The biggest idea that I have taken away from this module is to go with my instinct and use found, simple materials that stimulate learning, creativity and spark imagination. We do play outdoors a lot and I have added a nature table for the kids to display and play with the items they find outdoors. This idea takes very little set up and I watch the kids drag the small picnic table to the grass and collect some of the items on the table to play various pretend play activities like “car wash” and “bakery”.
I have also added a “discovery basket” outside that contains tweezers, magnifying glasses and capture bubbles. This allows the kids to expand on a discovery like finding caterpillar eggs on a leaf.
I have no issue with the kids getting a little dirty. I do however have some parents that do. I have tried many ways to convince them of the importance of getting dirty as it relates to early learning, however that seems to be lost on some. I do what I can within the constraints of parents’ wishes. Even if I can get them to engage in pretend play using items in nature then I feel I have accomplished something.
My next big move is to declutter my toy room even more, rotate some toys and activities and paint the room a more soothing calm color.
I am going to add some curtains and more cozy throw rugs with some floor pillows. I also hope to get a second- hand TV cabinet and repurpose it for storage and play.
Although I would love to have all my materials in natural baskets or bins this is a bit impractical. I can however look for cabinets that store them. That way I can easily rotate items as well.