Learning Resources

Sensory Play

Child and Educator participating in sensory play with a bucket of ice

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Children are wired to receive and utilise sensory input from day one. This is why children will dive in hands first, exploring a new substance. The senses are their most familiar, most basic way to explore, process, and come to understand new information. Ideas: Sensory play can be whatever you want it to be, as children are constantly learning with their senses in hands-on experiences. Here are some ideas of some open-ended sensory…

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Learning Treasure Baskets

Child learning through playing with treasure basket

The main way that babies under the age of one discover and learn about their world, is through sensory motor development. During this stage, a baby’s instinct is to explore objects by handling and mouthing them in order to find out about their characteristics. By using a treasure basket with children at this age, you are providing them with rich mental stimulation, which not only activates the growth of their brain, but also provides richly satisfying experiences. Ideas: Children learn through play and by doing. A treasure basket may have…

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Let’s Pretend

Little boy poking his head out of cardboard play house

There are many names for this type of play, ‘dramatic’,‘imaginary’, ‘fantasy’ or ‘pretend play’, but they are all about the same thing – acting out everyday events or things that have happened. As adults we can support our children in pretend play by setting the stage, standing back so that they direct the play. They of course may want you to participate and if this is the case, follow their cues, as it is their game and their fantasy. Ideas: Provide large cardboard boxes, which can become cars, buses, boats,…

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Fun with Science

Poking seeds into soil in egg cartons

There are science experiments happening all around us! Here are some great simple activities to teach children about how things work. Ideas: Static Electricity Take a square of plastic a bit bigger than the hand. Hold it flat in the palm of the hand then turn your hand over and let it drop to the ground. Now rub the plastic with a piece of wool, silk or nylon fabric. Repeat above. This time it will cling to your hand. “I wonder why that happens?” Plants and Seeds Make an egg…

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Using natural materials from Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)

Little girls creating critters out of seeds and leaves

The child’s own environment is full of fascinating learning tools. Natural materials that have been collected at the park, beach or in the backyard can be used in numerous ways. Ideas: Collage Make creative works of art by gluing on to paper, card, wood, driftwood or any canvas that the child finds appealing. Materials can include: feathers, paua chips, leaves, nuts, seed pods, pebbles, shells, bark and any other natural materials that have been collected. Threading Collect gum nuts, shells, seed pods, bone bits, small branches cut up and small…

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Numeracy and Mathematics

Little boy counting using natural materials

There are many opportunities within the home to teach our children simple numeracy and mathematical skills. Everything from helping you hang out the washing to sorting the groceries – there are many opportunities to grow and learn. Ideas: Counting: numbering objects – cars, spoons, shoes, clothes pegs, people Sorting: helping around the house, sorting the groceries, clothes, knives and forks Comparing: sorting toys into groups, comparing different fruit and vegetables, size, weight, length, big cars, little cars, two storey houses, one storey houses Ordering: comparing puzzles by shape and size,…

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