As Early Childhood Educators, we all have our own definitions of play in our classrooms but so do children! Research suggests that children do not differentiate between physical and digital play in the same way that adults might. In fact, children can readily move between physical and digital play (and back again) when they have access to open-ended, creative digital tools.
Here are 5 MORE activities that you should plan for in your early years settings!
- Story Drawing
Take your iPads to the outdoor classroom and photograph real story settings from a book that you are reading in class. Use the built in Markup tools to draw characters onto the photographs, right there in the moment! Take those story pictures back to the classroom and use them for story writing.
2. Teach Online Safety
A fundamental of using technology in the classroom is teaching online and device safety too. And this can be done in an age-appropriate way through story. Stuart Spendlow is a Deputy Head Teacher in England but also a best-selling children’s author. He has two books suitable for the early years which introduce online safety carefully and purposefully. PENGUINPIG and MONKEYCOW are two tales about not believing what you see online and keeping passwords a secret!
With Stuart’s kind permission I have designed two free lesson resources to extend the ideas of his stories. The PENGUINPIG activity lets children design their own pretend animal, write an advert for it and see how quickly their fake news spreads by showing it friends in the class and collecting selfies.
In the MONKEYCOW activity, children look at story character profiles and guess their easy passwords. Then they help write new passwords that are made from random animal names.
3. Record Singing
The iPad has lots of ways you can record singing time and listen back. Voice Memos is the best place to start and you can open the app on an iPad that you’ve switched on right out of the box! It comes installed ready to go. Teach the children to open the app, press record and sing away. Then they can stop and listen back too.
This example comes from a multi-media project called Rainbow and demonstrates how easy the Voice Memos app is to use at the stars the video. The recording is then added to Clips as a backing track in this project:
4. Film a Puppet Show
Video has rich potential in the early years classroom and the simple Camera app can be used in any small world, role play or puppet play area! Teach the children to navigate to the Video mode by swiping their finger on the camera screen until they see the red circle button. Pressing the red circle starts the filming and pressing the red square stops it. They can watch their films back and enjoy being small screen stars in the classroom. Children will love watching each others shows and listening to their friends on screen. The photo below shows how I have connected the iPad to a TV screen for children to see their films on a bigger screen too!
When young learners have mastered making videos, you might what to try some of these activities:
5. Count Endlessly
There are never enough counters in my classroom for every children to engage in endless maths play at the same time. Sometimes, digital manipulatives help me out because an infinite amount of counters are readily available to a child and the whole class can engage in maths problem solving at the same time in an orderly way using Number Frames by Math Learning Center.
For more maths ideas, check out these posts:
Don’t forget, the first five ideas are shared here too! That’s 10 ideas to start your technology planning.