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International Mud Day

Play is such an important activity in early years development. It helps children to interact socially, it improves language and communication, and it develops creativity and problem-solving skills. Open-ended play is the approach taken to remove boundaries or restrictions to play. The absence of rules or guidelines allows children to use their imagination, work things out for themselves, find out about the world – the possibilities are endless! There are so many benefits to a child’s social and emotional development which makes open-ended play a popular approach within EYFS settings.

 

So, what can you do to encourage children to investigate, explore and discover new experiences in the world of play? Making their environment exciting and engaging will stimulate a child’s natural curiosity. Giving a child access to natural resources such as mud, water and sand will spark their imagination and create a sensory and tactile experience for them to invent new games and ways of interacting with each other. How much water can be poured into the bucket before it overflows? Is it easier to build a sandcastle when the sand is dry or wet? Does the mud turn into a magical potion if it is mixed with leaves and glitter? What does that texture now feel like? To a child, these activities are simply fun, but we know that children learn best through play, so whilst they are figuring out the answers to those questions, they are also learning about volume, logical thought and reasoning, creativity, and extended vocabulary.

One of the benefits to natural resources is that they are free, and they provide such a diversity of textures, shapes, and sizes for children to manipulate, sort and count. Simple objects such as pinecones, sticks, pebbles and leaves all provide interest to a child who will have fun grouping them, making sequences or patterns, or using them in role play or small world play. Whilst they are busy lining up all the pebbles to make a snake or cooking the pinecone ‘eggs’ in the role play frying pan or putting all the big leaves in a pile, they are learning important skills through play essential for development. Sequencing and pattern making encourages mathematical and logical thought skills, creative and imaginative play develops cognitive abilities and classification activities promote
identification of attributes such as size, shape, or colour.

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to create an environment for open-ended play. Our ranges are carefully designed to ensure children and learning is at the heart of everything we do. We have a diverse range of outdoor furniture and equipment ranging from Sand and Water Play Tables to Mud Kitchens and Nature Investigation Tables, to suit any size setting or budget. If you are planning a new outdoor space, we can also support you with Design & Space Planning.

 

We are celebrating International Mud Day on 29th June to recognise the beneficial use of natural resources, like mud, in open-ended play. Read and share our blog via LinkedIn, or Facebook for a chance to win one of 15 free gardening kits for your nursery or pre-school, containing pots, soil, and seeds, worth £57!