Finding old treasures to create exciting opportunities in the early years
The early years is all about creating enabling environments that stimulate, excite and provide opportunities to explore the characteristics of effective learning. This can be done through many different planning formats and in both child led and adult led activities. It can be tempting to feel that for an early years environment to look outstanding it must be filled with brand new resources that are in pristine condition. This is especially tempting when early years catalogues come through the door and practitioners get excited looking through and placing orders. This is often quick and easy but rarely cheap. These resources can often be bright, colourful and plastic which when placed in a room all begin to look very similar. They often have set purposes and this limits the learning that can happen from interacting with these types of resources. If you’re setting has considered this you may have a corner of natural resources which can be used multiple ways but these can be incredibly pricey if bought brand new in bundles.
What resources create awe and wonder in the early years?
The easiest way to create awe and wonder in the early years is through finding old treasures that are new to the children, things that they haven’t seen before, maybe materials they haven t explored and interacted with, things that have multiple purposes. These types of authentic objects and open-ended resources can often be found at car boot sales and charity shops. These can be picked up for a fraction of the price it would cost to buy them new and often you will find objects that you never would in a shop or catalogue. Some of these resources include:
- Wicker Baskets
- Wooden cooking utensils
- Old style weighing scales
- Old Cameras
- Hats, Bags, Scarves for home corners
- China cups and plates
- Egg Cups
- Metal teapots
- Unique wooden boxes and trinkets
- Pots and Pans
- Old radios
In order to create true awe and wonder the resources need to be exciting and set up in an inviting manner, you could have the most wonderful resources but if they are all dumped in a box with a label it takes away some of the natural curiosities children can have compared to if they are set up and easy to see. Do you use authentic and unique resources such as these in your setting? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.