Early Years and Explorify
Calling all Early Years teachers! Explorify now has a wide range of activities designed especially for 3 – 5 year olds.
“Big ideas start with the littlest of people”, says Explorify user and nursery teacher, Lisa Killelay
Explorify now has a wide range of activities designed especially for 3 – 5-year-olds. After detailed consultation with a group of Early Years teachers, Explorify now has an extensive collection of four activity types to get your Early Years children talking and thinking scientifically. Three of these - Zoom In Zoom Out, Listen What Can You Hear, and What's Going On - will be familiar to Explorify users. There is one new exciting addition - What Just Happened?
1. Zoom In, Zoom Out
Zoom In Zoom Outs encourage children to take a closer look at familiar objects.
Zoom In Zoom Out is a firm favourite with all children. Focusing first on a zoomed in part of an image, and then gradually zooming out to the whole image, children love guessing what it is. “Explorify really allows children to use their critical thinking skills. I love to ask the children why they think something may be z, y or z”, says Lisa Killelay a Selly Oak Nursery teacher. Many of the Early Years Zoom In Zoom Outs are familiar objects from an Early Years setting like a sandpit and a tricycle, but there are also a range of animals, big and small, as well as seasonal flowers.
With some animals there are two versions starting with a different zoomed in part of the body. This was suggested by our team of Early Years teachers who thought the children would enjoy revisiting an animal from a different angle. How quickly will children identify the animal?
2. Listen What Can You Hear?
Three familiar sounds for children to identify.
With the emphasis on listening to identify initial sounds in Early Years, there is a set of Listen What Can You Hear? activities. The children listen to three familiar sounds and then discuss with a partner what they are, before the images of the three sounds are revealed. What are the clues? Why do they think that? Can they make the sound themselves?
3. What's Going On?
Short videos get young children explaining their thinking.
There is also a special set of What’s Going On?s. These are short video clips that are designed to get children talking and asking questions. Some are filmed in an Early Years setting and will be very familiar to the children – floating and sinking, shadows and bubbles. What questions do they have when they watch other children playing? What will they want to explore when they play in that area next? Other activities show animals that the children should be able to go and find either in their setting or nearby. For example, magpies and slugs feeding, or water birds like ducks and moorhens. There is also a video showing different examples of melting, and even cleaning on the International Space Station.
4. What Just Happened?
Brand new activity type specially for Early Years!
As well as the three familiar activity types, Explorify has developed a new activity type for Early Years, What Just Happened? These focus on a change over time and get the children talking and wondering about what happened. They include the life cycles of some plants and animals, like a chicken, a frog and an apple tree but also a snowman melting.
Support for ECTs and teachers new to Explorify
All the activities can be done with a group of children or whole class depending on what works for the teacher. Each activity has the familiar format of information for teachers in the background science and suggestions for how to take it further. These give teachers lots of ideas about follow-up activities reflecting the different aspects of Early Years settings with optional questions for the adults involved in supporting children’s play, as well as storybook ideas.
Take it further
Outdoors on a rainy day
Learn: to explore puddles
You need: welly boots, puddles, junk like plastic or metal containers
Play, observe & ask
- Can you jump over the puddle?
- Can you build a stone castle in the middle and make a boat to protect it?
- Do you think this puddle will be here tomorrow?
You could draw a chalk line around the puddle with the children and see if it the same size the next day.
Creative on a rainy day
Encourage the children to draw pictures on kitchen towel using water-soluble pens and then hang them up in the rain. Later you can bring them in and dry them.
Learn: how water mixes with water-soluble ink
You need: kitchen towel, water-soluble pens, washing line and washing pegs
Play, observe & ask
- What has happened to our pictures?
- What happens if we just put some dots on a piece of kitchen paper?
- What happens if we use this permanent pen?
Each activity has ideas about how the teacher can develop it in their own setting.
Use key words to find an activity.
You can easily find the activities by using the new category in the age group filter and then key word searching in the right-hand box. All the activities are organised into the following topics:
- habitats (biodiversity, environment)
- changing materials
- forces (movement)
- food (fruit)
- life cycles
- light (shadows, rainbow)
- seasons (weather)
- sound (sounds)
List of 'topic' keywords
You can view and download a full list of our Early Years activities here.
Please make sure your Early Years team knows about these resources and encourage them to sign-up to Explorify if they don’t already have an account. The Explorify team is keen to have your feedback on how your young learners respond to our new activities. Do let us know what you think by contacting us on Explorify@stem.org.uk.