Creating a rainbow world for Thomas and his friends. This has been their independent building project for the last few days. They have been so absorbed they have played every waking moment, other than meal times.


  • Thomas trains
  • Brio train set
  • Grimm’s rainbow
  • Grimm’s fire
  • Grimm’s water wave
  • Grimm’s stacking bowls
  • Grimm’s mushrooms
  • Grapat loose parts
  • Blue scarf
  • Pebbles


They started off both working on the tuff tray before school. Then later on Finn decided he wanted to build his own Thomas land, complete with magnatile tunnels and towers.

These faces say it all. They love the entire process of open ended play, from coming up with an idea, to executing it and then playing tirelessly with it.

As always, their characters talked through what they were doing as they played.

Finn invited me to come and see his Thomas land. His explanations usually involve animated demonstrations.

Ioan’s train was in a rush to unload cargo from the boats in the dock yard.

Last night, Finn excitedly extended his Thomas land. Meanwhile, Ioan decided to write about what was happening in his Thomas world, using some ‘ar’, ‘ur’ and ‘or’ sounds he’s been learning about at school.

Ioan used his phonics and segmented the words into phonemes (the smallest units of sound in a word) and worked out which graphemes (written symbols that represent the grapheme/sound) he needed to write to make each word.

The graphemes can be represented by a single letter, or a sequence of letters. He wrote what he thought, e.g. Steam Works, he wrote as ‘St-ee-m w-er-k-s’. He picked the wrong digraph (two letter grapheme) for steam and works, but as he chose to write this independently, I happily let him write what he thought.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Personal, social and emotional development

ELG 06 – Self-confidence and self-awareness:

Children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.


ELG 10 – Writing:

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.