24 Jun, 2020

6th Keep calm, keep moving newsletter !

We hope you have enjoyed the series and that they gave you some ideas for fun activities during this challenging time.

We will return to our normal newsletter format in due course. This week we will be using a selection of plastic water bottles for our activities – and Jeannie will be telling us about the newt in her garden pond.


What you need

A selection of plastic water bottles – include a range of sizes and colours – and different labels.

What to do

  • Encourage children to collect water bottles and place in a container so they may be used at any time
  • Decide if you want to keep the tops on – or off – put the tops in a separate container if so
  • Ask children to put all the large bottles in one group – and the small ones in another – discuss if there are other ways they could be grouped eg. by colour or labels
  • Invite children to place all the large bottles in a long line – ‘nose-to-tail’ along the floor – do the same with the small bottles
  • Now make two separate circles with the large and small bottles – can you put the smaller circle insidethe larger one?
  • Invite children to jump or hop into the circle – then step out – repeat until they are a bit puffed! Ask them to try landing with their hands touching the floor
  • Now ask children to line up the large and small bottles upright along the base of a wall – encourage them to make their own patterns/sequences – they may also want to place some of them horizontally
  • Ask children to choose a bottle and explore making different sounds – eg. use both hands to gently roll the bottle on the floor – press down hard – hold the bottle in one hand and tap lightly on the floor and then on  different  surfaces in the environment – rub  the bottle between both hands – tap the bottle with the nails of one hand – blow softly across the top
  • Source a range of small materials that may be put into the bottles to make different sounds eg. paper clips – rice – lentils – beans – marbles

What’s in it for children

Bottles are a familiar and easily accessible resource for children to engage with and a wide range of opportunities are presented for them to be active. They can practice many fine-motor/manipulative skills and large movements including jumping and stretching .

Taking it forwards

  • Invite children to make more complex shapes and patterns with the bottles eg. stars , vehicles, houses
  • You can extend the sound ideas and fill the bottles with more interesting materials – put the tops on and use as musical instruments

Jeannie has some interesting news from her garden!

I have a female newt in my pond – who I call Sir Isaac Newton – ‘Newton’ for short. She comes to visit my pond every year between April and September.

‘Newton’ comes to lay her eggs and nurture them until they hatch. Luckily there is lots of food around for her to eat that includes lesser boat-men, water nymphs and water fleas.

If you have never seen a newt – they are usually coloured green or brown. Male newts have a wavy crest that runs from the back of the head to the tip of the tail – my newt is female so she doesn’t have one.

I often see ‘Newton’ dashing around the bottom of the pond or swimming slowly through the weed. Sometimes in the early morning when the pond is cool, I see her playing with the other newts – it looks just like a game of tag! They all move brilliantly in the water as their tails are flat and they can use them really effectively as a paddle to go very fast or slow.

Adult newts spend a lot of time on land – but baby newts like to stay mostly in the pond – only leaving the water and heading for the shade when it gets too hot for them – being amphibian they are just as happy on land as in water.

In my garden I have lots of sunlight but have made shady areas so ferns and plants like hostas can flourish. Its also vital that ‘Newton’ has safe and cool spaces where she can retreat to.


  • See if you can find a picture of a newt – either on-line or in a book. Now trace the outline and colour in your picture
  • What other animals visit garden ponds – and why?



Not really a recommendation – but have a look anyway.

Oti Mabuse from ‘Strictly’ has created a series of dance videos – supposedly for toddlers called ‘Oti’s Boogie Beebies.’

She is such a wonderfully engaging personality – and obviously a born teacher – but we would seriously question the suitability of the material for this age group. Physically competent and confident five to seven year olds would love it – and so would their parents. ‘Make some space for our dance to take place’ is a fantastic concept – just not for children who may be only just on their feet!!

Some excellent ideas in this new book by Daisy Upton. Daisy has a wealth of EY experience to draw on and promotes using easily accessible materials that children may source and engage with independently.

‘Five Minute Mum: Give Me Five: Five minute, easy, fun games for busy people to do with little kids.’

Published by Penguin – Price £14.99

Please take best care – and remember we are always here to give any advice or support on all things physical! The ‘activematters’ team.