With Autumn in full force now some of you are no doubt doing some fabulous Autumn activities and sensory play with the children you look after. We have already been on lots of Nature walks! We have been pretty lucky in the UK and so far, the Autumn days have been stunning! Sunny days, blue skies and the contrasts of beautiful leaves!
We have hundreds of conkers, pine cone and acorns. We are in the process of doing some fun arts, crafts and sensory play with them! I recently saw a wonderful Autumn themed Tuff Tray created by Fran Maple and I am delighted that she is here today guest posting her fabulous idea!!
Hold on tight folks and prepare to be inspired!!
I am the manager of Little Oaks Nursery in Margate Kent. We cater for children aged 3 months to 5 years. We also run an on site after school club and holiday club up to 12 years old.
As a manager I am often super numery and office based so like to keep my feet on the ground by regularly putting together tough trays with open ended resources and placing them in our communal areas where all the children, staff and sometimes parent can have a look and explore what is on offer.
With the vast array of natural items on offer just walking through the park (or cemetery on this occasion). I was able to create a tuff tray focusing on our present season being Autumn. Luckily on my walk I found a variety of colour, sizes, textures and even weights which naturally made me think to add a mathematical aspect to this tuff tray. Which went down a treat with the children!
Squashes are also very seasonal, readily available at the local farm store and reasonably priced. With the different varieties on offer it seemed only fitting to add them to this tray. I arranged the tray to show the children exactly what was on offer from twigs, leaves, pine cones, spinner and acorns.
The scales and tape measure were the only unnatural items added to the tray but this allowed a different dynamic to be introduced and a method of investigation and reasoning. I also supplied empty bowls for children to simply fill or even create 'potions'. They were also introduced to allow the children to consider exactly how much they could fit into each.
The children spent time scooping, mixing, weighing and measuring working out which leaf or squash was the biggest, which pine cones were the heaviest and which squashes fit in the bowls and which were "too big." The language we observed whilst the children were playing away was very valuable!
As the the tuff tray gets used throughout the week and the squashes soften I intend to add child safe knives, mirrored perspex and mixing bowls to encourage the children to look at the veg as it begins going a little soft. This will give them the opportunity to practise their cutting skills and even make "soup" or "dinner" using various utensils to encourage this.
The good this about tuff trays is you can always extend it and go one step further. The possibilities are endless!
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