Return to Home Learning (Blogs and Extra Activities)


  • Welcome to Reception’s Airport!

    We have loved setting up an airport themed role play as part of our Summer Fun topic.

    We all got involved making tickets, boarding passes and passports for our flights.

    We thought carefully about what happens in an airport and what areas we would need to create. By moving the tables into a long line and using a plastic tray we made our own security area. We also had an information desk with brochures and flight times.

    Finally it was time to board the plane. We watched safety announcements on the interactive board and made menus so passengers could choose their meals.


    Can you continue this role play at home?

    Role play is brilliant to extend vocabulary and ignite the imagination. It also provides vast opportunities for maths, writing and reading in meaningful contexts.

    How about setting up a green grocers where you weigh the produce and pay with pretend money? Don’t forget to label your stock with prices and item names.

    More suggestions:

    • A hairdressers
    • A clothes/ shoe shop (opportunities for measuring/ sizing)
    • A police station (make your own role play props e.g. hats, ID badges)
    • A florist
  • Brilliant Work

    Thank you so much for all your hard work! We have loved seeing what you’ve been up to.

    Look at how busy you’ve all been:



  • Mindful Monday – Plant a seed in our positive thought garden

    Hello everyone,

    This week we are planting some positive thoughts in our garden.  How wonderful it will be to watch them grow!  When we plant seeds they grow into plants.  Could we do the same with positive thinking?  What positive thought would you plant in your positivity garden?  Plants need water, sun and food (soil) to grow.  We look after our garden by making sure they have all the things they need to thrive.  How would you ‘tend’ your positive thought seedling?

    Find a stone and paint something on it to represent your positive thought.  Plant it in a pot or in the ground or leave it in a special place where you can see it where you can remember to give it all the things it will need to grow.  How will you tend a kindness thought?  Will you compliment someone or offer to make your bed?  How would you tend a ‘can do’ seedling?  Would you try to tackle a new challenge like riding your bike with only 2 wheels?  Or maybe you’d learn a new sound in phonics?   Can you feel that thought growning ‘inside’ you, does it feel good?  You could be very clever and plant real plants/bulbs to symbolise feelings.

    Here is a list of fun uplifting music that always puts a spring into my step.

    What words can you use to describe how it makes you feel?  Do they make you feel energetic, mellow, excited, sad, happy?  Which one is your favourite and why?  Make your own garden playlist; what would be on yours?

    Try these Mindfulness activities when you next go outside.

    1. Rub soil between your fingers
      Finely rub soil between your fingers and palms of your hands.  Do this several times.  Not only does it prepare your soil for planting seeds but it’s a very soothing activity.
    2. Think about your body
      When you’re outside digging a hole, pulling up weeds or just sitting and soaking up the sun, think about what muscles your using and the effect of this exercise on your body.
    3. Mindful eating
      Look at some recipes and think about how you might eat the food your growing.  Anticipation is half the fun.


    Try these yoga poses…how do they make you feel?

    Yoga for Kids: Garden Themed Yoga Complete With Printable Poster

    You may enjoy this music when practicing your yoga.

    Until next time, do good looking for adventures, clean your ears out for good listening and turn your noggins (brains) on for good learning.

    Take care and stay safe, 

    Love from the Nursery and Reception Teams xxx

  • Foil Sculpture

    Try this art activity. Maybe you could link it to our work on ‘Owl Babies’ and make a foil owl?

    Have fun experimenting with the paper and foil and seeing what shapes you can mould and sculpt.

  • Number Wands

    Here is a fun activity to help with your counting skills.

    To make your wand:

    • Using a wooden skewer or tightly rolled up piece of paper make a stick shape.
    • Cut out a star shape and glue that to the top of your stick.
    • Write on a number that is less than 20.

    Look at the number and thread that many beads on to your number wand.

    Link this activity to our work on subtraction by threading the number of beads which are one less than the number on the star. 



  • Mindful Monday – It’s Spring let Positivity Grow!

    Hello everyone,

    The days are getting longer and warmer and Spring is just around the corner.   The season of new growth is nearly upon us and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us all to spend more time outside.   Being outside has a very positive effect on our well – being.   Seeing new plants and blossoms appear is very uplifting and we will be focusing on planting and growth the rest of this term.

    Gardening cultivates the mind as much as it does the earth.  It’s a very good way of feeling calm and connected to your surroundings.  Go outside and close your eyes, take a deep breath in and listen,  feel the warmth of the day on your skin.  How does it feel?  What do you hear?  Describe how your surroundings smell.

    Listen to this music.  What words can you use to describe how it makes you feel?  Close your eyes.  Where does your imagination take you when you listen?  What images do you see with your eyes closed?

    Beautiful Relaxing Music Pachelbel Forest Garden

    Try these Mindfulness activities when you next go outside.

    1. Blowing on leaves
      Blow leaves off the palm of your hand. Do different leaves need a different breath to blow them off?
    2. Anchoring to sounds
      Listen for the subtle sounds of nature. It might be wind in the trees or the chirping of a bird.  How do these different sounds make you feel?  Do you feel differently when you’re in different places like the park or when you can hear traffic?
    3. Mindful eating
      Plant something in a pot that you will be able to eat. How does it feel when you are putting seeds into soil?  How do you feel thinking about your plant growing?


    Listen to the music again and practise these yoga positions.

    Image result for garden yoga for kids

    Until next time, do good looking for adventures, clean your ears out for good listening and turn your noggins (brains) on for good learning.

    Take care and stay safe, 

    Love from the Nursery and Reception Teams xxx

  • Brilliant Work!

    It’s been great seeing all of your work this week.

    You have created some fantastic new story characters and we have loved reading all the great adjectives  you have used to describe them.

    It’s lovely to see that some of you have been trying the blog activities too (great idea to use a spoon for ‘Word Splat’). Some of you have even made some beautiful valentines themed artwork!


    Keep up the hard work Elephants and Zebras!

  • Word Splat

    Here is a fun game to learn reading words.

    Last week we focused on the sounds ‘ch’ and ‘sh’ and this week we are focusing on the sounds ‘th’ and ‘ng’.

    Write some words with these sounds in them (for example; chop, chip, ship, shock, strong, long, thick, moth), call out a word, read it and then splat it with your hand or something similar/ suitable (and safe!).

    This game is also great for learning to read tricky words (for example; we, she, me, be,  the, to, no, go, I, he, was, my, you, they, her, all, are).


  • Mindful Monday

    Hello everyone,

    A good night sleep is so important not only for our physical health but our mental health too!

    • When we get the right amount of sleep it means that we can learn better (use our noggins), we can remember things easier, we can sit and listen better AND we’re not so grumpy so our behaviour is better too, which makes all of us happier including our grown ups!


    Below are some sleepy activities for you…

    • A relaxing bath

    Why not have a nice relaxing bath just before bedtime.  Use your favourite bubbles and if your grown up has time ask them to read you a little story in the bath whilst you relax among the bubbles!

    If you have any worries the bubbles will help you wash them off – you don’t have to scrub to get your worries off, worries wash off very easily.  Then when you finish your bath watch your worries disappear down the plug hole “bye, bye, worries”!

    Maybe your grown up could pop your pyjamas on the radiator before you have your bath and when you put them on after they’ll be all warm and cosy!

    • Make a lavender eye bag

    Here are some websites with instructions on how to make an eye pillow – you will need a grown up to help you with this activity.

    How to Make a Lavender Eye Pillow

    Once you have made your eye pillow you can just lay down pop it over your eyes and relax, see how lovely it smells!

    Worries or Bad Dreams?

    Let’s talk about worries first!


    If you have a worry  that may be stopping you from getting to sleep you can:

    • make a worry doll – have a look at Mrs Hill’s nursery art blog from last week where she shows us how to make our very own worry doll or even a worry doll family!
    • wash your worry away – as I mentioned earlier you can gently wash your worry away in your bubbly bath and then at the end of your bath when you pull the plug out you can watch them go down the plug hole.
    • write your worry down or tell a grown up – this really does help, when you share your worry it starts to disappear!
    • Good Night Worries activity sheet – try the activity below.


    Bad Dreams

    Did you know dreams are just like a film or a picture that our brains are playing while we are sleeping.  Sometimes you may find that one is a bit scary but remember they are not real and did not happen in real life. Remember that most of the dreams that you have will be sweet dreams and if you do have a bad dream your grown ups are always there to comfort you and reassure you that you are safe and that you can go back to sleep knowing that everything is okay.

    • When my little boy had a bad dream we made a dream catcher here are some dream catcher ideas for you to make too…
    • How about making a dream jar, write or draw things that you would like to dream about and put them in your own special jar, click on the link below to find out how to make one and what sort of things you can put into it.


    Bedtime Routine

    Maybe you could sit down with your grown up and design your own bedtime routine?  See below for an example.  You might want to include your mindful minute (see last Mindful Mondays blog), some bedtime yoga and a mindful story into your bedtime routine.

    Bedtime Yoga

    Below are 3 Bedtime Cosmic Kids Yoga stories to choose from.

    Tommy the Bedtime Turtle (for a good Bedtime Routine)

    Twilight the Unicorn of Dreams (for having lovely dreams)

    Fernando the Silver Fox (about not being scared of the dark)

    Bedtime Affirmations

    When you’re safely tucked up in bed how about repeating one of these bedtime affirmations to yourself as you go off to sleep.  They help to relax you and help you to remember all the positive things that you have achieved that day.

    Bedtime relaxing breath

    Try some deep belly breathing, you can practice this when lying in your bed.  You could even pop one of your cuddly toys (a breathing buddy) on your belly whilst you do it, as you breathe in watch your toy go up and as you breath out watch it go down.  Watch the clip below to help you.

    Mindful Bedtime Story

    As this week is all about a peaceful night sleep why don’t you choose one of your favourite books and ask your grown up to read it to you whilst you snuggle in your bed with your eyes gently closed?  As your grown up reads you the story you can use your imagination to make pictures of the story in your head as you slowly drift off to sleep…..



    Note to grown ups:  Please check out these really useful websites below for any advice on healthy sleeping tips for your children.

    Have pleasant dreams everyone,


    Love from the Nursery and Reception Teams xxx

  • Brilliant Work!

    It has been great to see all your fantastic work this week Reception.

    We have loved looking at your story maps and seeing some of you doing this in different creative ways.
    We were also very impressed by the Worry Dolls lots of you made for Children’s Mental Health Week.
    It makes us laugh lots when we read your super silly sentences from the phonics sessions.

    Keep up all the hard work Reception!


  • Worry Dolls

    As part of Children’s Mental Health Week we thought you might enjoy making your very own worry doll. Follow the instructions below:

    No wool or string to decorate your worry doll?

    Try using cut grass for a funny hairstyle or cut out little circles of paper and stick them on. Maybe add a pattern to a tissue and wrap that round to make a cosy blanket or glue on a cotton wool jumper.

  • Mindful Monday

    Merry Hill’s EYFS team presents a very special

    Mindful Monday!


    Children’s Mental Health Week

    1-7 February 2021


    It’s a very special week this week as Merry Hill is very proudly supporting Children’s Mental Health Week along with Place2Be.

    Place2be is a charity providing mental health counselling support and training to schools to improve the emotional well being of pupils, families, teachers and staff.

    Expressing yourself means doing activities that make YOU feel good!

    Please watch this short clip of Place2be telling you all about this years theme…

    Express Yourself with Place2be

    This Mindful Monday is jam packed with ideas for you and your families, so over this next week why don’t you try expressing yourself in these fun and exciting ways! 

    Ok lets get cracking…..



    Why not take your art outside?  Here are two amazing artists who work with all natural materials just like we do in Mini Explorers.  Have a look at the clips below for some inspiring ideas from Andy Goldsworthy and have a look at James Brunt’s website for some more beautiful ideas!

    Andy Goldsworthy Art

    Go Outside Week Andy Goldsworthy Land Art

    Always make sure you are in a safe outdoor space and that you are with your grown ups!


    Create your own happy play list.

    Do you have songs that make you sing, dance and give you those happy feelings!  When we put on our happy tunes they can change our mood instantly!

    Why don’t you become your own DJ and create your own happy hits play list?  You can use the pdf below or design your own.  If you have a tablet you could download your songs and anytime you need a bit of a boost or a lift you can just play your special play list for those instant happy vibes!!

    I decided to ask all the staff at Merry Hill what songs make them feel happy?  So if you want to see who dances around their kitchen to Justin Timberlake, who wants to ‘Dance with Somebody’ like Whitney Houston or what member of staff does Pharrell Williams make ‘Happy’ just take a look at the PDF below.

    Dance and Drama

    • Dance

    Have a listen to Giraffes Can’t Dance read by Mrs Howe.  Nobody tells a story quite like our very own Mrs Howe and she has very kindly agreed to read it to us here on our Mindful Monday blog.  Thank you so much Mrs Howe!          Giraffe Can’t Dance read by Mrs Howe

    Gerald loves expressing himself in his own unique way through his own special dancing and now it’s your turn, play a song, get dancing and enjoy yourself!!

    • Drama

    How about making some puppets and perform a puppet show?  You could write your own play or you could perform a story like the 3 Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

    You can make your puppets out of old socks, spoons, old pieces of material, lollypop sticks or even old gloves or washing up gloves.

    Writing and Poetry

    • Writing

    How about using story stones?  You could pick 5 stones and then write a story using those 5 stones.  Please go to the website below for details on how to make your very own story stones.

    Or, you could write a positive letter to yourself.  Here is an example of a positive letter.

    Dear Me,

    Do you know my handwriting is getting better every day.  I also got dressed all by myself and remembered to brush my teeth.  I really like you nose, without you I would not be able to smell the yummy strawberries I had for my snack today, thank you.

    Today I am feeling……….(proud/happy/excited)…………………………………..

    Love Me

    • Poetry

    I love poetry I used to write poems when I was much younger, I like funny poems because I like to make people laugh.  It makes me happy seeing people laughing and smiling.  I wrote a poem for all my Mini Explorers (yes that’s you) so if you would like to read it, click on the link below and I hope it makes you smile too!

    Film and Photography

    • Photography

    Do you have a happy place?  A happy place is a memory, situation or an activity that makes you feel happy.  It could be a photo of a beach or you riding a pony, it could be you sitting having a special dinner with your family or a photograph of you and your friends at a birthday party.  If you feel worried, sad, lonely or angry sit and picture in your head your happy place, maybe you could make a happy place book and stick all your photo’s in there?

    Here are some of the Early Years teachers happy places, have a look at them on the pdf below.

    • Film

    How about having a movie night with a difference?  A movie where you are the star, make a short movie on a tablet or phone and then watch it back with your family.  You could pretend you’re at the cinema, get some popcorn, a drink and enjoy!  Perhaps you could even give out your very own Oscars for best actor, director etc.

    As always I’m going to finish with a little bit of yoga and some quiet time…


    This is a special yoga pose called Cactus click below to give it a try…

    Cactus pose is really great because it helps you with your self-expression and creativity.  I do it all the time when the creative part of my brain needs a little help .  Doing this pose makes me laugh so much that sometimes I fall over, which makes me laugh even more!!

    Quiet Time

    A Mindful Minute

    Meditation is great for your creativity because it helps clear your mind of all your thoughts that are naturally running around in your head.  Being mindful is about noticing how your body feels right now – what you can smell, taste, hear and see in this present moment.

    Just sitting for one mindful minute can help calm your mind and help you think better!

    A minute is just like counting up to 60, so you could use a timer (a grown up will help you) or make a glitter jar, shake it up and just sit quietly and watch all the glitter fall to the bottom (that’s exactly what ‘s happening with all those thoughts running around in your head).  Once the glitter falls to the bottom you can stay where you are or you can get up and get on with your day, either way notice how you feel after.  Don’t worry if you can’t sit for a whole minute at first just give it a go and the more you do it the easier it will get!

    Find instructions on how to make a Mindful Glitter Jar below.


    This is a song for all our lovely children both in school and at home who keep us smiling and make us proud, the parents and carers who are doing such an amazing job of home schooling and all my hard working, supportive colleagues at Merry Hill School, because as I always like to tell the children ‘team work makes dreams work’!  I hope the song below makes you as happy as it does me!

    Please click here!

    Have a wonderful week and I can’t wait to see everyone dressing to express on Friday whether you’re at home or at school!


    Love from

    The Nursery and Reception Team






  • Thank you Reception!

    We just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you (and parents) for your hard work at home. It has been brilliant to see your work on Tapestry and all the Reception Team have been really impressed. Here are just a small selection of photos to show what you’ve been doing this week:

  • Cleaning Windows

    Hello Elephants and Zebras,

    I wonder who had a go at our washing activity a few weeks back?
    This week we want you to continue being great helpers at home and try to do a few more jobs.
    Maybe you could make your bed every morning or help to sweep the kitchen floor using a broom or dustpan and brush.

    Cleaning windows activity (adult supervised):

    Can you use a  spray bottle to clean the windows? Spray bottles are a great fine motor activity and help to build your writing muscles in your hands.

  • Gingerbread Man Recipe

    While we are learning The Gingerbread Man story it’s the perfect time to make delicious Gingerbread people. This is a recipe you could use and there are others on the internet or in cookery books. Make sure you have a grown up to help you.


    To decorate

    • writing icing (optional)
    • cake decorations (optional) you could use raisins or sweets


    1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
    2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
    3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
    4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
    5. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
    6. Guard your Gingerbread people to make sure they don’t run away!