Written by Renee Zigic - @incy_wincy_fingers
‘What do you love most about our Earth, Zachary? “I love all the animals mama. I love the sea animals. The big stingray and the jelly fish . When I’m a scuba diver, I will play and splash with them all and help them be safe.’
Our animals are one of the many firsts, that our children attach to and form curious fascinations, as they imitate and explore them through their play and learning. Delving into your child’s interests is a great way to introduce, scaffold and learn about global environmental challenges through play in your home.
As our children walk along our treasured beaches and walking paths, they are exposed to different elements of waste that has been left behind. I often watch my blue eyed boy’s inquisitive eyes stare at the warning sign posts at the entry of the beach, and constantly question at a young age ‘but why?’
The adventures that their wondrous imaginations take them on, have such a major impact on creating meaningful connections with their world today. It is our job as nurturing carers, to teach our children how to protect our environment and celebrate the wonderful place we live in.
We have the power to encourage our little warriors that they can have a strong influence in taking care of our Earth. Our children, have the power to create a sense of love and appreciation, and spread the message of just how special our Earth is. So how do we do this and where do we start. Through the magic of play of course!
Play has the power to bring experiences to life through the eyes and minds of our young ones. Encouraging our children to think, feel, question and become real problem solvers. Through this process rich language, new vocabulary and literacy and numeracy skills can be imbedded to create the magic. And remember no matter the age, sensory play always has a place to stimulate play based education and adventure.
Through sensory play, create your very own small world play tray to help educate and motivate your children about making good choices for the environment.
A play tray is a great way to get kids involved, stimulate their senses and brain development, while at the same time raising awareness of recycling. This experience can provide opportunities for your little ones to sort through different forms of waste and what can and can’t be recycled. It also inspires them to find other uses for this waste that they can relate to, such as using half of a milk carton to hold crayons, textas and even puzzle pieces.
Method- World Earth Day Sensory Play Tray
- In a large container combine washing detergent, a teaspoon of sugar, food dye and water. Mix with a hand mixer, until foamy and fluffy.
- Transfer the blue foam to a flat tray and top with recycled items from around the home (e.g. plastic containers, clean food packaging, sticks and stones from the garden, beach treasures)
- Add in your little ones favourite ocean themed toys, creating an ocean themed play tray.
Our precious sea animals are swimming around the blue bubble foam in our play tray, surrounded by rubbish. Using your resources at home such as figurines, loose parts, nature bits you have collected from the beach or park, rubbish you have recycled to reuse, together with some homemade sensory bubble foam, you will have the opportunity to explore with your little ones the notion of recycling correctly.
Talk, problem solve and work out what your little warriors can do to make those little changes at home that can have an even bigger impact on our earth.
And I leave you with this message. When I asked my Zachary if he was writing a letter to the Earth, what would he say? What would he say to the people throwing rubbish which gets to our ocean? His response was so clear and direct. ‘No, that’s not good. It’s bad because the ocean is friendly, you can’t throw rubbish and please don’t!’
Through our play and exposure with some inspiring literature about our Earth, a young mind can begin to learn and form a voice of what’s right and wrong. One of our most favourite picture story books called Dear Earth, Written by Isabel Otter and illustrated by Clara Anganuzzi reads that ‘It’s not all doom and gloom. We have the power to change and live in a more environmentally friendly way to ensure our earth is happy and healthy!’ The magic of play is a great place to start.
For more tips on ways to connect with your children when playing together click here.