At nursery at the moment, the children seem very interested in the world around them, especially noticing the animals in the garden. We regularly have visits from the birds and local cats. It inspired me to make a ‘Woodland sensory tray’.
As there is a big emphasis on ‘British Values’ and learning about the British environment. I decided it should be animals that are around us regularly. Animals that the children might see if they go for a walk to the park or woods.
I then went outside (in the rain – it’s always the way) to find some natural materials. The older children were very interested in what I was doing and offered to help me find sticks. I found some sticks, bark, leaves and a large log, taken from out ‘bug house’. Then I arranged the materials in the tray along with the animals, which I hid in between the sticks etc. to get those little hands working.
To enhance the play, I printed off some British animal ‘flashcards’ from Sparklebox, being selective as to what the children I work with (aged 6 months to 2 years) would recognise. Then I went hunting for small world animals. I found a mole, ducks, chickens, insects and birds – as well as some cats and dogs.
The children played for ages, splashing the animals in the ‘pond’, burying animals in the sticks and finding them again. Some children even went to find more bark to bury the animals and one child picked
some flowers to add some colour to the activity. Hope this inspires you to go hunting for natural materials and make your own ‘Woodland sensory tray’.