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  • Sue Ridgway The first in a series of articles supporting topic development - with downloadable activity plans. These are ideas only: ANY CURRICULUM LINKS DO NOT RELATE TO THE CURRENT (2012) EYFS REQUIREMENTS

    ‘Growing’ is always a useful topic for children in the Foundation Stage because it can be firmly rooted in the children and their various experiences. Some of these experiences (such as losing teeth - although not common at this age, I have known it to happen, and they may have older siblings) might trouble them, so this topic can provide reassurance. It can also facilitate a development of understanding that change occurs through life and in the wider world, to whatever degree is appropriate for the children in your charge.

    The topic may be confined to human growth, with links to healthy eating and healthy practices, but can also easily extend to animal, insect, plant and underwater or undersea growth. An interesting extension I have used in the past is to look at cave growth – stalagmites, stalactites and the unique plants and fungi found in this environment. It can help to show the infinite variety of life (and life requirements) on the planet – although these aspects might be a bit much for some children. You will need to pitch your coverage to the children with whom you are currently working.

    Below you can see a graphic depiction of the six areas of learning. If you hover your mouse over these areas you will see a list of suggestions and ideas (commonly called a topic web or mindmap. Click on any of the areas and you will be taken to ideas and activities (including downloadable planning sheets relevant to each area of learning) to do with the topic of growing. The planning sheets are provided in MS Word and pdf (Acrobat Reader) formats. Clicking on the relevant icon will start the download.



    Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

    Ideas and Suggestions

    • Photos of life, from baby – adulthood
    • Own baby photos – guess who?
    • Caring for living things – plant, animal, insect
    • Discuss new babies in the family (if appropriate) –can help to cope with jealousy.
    • Photos of family groups – discuss stages of life
    • Circle times
    • Interest tables -seeds/bulbs/fruit etc to explore
    • Group mind mapping of the topic
    • When I was a baby I …….. now I…..
    • Sharing experiences e.g. a visit to caves where growth is different
    • Visits from dental hygienist, health visitor or school nurse


    I Can Do /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Our Families /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    (Back to mindmap)

    Communication, language and literacy (CLL)

    Ideas and Suggestions:

    • Make own books of ‘growing’ stories
    • List of books, both fiction and non-fiction to support topic (link to booklist)
    • Rhymes and songs appropriate to the topic
    • Make signs, labels and prices for role play area
    • Circle times
    • Make plans for growing activities – what they will need, how to etc
    • Storymaking sessions around the theme
    • Making a fruit/veg letter line
    • Scribe for children, encouraging them to attempt.
    • Notepads, pens, magnifying glasses outside
    • Lists, invitations for important life events


    Role Play Baby Clinic /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Story Making /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    list of activities in MS Word and pdf format

    (Back to mindmap)

    Knowledge and understanding of the world (KUW)

    Ideas and Suggestions:

    • Design and make area
    • Make rain gauges, wind socks, kites, umbrellas etc
    • The water cycle
    • Different types of clouds
    • Make rainbows
    • Investigate the effect of water on different materials
    • Tape and play back our own weather forecasts
    • How extreme weather affects people
    • Looking at puddles and shadows
    • Ice play
    • Hibernation
    • Seasonal changes


    Growing Different Plants /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Seasonal Change /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    (Back to mindmap)

    Mathematical Development (MD)

    Ideas and Suggestions:

    • Measure each other over a period – height, hands, feet.
    • Make a height chart
    • Measure plants
    • Sort seeds
    • Make symmetrical paintings, drawings
    • Sort items of clothing into ages
    • Baking – weighing and measuring
    • Comparisons –tall child, short adult
    • Count and record trees, plants in the outdoor area
    • Share out seeds, using simple number operations
    • Make patterns using seeds/leaves
    • Discuss shapes in nature
    • Sort natural objects by size


    Counting and Recording Plants in Outdoor Play /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Measuring our Feet /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    (Back to mindmap)

    Physical Development (PD)

    Ideas and Suggestions:

    • Life needs – how do these differ with type of growth (plant, animal, fungus, mineral)
    • Life cycles
    • Grow caterpillars
    • Re-enact butterfly life cycle in a movement session. Try the same for frogs or plants.
    • How do we feel now? – after above activity
    • Naming the parts – body/plant/insect
    • Keeping healthy
    • Make vegetable soup – healthy eating, hand-eye co-ordination
    • Move like different animals
    • Work together to mirror actions or guess the animal


    Be a Seed /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Making Vegetable Soup /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    (Back to mindmap)

    Creative Development (CD)

    Ideas and Suggestions:

    • Butterfly painting
    • Butterfly/plant dances
    • Moving to music like different plants/animals
    • Role play –Garden Centre, baby clinic
    • Look at the works of famous painters, make own interpretation e.g. Sunflowers, Van Gogh.
    • Messy play – compost, ‘cleanish mud’ with digging implements
    • Fruit or veg printing
    • Explore natural textures
    • Collage using natural materials
    • Bark rubbings
    • Observational drawings of seeds, bulbs
    • Singing sessions
    • Act out a ‘growing’ story e.g The Enormous Turnip
    • Make shakers using seeds


    Making Shakers /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    Mud Pies /forums/uploads/word.gif /forums/uploads/pdficon.gif

    (Back to mindmap)

    'Growing' Forum

    Accompanying this article we have a dedicated Forum area - please feel free to join in and contribute to discussions and suggestions on the topic. Find the 'Growing' forum here

    Other Resources



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