Sunday, 2 November 2014

Beautiful Bonfires and Fantastic Fireworks!

Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot!
A time of year that is full of fun, and with so many opportunities for fantastic learning! 

For anyone that follows me on twitter (@EarlyYearsIdeas) - you may recognise a few of these ideas, as I have tweeted as I've become inspired - but I wanted to round up a selection of activities across the curriculum, for anyone who might find it helpful!

  • Explore the colours involved in fire while pouring, mixing and finger painting. 
  • You could also investigate the different SHADES of each colour and create a lovely colour wheel through collage (i.e. is a red car exactly the same as a red tomato?) 
  • Build your own 'guy' by stuffing an old shirt and pair of trousers - if you have the time you could papier mache a lovely head for him, but if not a balloon or cardboard cut out will do just fine. (speak about what Guy Fawkes might have worn and explore differences between clothing past and present - links to Social Studies)
  • Junk model some speeding rockets using toilet roll tubes, cardboard and tissue paper. Make them even more effective by adding streamers or strips of tissue so that they hang out of the bottom - as if they are the flames.

  • Using very watery paint - drop a few blobs onto thick paper and use a straw to blow (don't suck!) the colours, creating wonderful firework patterns.
  • Splatter paintings are great messy fun! They are also a wonderful way to bring in some physical skills that will perhaps appeal to boys which often stay away from art. 
    • Cover a wall with paper (black/ dark blue looks lovely for a night sky feel) OR just use a large cardboard box (perhaps from a washing machine or other large appliance).
    • Use a few sponges and dip them into paint (poster paint is best - maybe watered down a little so that the sponge absorbs it well)
    • Throw the paint covered sponge at the wall/ into the box to create great big, messy, fantastic SPLATS!
  • Another form of splatter painting is to use a toothbrush - dip into the paint and then run your finger across the bristles to flick the paint onto the paper. I love doing this with white paint onto black paper and the results make for a beautiful starry background for other pictures/ displays.
  • Marble rolling can also create lovely colourful patterns. This can be done in a high sided tray, but I would recommend trying it in an old 'quality street' tin (or something similar) for the added bonus of the banging and crashing sounds as the marbles roll about inside - just like real fireworks!
  • Speaking or firework sounds, can we make any using out bodies? Maybe stamping our feet to make a banging sound, or I wonder if anyone can whistle like a screaming rocket?
  • Provide a variety of musical instruments for the children to make their own firework sounds: tambourines, drums, and whistles are best (top tip - personally I would only have these out at certain times of the day, rather than letting the children access them independently. There are 2 main reasons for this - 1: supervision of the whistles so that they can be washed between different children's turns 2: There is only so long that I can deal with screeching whistles in my ear!!)
  • Now that we've thought about the sounds that the fireworks make, let's investigate what they look like! Encourage the children to move their bodies as if they were rockets shooting through the air, or as if they were a huge explosion of light and colour, or spinning and twirling like a catherine wheel.

  • Explore new language by creating a word wall. This could include:
    • Rocket
    • Sparkler
    • Twinkle
    • Bang
    • Pop
    • Whistle
    • Whizz
    • Zoom
  • Provide both story books and information books about this celebration. Here is a lovely book about bonfire night from a series which explores the many different religious and cultural holidays and celebrations: 

 Image from

  • This celebration is also a good opportunity to introduce books and learning about London as you investigate the houses of parliament and perhaps extend the learning to find out about other famous landmarks.
  • Use a variety of interesting brushes (brushes made of natural resources such as grass/ leaves bound together, or dish-washing brushes etc) and investigate shapes and patterns while printing and stamping
  • Turn a simple 'colouring page' into a game by numbering different sections, then rolling the dice to see which part you may colour first. For example, roll 1: colour the houses, roll 2: colour the moon, roll 3: colour the rocket...
  • Make your own height chart with your rocket at the top, and it's trail of sparks as the ruler to measure yourself by.
  • Encourage the children to think about appropriate clothing and wrapping up warm by playing pairs or other matching and sorting games using gloves, warm socks, hats, scarves etc
  • Learn about time and routines, as well as day and night by making your own paper plate clocks, setting them to the time that you will be going to see the fireworks, and allowing the children to compare it to the real clock within the room.

  • A huge part of your learning for bonfire night should be focused on safety. Remind your children they they must always keep a safe distance from a fire and must always stay with an adult. Here are some fantastic bonfire safety videos presented to the children by Fireman Sam!
  • Why not act out the scenario of bonfire night, to allow the children to understand exactly what will happen and remember how to keep themselves safe. Provide coats, hats, scarves, wellies etc in the role play area for the children to practice putting on by themselves, you could then take them out into the garden/ outdoor area and either use a real fire (if you have a suitable, child friendly fire pit) or make a pretend fire using sticks and material or tissue paper. Make sure to have a visible 'safety circle' (or perimeter) that the children must stay behind. This is a practical form of learning which will help the children to remember.
  • A tasty bonfire night treat which is easy to make is Chocolate apples. Push a fork into an apple, dip into melted chocolate and add sprinkles. Yummy!

  • Symmetrical firework ICT pictures using 'Paint'
  • Predicting and experimenting to discover which materials will burn in a fire
  • Firework discovery bottles
  • Glitter on the light box
  • Exploring glow sticks and torches

I would love to go on and list all of the many other ideas - but I am running out of space and time, so instead - I shall point you in the direction of a few others who have some absolutely fantastic ideas that I would love to try:

Bottle rockets - by teach beside me

Fireworks in a jar - by I can teach my child

Edible Sparklers - by Red Ted Art

Sprinkle fireworks - by Reading Confetti

Have a fantastic week everyone! 

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