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Activity Plan: Conker Painting

This activity can be done by children of all ages, simultaneously exploring seasons, creating art and developing motor skills. It has the multiple benefits of being easy to create and linking to many areas of the EYFS Development Matters. Just a few items are needed to make this activity which can also be altered depending on what resources might be available.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

· Trays

· Paint

· Paper

· Conkers (balls can be used if conkers are not available)

Photo sourced from Pinterest

Preparing the activity:

1. Collect conkers. Ensure there are enough for several per child. If possible, involve the children in finding conkers outside.

2. Mix up a selection of paints in varying colours, making sure they are not too thick.

3. Ensure children are wearing painting aprons. There should be a tray per child, so if 4 trays are available, 4 children should be participating at a time.

4. Place a piece of paper in each tray-make sure the trays have raised edges to stop conkers rolling off.

Doing the activity:

Support the children to pour some small puddles of paint on their paper that is placed in the tray. Approximately 5-6 blobs, each roughly an inch or 2 wide. Then place the conkers in the tray with the paint and demonstrate to the children how to tilt their tray to make the conkers roll through the paint.

While they are painting with the conkers, be sure to use meaningful language to provide helpful narration of the activity. For example, rolling, quickly, slowly, through, tilting, up, down. Encourage the children to describe how the conkers move, noticing how the colours mix together.

Photographer: Georg Eiermann | Source: Unsplash

Be sure to talk about the conkers, tying in a seasonal discussion. Explain where they come from and how we find them in the Autumn months. The life cycles of trees and other plants can also be mentioned. Encourage younger children to repeat single words or join words together to create simple sentences. Mathematics can also be included by counting the conkers and number of different coloured paints.

Younger children may need support with holding the trays but provide opportunities for independence whenever suitable. Make sure each child has their turn, encouraging patience and turn taking. Children may also wish to use their hands to roll the conkers through the paint, adding a sensory dimension to this activity.

Tracking the activity:

8-20 months

Communication and Language: Speaking- Uses single words.

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Picks up small objects between thumb and fingers.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Notices and is interested in the effects of making movements which leave marks.

16-26 months

Communication and Language: Speaking- Uses different types of everyday words (nouns, verbs and adjectives, e.g. banana, go, sleep, hot).

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Makes connections between their movement and the marks they make.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Notices and is interested in the effects of making movements which leave marks.

22-36 months

Communication and Language: Speaking- Learns new words very rapidly and is able to use them in communicating.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Experiments with blocks, colours and marks.

30-50 months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention- Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).

Communication and Language: Understanding- Responds to simple instructions, e.g. to get or put away an object.

Communication and Language: Speaking- Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Managing feelings and behaviour- Begins to accept the needs of others and can take turns and share resources, sometimes with support from others.

Understanding the world: The world- Talks about why things happen and how things work.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Explores colour and how colours can be changed.

40-60 months

Communication and Language: Listening and attention- Maintains attention, concentrates and sits quietly during appropriate activity.

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Handles tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Manipulates materials to achieve a planned effect.

Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials- Explores what happens when they mix colours.