Five Activities You Can Do This ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’
Five Activities You Can Do This ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’
It’s No Pens Day Wednesday! That means that for one whole day you must put your pens down and think of new and innovative ways to communicate. The Communication Trust has created the perfect day to encourage children up and down the country to focus on improving their speaking and listening skills. There are plenty of fun activities which you can take part in this year; the aim is to promote an accessible school environment for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. Therefore we have come up with our Top Five No Pens Day Wednesday Ideas, to give you some inspiration!
Put on a Show!
In order for children to enhance their speaking and listening skills, they must engage in some form of performance. Performance at a young age is a great way to build confidence and encourage children to engage in public speaking. Significantly, these are skills which they’ll carry throughout their education and into adult life.
Remember, performance for younger children needn’t be daunting; it’s easy to create a fun and enjoyable experience which builds a multitude of skills. Within a performance area, encourage groups of children to re-enact a story. Select a short story, for example ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and have the other members of the class guess which story they are trying to portray, this will also help to build listening skills. A great all round activity for younger primary school children, and with absolutely no pens!
Children love playing with interesting new materials, and they especially enjoy partaking in messy play. However making mud pies is not just fun; it is also highly beneficial! Surprised? Children who cook, even mud pies, will have to follow a set of instructions, a ‘recipe’ of sorts. This will then familiarise them with a style of writing in which communication is key. Furthermore, it allows children to flex their imaginative skills.
For this activity, teachers should pre-prepare a selection of mud pie recipes. These should be suitable for children to read to one another, taking it in turns to give and act out the instructions. Teachers should then praise them for following the recipe closely. Remember, a designated messy area or ‘Mud Kitchen‘ will help you to keep this activity in check!
You might have plenty of speaking and listening activities ready for interactive lessons: perhaps poetry, or presentations. However the temptation when you’re in the classroom is to fall back on pens and pencils. It might therefore be a good idea to take your No Pens Day Wednesday ideas outside.
Taking lessons outside can encourage children to engage more in lessons. That’s because it gives everyone a break from the traditional classroom situation which some children find intimidating. Children will also be more likely to interact with different people as they are removed from their usual setting. This then encourages them to interact with new people thus improving their communication skills. It’s about taking the academic pressure off whilst pushing pupils just a little bit further from their “communication comfort zone”.
At Hand Made Places we are passionate about combining play with learning. We have a range of playground equipment specifically designed to expand and improve skill sets in children. Play is beneficial for children because it broadens our approach to learning. However, removing pens from the equation means you need to think about play which will help to improve skills, rather than simple running or skipping activities.
An example of a great piece of equipment which can help to improve skill sets is our Finger Maze. We produce these in seven different themes; each of them helps to improve maths and science alongside those all important communication skills which are key to No Pens Day Wednesday ideas. Pupils will need to find their way through the maze, which has different sensory objects. To do this, they’ll need to communicate with other children as well employ clever calculation and logic. It presents a challenge with a quick ‘win’ making this activity particularly engaging and fun.
Story time usually only takes up a small portion of the school day – maybe one or two pages before lunch or a few before home time. However, here at Hand Made Places we believe that story time should become a main focus at least just for one day. As well as all the benefits, it’s also lots of fun for children. That’s because, not only do we believe that story time should be extended, we also believe that it should be interactive.
Having a Story Circle, or special area of the playground dedicated entirely to story time you can create a completely interactive area where children can engage with the tales they hear. A Storyteller’s Chair at the centre of the area will encourage children to gather round and listen carefully. With illustrations, props and play sculptures it becomes easier to visualise the characters in the story. Why not use animal totems in an extra activity once the story is over? You can ask children to stand behind the sculpture of any animal which was featured in the story. Just to see if they were paying attention!
Use our No Pens Day Wednesday ideas throughout the year!
No Pens Day Wednesday was set up by the Communication Trust to get more children engaging in speaking and listening activities. This will result in an improvement in their communication skills. However, the aim has always been to show what you can do all year round so don’t restrict yourself to just one day of activities!
At Hand Made Places we encourage social interaction in children; we believe that the work carried out by The Communication Trust will aid child development, thus allowing more pupils to progress smoothly into both secondary school and adulthood.