We laid out clay and some natural materials in the garden. The children found the materials and began to explore them in their own way. They started to talk about the garden and they took the clay to their favourite places in the garden.
We made prints of the shed and the tyres among other things. The tree was a popular space and the children made a number of footprints in the clay and stuck them onto the tree.
They liked the idea of putting the clay on the tree and wanted to get it as high as possible. ‘How can we get it all the way up there?’
‘Shall we hang it in the tree?’
As we talked about making things to go high in the trees, we thought we’d explore things that will reflect light and make shadows when hanging.
Working with the younger children, we spent a long time playing with glitter and watching the sparkle, how it changes when it moves, pouring the glitter and collecting it in one tray after another.
Once the glitter was exhausted, we sprinkled a pile of coloured gel paper in the soft play space. For a long time, the children leapt around in it, looked through it, threw it into the air and generally enjoyed the sensory experience. When the playing was beginning to slow down, we introduced a light box and layered up the colours. We captured the children’s colours in between laminating sheets and laminated ready to be hung outside as coloured mobiles. We hung a string outside and also introduced a number of items that could be hung from the string that would make sounds or will last well outside.
• clay • glitter • coloured acetate • string
Ideas for further exploration...
• printing with the clay patterns that were made in the garden onto a large sheet of paper
• mud hand prints and patterns, and talking about clay also coming from the ground
• using water squirters to explore how the mud changes colour when wet and dry
• with the under 2’s put clay on different surfaces to encourage them to notice it. For example, one baby only interacted with the clay when it was pressed to a table leg in front of her
• use all sorts of nursery toys to make marks in the clay