Bearhugs Nurseries Ltd


Supporting your 'cubs' on the road to success

Let's get messy!

Here at Bearhugs, the children have enjoyed sharing some arts and crafts activities during our Parent/Carer sessions.


The baby room had fun exploring ‘Gloop’; Little Bears followed on their Autumn theme by making pictures with painted hand prints; and Big Bears…


These activities are what we do with our children on a weekly basis and something that can be easily created at home too.  Below, we explore the benefits of arts and crafts with children aged 0-3 and how important these activities are for every child’s development; after all having strong early years foundations will benefit every child’s success at school and future learning!


Our favourite arts and and craft activities in the Early Years are:












This activity is not all about paint brushes, paper and MESS!  It is about developing your child’s creativitiy; to develop their skills to be open minded and to express themselves in a variety of ways. Also, it instils confidence and pleasure when they reep the benefits of your praise when they see your reactions to their masterpeices.


Why not have a go at some of these activities:

•Marble painting (place a piece of paper in a tray, squirt a little paint and add a marble.  Have your child move the tray around as the marble creates a variety of marks)

•Painting with water outside using DIY brushes (no mess but same benefits)

•Painting directly onto objects such as pumpkins as an alternative to paper

•Pushing cars through paint




Playdough is the best way to develop the muscles in your child’s hands.  Developing hand muscles is important for children so they can have their own independence to use utensils when eating or for simple things like brushing their teeth.  Ultimately though, developing hand muscles is an essential part of handwriting!  There is a large amount of research, that suggests children who struggle with letter formation and handwriting have not been able to develop the essential hand muscles at a young age.  By allowing your child to dig, poke, mould, shape, roll, pinch, stamp and push playdough at an early age, will give them the strong foundation they need for school later on.  Playing with dough encourages children to learn through their senses and provides them with opportunities to see, touch and smell interesting things which helps them to understand the world around them. Making your own play dough allows you to customise your recipe to add in all sorts of different colours, flavours and textures. It is cheap, suitable for all ages, and there is no right or wrong way!

Messy tray activities

Exploring different textures in a tray is a fun way of experimenting, but also a way of learning new words such as soft, hard, slimy, cold.  It can be soothing for a child as they immerse themselves in the awe and wonder of something new.  It is imaginative and open ended which means they can do exactly what they want with the materials as opposed to something telling them what they should do i.e. ipad game.


It goes without saying that these activities can be messy and we understand how you may feel hesitant with having to spend time to clean up after, so we would like to offer you some suggestions on how you can still help develop your child’s skills at home, but with alternative methods that will not create as much mess as you would think.


Have you tried these activities in the:




•cement mixer tray


or  how about:


•Using a plastic table cloth on the lawn.  (A good place to get plastic messy mats are from The Range.  They are on a roll where you can choose how many metres you would like.  Their prices are very cheap!)


Like all nursery provisions we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, which sets a basis for children’s learning and development from birth to five years and supports them in their first reception year at school. In addition to this we use the 'Early Years Outcomes' to further guide practitioners and ensure children are developing and progressing well.


Please click on the link below to read the parents guide to the EYFS.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

Ideas for Home...

What are the early years outcomes?


Here at Bearhugs we use a document called the ‘Early Years Outcomes’ to help keep a check of each child’s progress. This can be used from birth right through to the end of reception year in school!

The outcomes cover the three prime areas of development-

-Communication and Language

-Personal, Social and Emotional development

-Physical development

And the four specific areas of learning-

-Mathematical development


-Understanding the world

-Expressive arts and design


For each area the outcomes have specific age brackets and a brief example for each age and stage. The ages and stages are broken down as-

Birth to 11 months/ 8- 20 months/ 16- 26 months/ 22-36 months/ 30-50 months/ 40-60+ months/ Early learning goals (Used primarily in Reception class).


How will I know how my child is doing?

Every term Tina will send out an ‘age and stage’ sheet. This details an age bracket that your key person currently thinks your child is confidently achieving. This is not a test, this helps us to ensure our little people continue to make good progress, as well as helping us to further guide and tailor their learning. The ‘age and stage’ also doesn’t mean that they can’t do anything in the higher brackets, this is a ‘best fit’ based on what our little people are confidently achieving in the here and now.


What can I do to help?

We also know that at home children can often do even more than they do at nursery, so this is where you come in! Any pictures, notes or messages that you send in are so incredibly helpful, they help us build our jigsaw…. Every time your child does something that makes you go WOW- we want to know! Whether you jot it down on a piece of paper or email it, we can then use this in their learning journey to build an even better picture.

We are also going to introduce monthly ‘What I did in September’ sheets… we would love it if you can put any wow moments down on here too…. Whether they’ve sung a song for the first time at home, said ‘mumma’ or ‘dadda’, taken their first steps, recognised a number on a sign or mastered their new balance bike- we want to know!


What if I’m worried about my child or not sure the age and stage is right?

If you have any concerns about anything talk to us! We have parents evenings at least twice a year but we can always make time for you to have extra chats with your key person- just let the office know a little in advance and we can arrange cover either at the start or end of your child’s session for a quick chat.


Our initial age and stage seems lower than we would expect?

Firstly, don’t panic… this is often the case when our little people first start, and can often happen when they move rooms too. When children are going through the settling process it often takes a few weeks for us to get to know them fully and really see what they can do. It’s a lot like starting a new job, we often take a little while to find our stride! At their next assessment we will be able to make an even clearer assessment, but in the mean time if you’re worried or we’re worried we’ll let you know!


What next…

I have attached the early years outcomes document for you to have a look at and watch out for our  ‘What I did in… ’ sheets, and keep sending us your wow moments!





Early Years Outcomes and Age and Stage