Matchsticks and story stones
I am a big fan of open ended toys, toys that allow a child to respond in a myriad of spontaneous, unstructured ways. Fortunately these resources don’t have to be expensive. In fact, a collection of everyday bits and bobs can provide preschoolers with hours of creative and imaginative play.
A Fairy Birthday Party ~ Part 1
And I guarantee you, a child who has free and regular access to these types of ‘toys’ will adapt them within their play in ways your adult mind would never imagine.
A Fairy Birthday Party ~ Part 2
Can you spot the sparkly party decorations hanging in the party above? They are sticky tape and large sequins which Immy needed a little help to assemble but it was all her idea.
Taking it outdoors. An invitation to the fairies to come and play in our garden.
Creative and divergent thinking and problem solving are important skills of the future and ‘teaching’ children these skills can easily begin with the ‘lesson’ that it is okay to use materials in new ways and in different spaces . It frustrates me, especially in educational settings, when children are denied the opportunity to play with resources in new ways just because. “No Tom, we do not take the blocks into the home corner.” If Tom is playing purposefully with the blocks, why should he not use them in the home corner? Especially if he has been made aware of the expectation that when he is finished he will put the blocks back so that the other members of his class know where to find them to use in their own play.
Stepping stones, a feather maze and a shell jumping game all feature in this arrangement
Our collection of bits and bobs varies over time, depending upon what I may have found in the discount stores and what we may have recently recruited for art projects.
You might like to try;
- Sparkly things – large sequins, shiny fairy stones, large beads
- Popsticks and matchsticks
- Pretend flowers and leaves
- Small tiles
- Cotton reels
- Pipe cleaners
- Old CDs
- Small sticks
- Gum nuts or seed pods
- Coloured lids
- Dolly pegs
By keeping our supplies in clear, plastic containers, it is easy for Immy to find what she needs and to pack them away when finished so they can be used over and over again. Keep as few or as many containers of bits out as you feel your child (and your sanity) can manage. It can be a good idea to just start with one or two components, adding to them over time as your child becomes familiar with packing them away.
We keep most of our bits and bobs with the collage materials in the drawers of our art space. Immy brings out containers as she needs them and uses them on the mat area in front the shelves that house her imaginary play resources.
With her tree house, wooden blocks, tree blocks, figurines (animals, dinosaurs, fairies and princesses) and coloured scarves also in the space, creative and imaginary play are never far away!
Do you encourage your children to use materials in new and different ways?
- Early Learning: Following a Child’s Lead
- Let Go and Let Them Learn
- Managing Play With Children of Different Ages