Home Play Bags

Any of my regular readers know I love training, it drives improvement making our all round provision more effective for children to progress. Earlier this year we went to “Chatter Matters” conference ( see previous blog with the title) with amazing key speakers. The workshops were equally inspiring, which is where our Home Play Bags originated. At the conference they were introduced as Home Learning Bags. This sounds a little bit like home work for me, and the essence of the bags, was to provide play opportunities at home which enhanced the learning we do in the setting. The bags vary from cornflour, bug investigation, books, play dough and craft, and much more! We hope to introduce some new play ideas into the home as well as some familiar activities. The bags come with a list of contents, some play ideas, and some suggestions of how it can affect development.


We have been using our Home Play Bags for just a week. We enclosed parent feedback forms in each back and so far, returned bags have all had a filled in feedback form, 26 so far! We asked whether the play activity was too easy, just right or too hard. Most have said just right, one said it was a mix of too easy and just right. Parents and children are loving them! Most bags have varying skills attached. While we want to challenge children we want the bags to be fun and stimulating most of all. We don’t want any pressure attached to them, but we will hopefully provide some different activities to peruse at home as well as making suggestions to enhance activities at home. We might for instance add props to our books in the bag with questions about the characters.


The parent guides…an example

Home Play Bags
Sparkles and Millies

Number 8 Cornflour
Bag of cornflour
Beware….this gets messy!
Let’s Play!
You will need a tray or flat plate, and some water.
Add water little by little and mix with your fingers and hands.
The cornflour keeps sinking so it needs to be mixed constantly. Eventually you will be able to leave trails and make marks that will disappear.
If you get it to a certain consistency you can quickly roll it into a ball, and then as if by magic, when you stop it just dribbles out of your hand!
Moving cornflour takes some finger strength for young fingers. Great for pre-writing
Communication and Language
Increase vocabulary. How does it feel? Slimey, squidgy, drippy, powdery. Any other words?

Cornflour does wash out of clothes! Let it dry and you can brush it off.
You may not want to be wearing black!


High Quality Training

I have just been on the most amazing training today delivered by Alistair Bryce Clegg. I have got so many ideas that now I’m home my brain will surely explode, because I can’t think what to change first. Good training is expensive, but I have come to the conclusion that high quality training, by Top trainers, has a bigger impact on changes in the setting. Laura Henry is another of my favourite trainers, where I come home with a “to do” list when I come home ( having had comprehensive guidance on how to achieve the “to do” list)

Budgets are so tight now, but I’ve made a very conscious effort not to spend every penny on new resources, but save some up for high quality training. After all, if you think you and your team are the best, they deserve the best. The tip top training will impact the children’s learning and well being outcomes for years, so they will reach their best attainment levels. It’s an investment for the whole pre-school.

As for the content, well of course I can’t comment, you must book for yourselves, however both the above mentioned have excellent websites, can be found on FB and Twitter, and come highly recommended by your truly, me!

Also been on some very inspiring Neytco events, of which any Early Years practitioner can be a member. An evening with….got me talking to some of my Early Years heroes, Sonia Blandford, Elizebeth Jarman talking about their own childhoods (some surprises there!) and EY experiences. Also Neytco is an excellent resource for finding trainers to suit your setting needs.




For now, I’m of to bed, so much thought provoking information today Mr Bryce Clegg has made me incredibly tired!

To my team, I’ve got some fab training coming up for you!