Nature provides some excellent, simplistic play material for young children with big imaginations, from crinkling leaves between small fingers to painting with soft feathers and sorting pine cones in and out of a basket. Even when Arthur was tiny, we would collect things we had found whilst out on our walks for him to touch and to grasp in his little hands.
As Arthur grows, I feel it is really important for him to learn about the seasons and about the nature that surrounds us and our little home. For me, simplicity is key when it comes to imaginative play and I really value the idea that natural and simplistic toys and found objects have a great and positive effect on a child’s development and exploration of self.
After a little walk at the weekend, where we gathered a few leaves, pinecones and seed heads, I decided to set up a little woodland inspired corner in Arthurs room where we played and explored together, talking about the way they felt in our hands and burying little woodland animals under a pile of leaves, sorting them into different containers and reading stories which hopefully made a few connections for him. If nothing else it was a fun little afternoon spent together.
Here are some of the things I have included in our nature corner:
- Treasures found whilst out and about, such as leaves, pinecones and seed heads
- Baskets and containers for sorting
- Simple wooden woodland animals
- Tactile pompons in various shades of green and blue to make a garland
- Leaves threaded onto string for bunting, hung above the changing mat
- Nature inspired prints. These are from Sarah and Bendrix and are so beautifully illustrated.
- Books about nature. Our current favourites are, How to be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy, Natures Day, Slow Snail by Mary Murphy, Owls and Our Garden Birds by Matt Sewell