Whitby's Lane, Winsford, CW7 2LZ

Acorn Home Learning Ideas – Lockdown February 2021

Topic: Chinese New Year & Celebrations

Week beginning 8th February

Activities for the week

This week the children in school will be looking at celebrations – especially linked to Chinese New Year – which is on Friday 12th February. This will be the Year of the Ox.

To help the children to know more about this celebration we try to help young children to make links with celebrations that they experiences in their lives. We do this by thinking about birthdays – as this is the celebration that is most familiar in their lives.

Talk with your child about what we do for birthdays – what do we wear? what do we eat? what do we give? what do we sign? what do we do to decorate and enjoy the celebration together?

Watch the Cbeebies clip about Chinese New Year with your child and see if they can notice what is the same and what is different to celebrations for birthdays.

Chinese New Year 1  Preparations for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2 Celebrating Chinese New Year

Pretend that you are going to have a party. Can you make a shopping list of all the party food you will need to buy? Decorate the house, dress up in party clothes, get out the special party food and enjoy party games. Lots of teddies and dollies can come to the party.  Count out plate and cups for the toys at the tea party.

The Story of the Animals of the Zodiac


Phonics videos:

m: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/Aljw0tuP/orhmOuJ7

a: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/5kC0F6zU/2hB6BwVP

s: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/LEOivlNu/V8yiKY08

d: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/3unnEp0z/yNkcaJpu

t: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/w3P26nWe/NmZD6fcw

i: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/w3P26nWe/NmZD6fcw

n: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/TqZDUgML/mzQyc3jY

These links will expire 19th February – but I can then put new links on.

More ideas to follow later this week….


Week beginning 1st February

Activities for the week

Enjoy listening to the story of Supertato – the supermarket superhero with eyes everywhere! He goes on a rescue mission to save the veggies from a very naughty pea.

After listening to this story, perhaps your child could be encouraged to draw some of their own favourite superheroes.

Encourage your child to dress up as a superhero – what items of clothing do Superheroes wear? Can they choose something suitable to help them create a cape, a mask, a utility belt etc. Make a superhero den with blankets and cushions and enjoy some role play undertaking daring missions and rescues.

Encourage your child to draw a picture of their favourite superhero – can they use phonics/letters to label any of the things on their drawing? Even attempting to mark down the initial sound they can hear is supporting them in early writing.


Phonics: Use these links for your child to watch and join in with the phonic session focusing on:

s – https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/DwMz14vK/imqFkNFk

d – https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/RsEtJiJL/Icl56Zu8

t – https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/ER3Wde9C/jtkjqiJC

Maths: Collect 5 containers and some loose items that your child can sort into each pot. Provide your child with a number card for each pot (you may need to draw the number and also the correct number of dots underneath, so that your child can count the dots to check which number it is.) Ask your child to put the correct number of items into the pots according to what number you have stuck to it. You could use this sheet can_you_collect_five_activity_sheet to help if you wished to print it off.

When out for a daily walk – look for and find print and or numerals in the environment.  Look at road signs, street names, names of houses, numbers on utility boxes or grids on the floor, numbers on vehicles etc. Encourage your child to take a photo, or to try to copy it onto some paper. When they get home, help your child to sort which ones are letters and which ones are numbers.

Draw a map of the route that you took when out walking (simple line/circle) – draw pictures to show what you found on the way, use language to describe the journey or route

Explore the books on Get Epic which relate to various 2D shapes – circles, triangles, rectangles and squares. We are working towards supporting your child to be able to name and recognise these shapes independently in the environment around them.

Topic: Cold weather/Winter & animals that live in Polar regions

Week Beginning 25th January

Thursday & Friday

Today, I want to gather how much these resource ideas are being accessed by the families whose children are remaining at home at this time.

I have created a very short Google form which I would like to request that you complete to give me some feedback.

To support your child with their ongoing learning – I would recommend that you re-visit any of the activities mentioned in this blog post since 06/01/21. Children of this age learn best when they have multiple encounters with things – this allows them to become well embedded and secured.


My apologies for no learning challenges being posted today – events within school meant that I was unable to do so.


The Enormous Turnip – can your child retell this story to you, using the story map provided? The more children can attempt to tell their own stories, the more prepared they are when it comes to writing stories. Orally retelling a story, using repeated language and simple phrases taken from books (e.g. once upon a time, he pulled and he pulled, lived far far away etc) is one of the best activities you can do with your Nursery child.



Phonics: To support your child with continuing to remember the phonics that we have learnt in Nursery, please watch these videos and encourage your child to join in (as this is the same as when Mrs Alford runs the session in Nursery – so should be familiar to them.) I have provided links to access teaching for ‘a’ today.


a – https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/S74dKHan/oyW4DS4B

Maths: Use this fun counting game to encourage your child to touch and count individual objects, then try to find the correct numeral which represents how many they have counted.  Underwater Counting Game


Phonics: To support your child with continuing to remember the phonics that we have learnt in Nursery, please watch these videos and encourage your child to join in (as this is the same as when Mrs Alford runs the session in Nursery – so should be familiar to them.) I have provided links to access teaching for ‘m’ today.


m – https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/qzjkdeyt/iSSHMD6u

Printing with paint – using any shaped toy resources (wooden or plastic blocks) you have at home which can be used to get messy, encourage your child to dip the shape into paint, then press down and print the shape onto paper. Can they create a picture using the different shapes they have? A house, rocket, flower, car?

If you do not have paint at home, try putting a thin sprinkling of flour spread out on a kitchen table, and encourage your child to press the shape/block down into the flour to see what shape they can see.


This week we are looking at the recipe for making soup – noticing the different sections that can be seen (ingredients, method etc). Using the Get Epic website, explore the recipe books and stories linked to food with your child. Writing activity: if your child was making their own soup recipe, what ingredients would they put into it? Ask your child to write out a shopping list of what ingredients they need. Accept and encourage any marks made onto paper in an effort to create a shopping list. Ask your child to ‘read’ the list to you.


Week beginning 18th January

Friday 22nd

Support your child in thinking about the different weather conditions that we experience through the year by getting out lots of different items of clothing from both warmer weather and also colder weather – ask your child to sort the clothes into those you would wear in a warm place and those you would wear in a cold place. Talk to them about why we need to wear more clothes in winter – mentioning that the temperature is colder. See if they can make the link between the temperature being colder and snow falling from the sky. On Get Epic, there are a number of assigned books which look closely at the weather in Winter – which you could also explore with your child.

Shape focus: Find some household objects which have 2D shapes on them (e.g. pan, box, cup etc) and encourage your child to draw around to create the 2D shape on paper. Can your child name each shape that they see? PWO_Age_3_4_shapes_and_sizes




Phonics focus: Use the RWI Phonics Mat to support your child with exploring the sounds that they recognise. We have learnt these sounds in school: m, a, s, d, t, i, n – so please just focus on the first sheet with your child. See if they can suggest other words which start with the same sound, or suggest a word and ask if it has the same sound as the one you are looking at, e.g. sssss snake – does sssssssun have the same sound? does t-t-t-tree have the same sound as ssssnake?


Please don’t forget to listen to the story of the week – the Enormous Turnip for one last time, and sing the nursery rhyme of the week with your child – Pat-a-cake.

Thursday 21st

Encourage your child to explore their home environment to look for 2D shapes, such as square, rectangle, circle and triangle. Can they spot these shapes featuring in the environment? Go on a shape hunt and count how many of each shape you can find? You could use this sheet to support you child in looking for circles.  can_you_spot…_circles_activity_sheet


Use this Topmarks shape sorting game to support your child in recognising shapes which are the same.


Enjoy the story of The Enormous Turnip with Mrs Alford reading to your child – encourage your child to join in with the repeated elements of the story. For example “and they pulled and they pulled and they pulled”. Encourage them to use their own teddies to set up a role play situation where they are trying to pull something out, similar to the story, and encourage them to use any story language they can, similar to the story, to tell their own similar version.

Wednesday 20th


Explore the Get Epic website to enjoy some other versions of The Enormous Turnip stories. Notice which parts are similar and which parts are different to the version read by Mrs Alford.




With your child, exploring the forces used within the story of The Enormous Turnip. To get the turnip out of the ground, they had to pull, and pull and pull. Explore if your child can find other things int he house that they need to use a pull force on (e.g. opening a door, a drawer etc. Then look at the other force of pushing – can they push a car along the floor? Can they explore ad find other ways they use a push to move something.

Get out the vegetables that your child has been exploring. Talk about how they grow as part of a plant. Can they work out where they think that each vegetable would grow? (Under the ground, on a plant on the surface, on a plant, in a larger tree). Use the internet to find pictures of different vegetables growing. See if you were right.

Use some of the vegetables to enjoy some printing with paint – cut up a carrot, potato or use broccoli as a brush. Allow your child to freely explore the patterns and shapes that can be made by using the vegetables to  pots, carrots etc


Tuesday 19th

Use the Enormous Turnip story to support counting – can they pause and count how many people are helping to pull the turnip each time in the pictures? Draw a simple picture of the turnip being pulled at each stage of the story or re-enact the story with all your family members or teddies – and then encourage your child to touch and count the people/toys, then suggest the number which should be recorded with the number spoken. Can your child use a Number mat 1-10 to have a go at copying the number correctly onto the picture?

Collect a variety of objects of different sizes from around the house which are safe for the children to explore and move around on the floor. As them if they can sort them into order of size from smallest to largest. Your child might also want to suggest other ways of sorting these items – according to how heavy they feel etc.




Using the play dough that you have made – encourage your child to make different sized balls. Encourage them to explore what they can do with the dough by asking them to roll balls, roll worms, poke fingers in, squeeze in hand. Repeat dough disco from the previous session below.




Monday 18th

This week we will be enjoying the story of the Enormous Turnip.

Spend time listening to the version of the story with Mrs Alford and enjoy the ‘sing-song’ repetitive nature of the parts – ‘they pulled and they pulled and they pulled, but the turnip would not budge.’ This will help your child to get used to the story language.

Listen to a similar version of the Enormous Turnip by clicking on this link. Listening to this over and over during the course of the week will support your child further. Following the picture map will allow them to see what part is coming next in the story.

Eating warming food, including hot chocolate with marshmallows or winter soup is one way of keeping warm when it is cold outside. Explore making hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows or follow a simple soup recipe to follow the instructions of how to make it. Talk about the ingredients you  are using (chocolate powder, milk, cream, carrots, onions), the words to describe the methods you use (stir, peel, mix, boil) and also discuss the aspects of safety they must consider in using the tools or making the item.

Talking time: Gather together as many different vegetables that you have at home. Can your child name them? Have they any experience of the vegetable before? Have they eaten it? Do they like? Would they like to ask any questions about it?

Allow your child to speak freely to share their thoughts about each vegetable. Encourage them to compare different vegetables, stating what might be similar or different. Encourage them to speak in full sentences and to connect thoughts and extend what they say by using ‘because’ and ‘and’. For example “I know this is a carrot because I know they are orange and look like fingers.” 

Song of the Week is: Pat a cake (click for song sheet)

Week beginning 11th January


Alternative – no cook and no cream of tartar play dough recipe This recipe can be made with your child – allow them to get messy and enjoy the making as much as the playing.


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cold water (pour in slowly as much as is required, keep checking so it doesn’t get too sticky)
  • 2 drops liquid food colouring


  1. Combine plain flour and salt.
  2. Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix until ingredients are combined.
    No cook playdough
  3. Knead well.
    No cook playdough
  4. If consistency is too wet add a little plain flour.
Winter-home-learning-challenge-sheet for you to explore some other activities with your child around winter.


Continue to build on your child’s counting skills through playing the ‘Underwater Counting‘ game. Similar to the Gingerbread game, this game can be selected at 1-5 firstly, then 1-10 if your child is confident.




Explore the Get Epic website via the link sent to all parents email addresses – currently only 3 families have access this website – I would love it if all children had accessed the books on this site by the end of today :-).

I have assigned your child many books and a few videos which are most appropriate for you and your child to enjoy. I have selected videos and songs which link to our focus on penguins and will allow your child to explore and find out more about them. I have also assigned books about colours, animals, counting and opposites (to name a few). Many of these are very simple and repetitive text, but are the most effective for developing young children’s vocabulary by reading them over and over again, until the child feels secure in the use of the words for themselves.


Try some transient art with your child – this is an art activity which involves any loose items that you have to hand:

  • in summer, using colourful petals, shells, coloured buttons, but as winter approaches, staff will change these to different-coloured leaves, conkers, pinecones, acorns and twigs to reflect the changing seasons.
  • at home resources – consider buttons, ribbons, hair bobbles, dry pasta, dried peas/lentils, beads, glass beads, plastic shapes

To encourage your child in making some art with these resources, place out a plain bed sheet as a blank canvas for them to create their art on. You could provide a circle of paper with some lines drawn on it to guide them in placing the items along the lines, in the segments etc – considering using patterns of items etc.


Enjoy a different story about penguins. I have used the website ‘Get Epic’ to assign the story, The Chilly Penguin, to your child. I am not sure how this works as it is new to me, but please respond to the Get Epic email you receive and see if you can enjoy the story together at home. I would appreciate any feedback on how successful (or not) this is – please feel free to email me directly about it. 🙂

Discuss with your child the different ways that the penguins in the story tries to get warm (scarf, fire, ice skating, a hug) – can they remember them? Enjoy some role-play with your child encouraging them to pretend to be chilly trying to get warm – can they get props to help them in their play? E.g. get a scarf, make a pretend fire with cushions piled high or pretending to ice skate by sliding on a slippy surface in the house. Can your child suggest any other ways that The Chilly Penguin could try? What do we do to warm ourselves up?

Ask your child to draw a picture of their favourite idea of how to get warm. This can be a picture of The Chilly Penguin or themselves getting warm. You could also encourage your child to write a list of the items they might need or label the picture with ‘writing’ to explain the picture.

Use the play dough that you made this week to enjoy joining in with a dough gym video.


Use any recycled materials you may have at home to create 5 little penguins – toilet rolls can be coloured or painted, fill a bottle with cotton wool or wrap in paper or a box can be decorated. Encourage your child to look carefully at the colours of a penguin and see if they can use the appropriate colours.


Watch the ‘Spy in the Huddle‘ video which shows a penguin laying an egg and keeping it off the ice by holding it on its feet. Look at how the penguins waddle to move around. Encourage your child to move in different ways – waddle like a penguin, place a small toy on their feet to carry like an egg. To develop this game, you can also explore how other animals move -snake (slide on tummy), giraffe (stretch tall), crocodile (on all fours), crab (sideways) etc.

Listen to the story of the week ‘5 Little Penguins’ and encourage your child to touch and count the penguins on each page.


This week we turn our attention to penguins, through the wonderful counting story ‘5 Little Penguins’. Enjoy the story with your child and encourage them to count and say the counting numbers as we read the story.

This story introduces the children to numbers counting backwards from 5 to 1. Other songs which encourage and develop this skills are: 5 Little Speckled Frogs, 5/10 in a bed, 5 Little Ducks, 10 Green bottles etc. Singing songs which count down, saying the numbers in a backwards is a great way to begin your child’s journey off in counting down. Other ways you can encourage them is when waiting to do something, count down 3, 2, 1 before they go. Eventually this can be extended to counting down from 5. Children love this as a game, pretending to be a rocket, and being able to ‘take off’ when we get down to ‘Blast off’ which comes after 1.

Make home-made playdough

Make play dough with your child. This is simple to do and my favourite recipe is:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, corn, sunflower or even baby oil  – this smells good!)
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • Food colouring or flavouring (to make it smell good) as desired


  1. Off the heat, mix all the dry ingredients in a pan and add the liquid (including food colouring and any essence), stirring until it is a smooth paste (no lumps of flour).
  2. Heat over a low heat in the saucepan. Stir this mixture constantly as it is heating, so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. You will notice parts of the mixture nearest the heat becoming more solid and other parts remaining paste, keep stirring and mixing to allow all parts to gain the heat from the bottom of the pan. It will gradually become very stiff and hard to stir, but keep going until it begins to come away easily from the sides.
  3. Tip the ‘dough’ out onto flour on the work surface. Be careful – DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD TOUCH IT AS IT WILL BE VERY HOT. Allow it to cool slightly, and continue to mix my folding and working the dough with your hands – to get rid of any sticky bits.

If it is too sticky, you may not have stirred it for long enough – may need to return it to the pan. If is is just a little sticky, sprinkle flour onto it and work it in until the dough is smooth and does not stick to your hands.

Store this dough in an airtight container (margarine tip, chinese takeaway container or plastic food pot) – this will allow you to use it over and over again. It should last (if put into the airtight container every time when finished) for a good few weeks.

Easily washes out of cloths, carpets and anything else as it is water based. To clean the pan, just add water and leave it to soak – the dough will come away easily after soaking for some time.

(Although there are many ways of making play dough, which don’t use cream of tartar – this can now be hard to find in the shops.)

Play with play dough

Use the playdough to engage your child in developing their fine motor skills. Roll, pinch, squeeze, push and poke are all good activities to gain finger strength. You can also encourage your child to make a number of rolled ‘sausages’ or rolled ‘balls’ for a given amount that you ask for. Making complicated 3D animals is a little too difficult for 3 year olds at this stage, however, you could show them how to make a simple ‘Penguin’ shape and then use them to say the 5 Little Penguin story, letting your child take a penguin away from the group each time.

Will it slide?
This is a perfect activity for little ones to begin to learn about friction. They can have a lot of fun guessing and testing which items will slide on the ice and which ones will not. Here’s what you need:
  • Baking Sheet (fill with water and freeze over night)
  • Test Items (play penguin, felt piece, rock, milk lid, cotton ball, paper clip, button)
  • ‘Will It Slide?’ Printable (Will It Slide ?)
  • Felt pen/bingo dot marker
1) Fill a baking sheet with water and place it in the freezer over night.
2) Gather all your items. Go through each item and have your child guess which items with slide or not. Use a felt pen/dot marker to choose yes or no on the worksheet. Prop the baking sheet up with a bowl and test the items! Explore which items slide easily and which ones don’t. Can you child have e go at explaining what they think certain items don’t slide so well.

Have fun 🙂


Using smarties, biscuits or chocolate buttons – make your own version of the Gingerbread Game – place out up to 5 items, and ask your child to touch and count each one to say how many there are altogether?

With your child practice drawing some shapes to represent each smartie, biscuit or chocolate button – then touch and count, saying one number for each item. Remind your child that the last number which is spoken, is how many there are in the whole group. Use a number mat, ask your child to have a go at writing the numeral that shows how many.

Enjoy the story – ‘Say hello to the snowy animals’ – can the children choose some of their own cuddly toys to make up their own version of this story, using the same language “Say hello to cow” “Moo, moo, moo” etc.

Enjoy singing The Wheels on the Bus with your child. This is our song of the week.


Look at the animals in the story ‘Say hello to the snowy animals” – can your child say what each is called? Talk with them about what their body is covered with? Fur or feathers? Do they live on the land (ice) or in the water?

Ask them to draw a picture of one of the animals which is their favourite. Can they tell you why they like it? What sound does it make? Does it have fur or feathers? Can they say what the first sound is for the animal they have chosen e.g. p p p puffin?

Support your child with developing their counting skills through playing the gingerbread game through this link. Please choose the heading ‘Counting’ then under ‘How Many’ Select ‘1-5’ We are trying to ensure that children can securely touch and count each button so encourage them to touch each button on the screen. They will firstly for 1- 5 buttons. It is unlikely that all children will recognise the numerals of 1-5 instantly. To help them work out which number is the answer they want in the side column, encourage your child to start at the top each time and count down the line of numerals 1, 2, 3, etc until they get to the number they want.  When your child is fully secure with this (and is beginning to recognise numerals 1-5 instantly), they could try counting 1-10 buttons.

Explore ice with your child. Tip some ice cubes onto a plate or tray. Can they discuss what is happening? Let your child explore melting the ice in different ways. All children love water play – so see if the ice cube floats or sinks, then let you child use a variety of containers, spoons etc to play in the sink or a bowl of water.


Start your exploration of animals from Polar regions by enjoying the story with Mrs Alford – “Say Hello to the Snowy Animals”

This book features a husky, polar bear, puffin, arctic hare, seal, caribou (reindeer), orca whale and a snowy owl saying hello in a land of snow and ice.

Say Hello to the Snowy Animals – story read by Mrs Alford 

As the weather is cold at the moment, take this opportunity to get outdoors for a wintery walk.

Explore what the weather feels like at the moment and how they feel when they go outside  – look for features that tell you it is cold (frozen cobwebs, frost on the ground, clouds of hot breath as you speak etc.) Let them know we are in the season of ‘Winter’ when the weather gets very cold where we live. In some places, they have ice and snow all year round because it is cold enough all the time.

Get ready to go on a wintery walk together. Before going out, discuss and plan what they think they will need to put on to keep themselves warm.

Compare what they put on, to what they notice the animals have in the story, which keep them warm (thick fur, feathers, body fat).

Once you have returned from your walk. Allow your child to enjoy some role play by providing lots of different coats, hats, gloves and scarves – let them pretend that they are getting ready to go on a very snowy expedition. How many hats, scarves etc can they get on? Use this as an opportunity to practice counting of each item with them.


Further related challenges and activities can be found by clicking on this link.