Nature and discovery

child touching polished stones and pebbles

The importance of sensory play

If there’s one thing in common about young children, it’s their ability to make a mess! Children learn best through direct experiences – exploring the world around them with their whole being. They stare, grab, smell, listen, rub, or lick unfamiliar objects, using all their senses to collect data that will be wired permanently into their memory.

 

If a child’s environment is too sterile or limited, they are deprived of this rich learning. What can parents and teachers do to offer diverse sensory experiences without becoming completely overwhelmed by the inevitable mess? Read this.

three boys playing in a stream

Using nature to help children academically

How can spending time outdoors help our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners? Ginny Yurich from Michigan, USA has some interesting insights and tips after spending thousands of hours outside with her five children. Read them here.

little girl playing at the Mud kitchen

New for 2019: Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour!

In most settings, the home corner is a popular and firmly entrenched establishment. This spring take your cooking outdoors again, where natural materials, dirt and water are the perfect ingredients for hours of creative play and scientific discovery. And then escape the hustle and bustle to relax, read, or role play in a welcoming, protected den.

 

Watch our new Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour in action at Annan The Froebel School in East Sussex. Everything comes with our standard 10-year-warranty and free 2-week delivery.

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boy engaging in loose parts play with natural materials

The learning in loose parts

“The Lego was fought for, stringing beads spilled in anger, plastic animals broken by grabbing...as a teacher I was at my wits end with this particular group of children. They simply could not play harmoniously together,” relates Martha, an experienced preschool teacher.

 

“On a sudden inspiration I emptied all the tote pans and put the contents in storage. Then we went outside and collected natural objects to fill the pans: small rocks, twigs, acorns, pinecones, and bark. Once inside, we began constructing ‘dream houses’ using Plasticine to hold the sticks together. Soon tables, beds, and little pathways appeared. We kept the houses displayed and worked on them again and again. The old grabbing habits were gone – after all who ‘owns’ the things of nature?”

 

As Martha discovered, the best toys don’t come from a shop. Nature offers a wide assortment of loose parts that are captivatingly simple and empowering. Plus, they’re easy on the budget!

 

Although teachers have always known the great play value in natural materials, current research now validates the tremendous learning potential they offer as well. Read the article.

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child in stream with Outlast blocks building dam

Outlast block play in the mud

Spring is here and children will start heading outdoors to enjoy the rain and sunshine. What other environment offers such opportunities for creativity – and such freedom to make a mess? With Outlast blocks and a bit of imagination the possibilities are endless! Watch this.

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