would share a few…

First of all, you need to keep a look out for this 'must have' catalogue for Early Years resources.  It was Joanne at Chester Blue Coat Primary School that recommended it to me and I have been promoting it ever since.


It has got some BRILLIANT stuff in it, the sorts of things that we spend hours trying to source and collect. Better than that the prices are really good!

There is no website yet so you need to check your pigeon hole or staffroom table to see if your copy has been delivered. If you can't find it or it has been filed under B.I.N, then you can get your hands on a copy by ringing 01332 370152 or emailing

If there is something that you are particularly looking for and just can't find then drop them a line and if they can they may well source it for you! Alongside TTS, it is the best catalogue I have come across in a long time and is definitely worth the phone call or the email.

Popped in to work with the team at Olney Infant Academy recently – an 'outstanding' 3-form entry infant school. There was loads of good stuff going on but these were two of my favourite bits.

If you haven't got space or funding for outdoor easels use a cardboard box! You get a four sided easel at minimum expense.

Olney have quite a spectacular covered area where they are able to have LOADS going on. One of the things that practitioners often struggle with is how they can make their Small World play 'outdoor' rather than just their indoor Small World taken outside. Olney had created some really effective outdoor habitats.

 An elephant on your carpet area is one thing, but an elephant in a real habitat is another experience altogether.

I have also been back to work with Ruth and Karen at Halton Lodge Primary who are providing some really great learning opportunities.

Amongst other things that are really focusing on the stages of mark making development and ensuring that they have identified where all of their children are at in terms of their development and then planning both focused activities and Continuous Provision opportunities to take them forward.

As a really effective visual reminder they have created this display. As it is for the adults in the setting it is way above the children's eye line.

When children's stage of development has been assessed then activities are provided to consolidate and develop.

On the day of my visit the children were LOVING this one.


The activity has been created to support fine motor manipulation and is differentiated over three levels.

The hands are shower stickers and these ones were bought by Karen from 'B+M Bargains'. The idea is that the children use their fine motor skills and a pair of tweezers to move the beads from the tray to the little pockets on the hands.

For children with less well developed skills they were picking up the pompoms and putting them into the larger dish shaped containers.

When you are thinking about new ways to get your boys mark making, you might want to try this one. White board markers on mirrors (or mirrored plastic sheeting). There are multiple skills involved in this activity but most of all it gets you some high level engagement and that means high level attainment!

Learning to write can be a complex process and it certainly doesn't just happen over night. It needs good practitioner knowledge and active intervention but most of all it needs to be FUN!

As British summer time has officially started and it is the season of the the dandelion, here is an activity you might like to try…

Dandelion sap works really well as invisible ink! Get the children to pick a flower and then mark make with the sap from the stem. To reveal what they have done, either leave in the sun to dry or heat on a radiator. Their work will magically appear!


Happy mark making!



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