Circle of life

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By Sally Grayearly years teacher and writer

Find out how different forms of life evolve with these simple life cycle activity ideas

boy holding frog

Life cycles

Make a collection of books, posters, games and resources linked to life cycles, and set them up on an interest table for the children to explore freely. Over the course of a few days, draw their attention to different things and talk together about life cycles. Focus on one or two easy-to-understand and colourful examples of a life cycle, such as from frogspawn to frogs, seeds to flowers and caterpillars to butterflies.

Use movement and music sessions to increase the children’s understanding of how life cycles work. For example, ask the children to snuggle up in a small ball as an egg, then emerge as a wiggly caterpillar, before wrapping themselves up tightly in a cocoon, and then flying free as a beautiful butterfly. Encourage the children to show their ideas for other life cycles, such as from wiggly tadpole to hopping frog or from tiny seed to giant sunflower plant.

Suggested resources

Large clear space; gentle, classical music such as Grieg’s ‘Morning’ (Peer Gynt); children’s cassette or CD player.

1 A frog’s life

Learn about the life cycle of a frog

Communication, Language and Literacy

Language for Thinking

Development matters: use talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next (30-50 months); begin to make patterns in their experience through linking cause and effect, sequencing, ordering and grouping (40-60+ months).

Early learning goal: use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events.

What you need

Group size: small groups. Nets; buckets; magnifying glasses (optional); camera; ‘Life cycle of a frog’ activity sheet; card circles; child scissors; glue sticks; pencils.

What to do

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