Resources & Materials

Natural, real life, open ended, small world and sensory resources

Links to real life

We start with the things children know and are familair with and build their knowledge and understanding of their world through real life first hand expereinces.

Stimulating the senses

We focus on activities which stimulate the senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell and help the brain to make connections to activities, objects and words.



Making connections

Children make the strongest learning connections to things they experience.

We try to make all learning experiences as real and hands on as possible.

We aim for children to be actively engaged in their learning.

In order to maximise this learning we select materials and resources which build on real life.

  • Natural materials

  • Real life objects

  • Open ended materials

  • Small parts

Natural Materials

Include anything found in nature – from shells, fruit, vegetables, sticks, pebbles, wool, wood, leaves, plants, pods, cone, sand, water, gravel, clay etc.

They are variable and different, they are from the world.

They are attractive and interesting to children and motivating to play with.

Children can use them to create their own ideas and play.

Real Life Resources

We use real life resources whenever we can from cutlery, metal bowls, mirrors, clothes, boxes, scarves, buttons, brushes, tools, mops, buckets, tea sets, anything you may already have at home.

Most of these play materials are free.

Real life resources stimulate imaginative play.

Children use more words in their play as the objects are everyday and familiar to them.

Open ended materials and resources

We sometimes call these small parts or block play and can be found in creative areas indoors and outdoors.

These are none-representative materials, which can be made into different things. 

The children can create with sticks, mirrors, perspex blocks, hoops, magnets, light boxes, glass pebbles, beads, bricks etc.

They use their imagination and play in their own ways.

They create images and structures and engage  deeply in moving and placing objects in patterns and arrangements of their choice.

They make the choices and decisions whihc leads to confidence and deep learning.

Small World resources

We use puppets, figures, dolls and small world figures in our nursery to enable children to represent the world around them in imaginative play.

There may be a dinosaur kingdom, an underwater hideaway, a rain forest or a busy airport.

The children make the decisions about how they play and deeply engage in this.

Sensory Resources

Can take any form and often will be ‘messy play’ type experiences.

They include water, sand, compost, clay, gravel, foam, rice, beads, snow, ice etc.

The materials will be set up for exploratory play.

It is important to give children the time to do this to expereiment and try their own ideas.

Our environments and play areas

We spend a great deal of time considering the resources and areas.

The resources are displayed to be attractive and accessible to children.

In each studio there are creative areas, paint areas, block play, soft materials, role play, small world play, mark making, water play, sand play etc.

Adults are located to areas to support and develop learning.

We encourage a calm and co-operative environment to enable children to talk together and think.