5 activities to try with iPad in early years!

As you look forward to a new year of school, here are my favourite five activities for you to plan in next year. Whilst looking through these five activities, take a moment to reflect on The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning. How might these activities provide opportunities for children to be playful, explorative, active in learning and critical or creative with their thinking?

“In planning and guiding what children learn, practitioners must reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things”

  1. Seasonal Photography

Throughout the year take your iPads with you on seasonal walks, to forest school and woodland workshops or to your outdoor classroom. Teach children to step closer and closer to their subject to take close up photographs of signs of the seasons. Show them to take focused photographs and use the shutter button to snap when they are still and ready. Help them to delete the images they decide they don’t need to save.

Check out these posts about photography for more inspiration:

One Best Photo

A Frosty Photo Walk

A Springtime Photo Walk

2. Animate Artwork

Use your focus book to create collaborative art work of the characters. After painting and collaging, your learners can each use the free ChatterPix Kids app. In a few simple steps, children photograph their character artwork, cut a digital line across the mouth with their finger then press the red button to record their voice. You will teach them to use record, stop and play. The children will all get to save an animation of their group artwork.

Check out this post for more information about making your paintings sing.

3. Role Play Robots

Start your class on a coding learning journey by role playing as robots. Use floor tiles to create mazes or grids to navigate as human robots. Their friends give them instructions to move forwards, backwards, left or right. They can collect objects along the way or move between point A and B. Teach the children the directional language which will help them to use toys like Bee-Bots. They can also place arrow cards on the carpet to communicate their instructions too!

Find out more about unplugged computing here.

4. Make A Class Book

If you go a local walk, special day in class or school trip, why not let the children take photographs themselves and use an app like Pages or Book Creator to make a class book? Each child can have a page to type, write with their finger or record their voice talking about their ideas. International Dot Day in September is a great place to start and this is a free template you can use to celebrate the day!

You might also want to use children’s photographs of small world or their puppet shows to make books on the iPad to print for your library areas.

Here’s another post about making books on local area walks.

5. Look at Space

Young learners are fascinated by stories of space, planets and aliens but the scientific concepts can seem too abstract to teach. The non-fiction books are full of language which is harder to comprehend. Augmented Reality makes space knowledge visible to young children. Use the book iSolarSystem and the free app or free app SkyView Lite to explore 3D models of the planets and constellations in real time.

Whilst children are viewing these animated models and tracking the planets above their school you can talk to them about space or let them read and listen to the simple facts in the apps to build knowledge.

Find out more ways to use Augmented Reality in early years here.

There are another FIVE ideas for you to plan for here too.

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