Why should I have a construction area in my early years room?
The early years foundation stage refers to construction in many of its 7 areas including physical, mathematics and expressive arts and design. A construction area allows children to play, explore, actively learn, create and critically think all things which are crucial to a child’s learning and achieving. Construction is something which is important at all stages of development so every early years setting should try and incorporate a construction area into their environment or provide resources for children to construct with. Construction involves anything a child can build, balance and create from and does not have to have a set goal in mind. Open ended resources allow a wealth of construction to happen with children creating and changing there minds as they add or take away pieces to their masterpieces. With adult guidance but not interference personal, social and emotional development can be supported through showing you value their opinions and ideas, by encouraging the sharing of the resources and through praise and the sharing of their achievements. It is often good practice to leave a space where children can display and be proud of their construction models or leave a camera out so the children can take photos of their creations. Children in the early years are often very disheartened when they have spent a whole morning creating an amazing tower out of construction materials to be made to then tidy it away.
Where should I have my construction area?
Every early years room should have a construction area or at the very least construction resources which can be added to the environment on a daily basis. Taking an early years continuous provision approach is a fantastic way to ensure you have all the resources you need to promote development accessible for the children every day. Construction does not have to be limited to the indoor environment and some of the best construction activities happen outdoors using natural and open ended materials. When creating your construction area it is best to think about how much room your children are going to need to building the next rocket ship or the tallest tower. The more space you have available the better especially for when all those creations come crashing down. It is best not to place your construction resources in a quiet area of the room as the children are going to need space and flexibility to become fully engaged in their construction projects making noise and banging the resources around.
What resources should I have in my construction area?
As discussed above some of the best construction resources are open ended and what some might consider ‘junk’ so don’t panic if your construction area is not full of plastic colour bricks or expensive construction materials. Have a look at our resource list below to see if there is anything you could use to enhance or create your construction area with.
- Tubes – tubes of any sort are a great construction material that can be stacked, inserted into one another, cut, ripped, painted, coloured and stuck to make all sorts of fabulous construction buildings or arrangements
- Logs or pieces of tree – These can be brought or collected from your outdoor environments. These again can be stacked in anyway to create some amazing structures. As these are not uniform and come however they are found they all enable children to learn about size and texture and add a sensory element to their play
- Stones – Again these can brought or collected. Some many consider stones to be a health and safety matter however if play is supervised and the children are advised as to what they are for these can be monitored and used safely
- Twigs and sticks – These can be incorporated with other early years resources such as play dough and clay to allow the children to bring height and another dimension into their construction adventures. These can be lined up, joined and stacked to create whatever the children are interested in.
- Crates and planks of wood – These are great to incorporate into the outdoors environment and really encourage team work and shared thinking. This allows children to discover, explore, investigate and learn to share and communicate ideas as they decide to building their next castle or roman fort.
- Boxes – Large, small or medium, any shape and size will make a great resource for your construction area. Again these can be combined with other materials and are adaptable to make anything the children desire.
Have a look at our pinterest board for some more great natural construction ideas for your early years setting.