Children at Guardian Forrest Explore Loose Parts Found in Nature

child looking at natural loose parts in magnifying glass

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To bring a little of the outside world inside their Centre, the team at Guardian Childcare & Education Forrest recently set up a nature-inspired loose parts experience for the children to explore.

“The experience, which we dubbed ‘Nature to explore’ was designed so the children had the opportunity to engage with and use their senses and dispositions to explore treasures from nature such as pine cones, conkers and leaves,” shares Educational Leader, Kasia.

“Treasures from nature are my favourite loose parts to utilise in learning experiences, as they stimulate children’s creativity and imagination as they can be used in play in many ways.”

“For example, a conker can be a figurine in imaginative play, used for imprinting in mud or clay, or served as a meal for baby dolls.” 

child looking at loose parts through magnifying glass

“Natural objects with open-ended possibilities often encourage children to engage in richer play experiences, and can be easily sourced.”

To organise the learning experience, Kasia and the team had a number of discussions with families, then collected the resources from around the Centre and their local forest.

“Normally we would take the children on a nature walk and collect treasures from the forest together, but we had to adapt the experience slightly to suit the current social distancing requirements,” says Kasia.

child pressing magnifying glass up to her face

“During the experience, the children carefully examined each of the loose parts before using them in their own play.”

I’m always amazed by the children’s ability to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary, and it was lovely to watch how engaged the children were in the experience.”

The children noted down their observations on a piece of paper, then shared their findings with their peers, describing what they saw and felt when exploring the loose parts.

child writing and drawing his loose parts observations

Kasia and the team set a number of learning outcomes that they expected the experience to explore, such as children using the resources in their own creative way and developing dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation and confidence.

“We received some lovely feedback from the families, who have since brought in additional items for our natural resource collection,” shares Kasia.

“Now that we have these natural resources in the centre, we’ve decided to add them as a permanent addition to our environment and look forward to creatively using them with the children in future learning experiences.”

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