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Benefits of playing with nature

It is so important for our children to put down their devices, step away from the television screen and learn through exploring the world around them. This week the children in F1 have been doing just that! During the holidays the children and their teachers collected leaves, pine cones, flowers, twigs, shells and more from the natural environments around them. Since arriving back at school we have been putting these resources to good use in the classroom and here's why!

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Natural resources stimulate a child’s natural sense of creativity, imagination and promote curiosity. These objects can be used for open ended play that provides children with rich learning experiences. This week the children have been using leaves and flowers to; make faces, cook, share in games and make gardens using playdough.

Natural resources have a sensory benefit. Each natural object has its own texture, smell, size and colour. Exploring sensory objects promotes children’s curiosity, helps them to make sense of the world around them and develops their vocabulary. This week we added to the sensory experience by freezing flowers in water. The children had to use their problem solving skills to work out how and why the ice was melting and revealing the flowers.

Through the use of natural resources in the classroom we can teach the children about their environment and how to take care of it. It is important that they are aware that plants are living things that need water, food and air to live just like us. This week the children have been learning what happens to a seed when it has been planted and where our food comes from. We are encouraging the children to show respect for their world and the places that they play.

Natural resources are all around us and are often free! Children can learn just as much about counting from using pebbles or leaves as they can from using shop brought counters. They can write in the sand with a stick just as easily as using a pen on paper. Being outdoors is like being in a classroom with no roof, there are learning opportunities every way you turn.

Our children have enjoyed exploring nature so much this week that we will be continuing to provide these activities throughout Term 3. If you are ever in a park or garden and discover an interesting leaf or stick we would love for you to bring it into school for your child to share with their friends.

Ms Hayley, F1 class teacher and EYFS Leader

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