We’ve been watching our new favourite episode of Thomas and Friends on a daily basis recently. Whilst not a fan of tv, I find it does have a purpose when used creatively as we do. The children love Splish Splash Splosh where Thomas gets upto mischief splashing into puddles, and they’re becoming so familiar with the story that they can tell you who gets wet next and watch for my reaction when Thomas gives Sir Topham Hatt a soaking! Once the recording is over, everyone is more than happy to switch the tv off for the day and get on with some other activites.
I always watch the programme with the children and talk about what is happening and we’ve extended the story through our other activities. It struck me that when Emily’s flour truck was ruined by the water, the children wouldn’t have a clue what the white stuff was. So we emptied a bag into our messy tray in the garden and added some trucks – diggers moved flour around and jeeps left their tyre tracks behind them. We went back out another day and added some water to the flour to make our own splashes and find out what happened…we ended up with a sticky doughy mess, wheels that wouldn’t move and messy clothes (sorry parents!). After a few days, we found that the flour went hard and got out a tray of soapy water to create a car wash – the water went cloudy white and didn’t really get anything clean but we had lots more fun 🙂
James’s flatbed was full of strawberries and got all muddy on tv, so we took a trip to Essington Fruit Farm and went strawberry picking. We mixed a handful of cocoa pops with milk to make our own mud and dropped the strawberries in when we got home. For our small world play, we got some polystyrene blocks out which inspired sheds, bridges and tunnels for our trains.
Of course, we had to put on our wellies too and splish splash sploshed in rain puddles and a brook at the Wolsley Centre. We even went pond dipping at Fradley Junction nature park!
So next time you put the tv on for the kids, sit down and watch it with them, switch it off and talk about the story when it’s finished and then see what you can do to extend their understanding of the events that have occured. What a positive way to improve communication through the tv we’re surrounded by. Don’t forget to choose a programme that follows the children’s interests and don’t use it as a babysitting tool!