It has been just over a year since we made the decision to scrap plastic toys in our nurseries. We have seen first-hand the impact that offering children real life tools, resources and raw materials has on their learning and development. We know that this decision comes with many benefits. Not only are we providing children with real life experiences, we are also promoting development in all areas of the EYFS. For example, at Little Rascals, children can use real hammers and nails rather than the plastic alternative. We have swapped Lego pieces for wooden blocks and allow children to play with real foods in the home corner. Children are given cardboard boxes and recycled materials to make cars, boats, spaceships etc… We know that this helps to build their independence and problem-solving skills. We also encourage children to risk assess themselves and the resources regularly whilst using them, therefore building self-control skills and confidence. We know that children have plenty of plastic toys at home and generally would not be allowed to use a real hammer in the home. Giving children these objects whilst at nursery opens the door to a whole new world of opportunity. Children are interested and excited in the activity at hand, they are inquisitive and want to ask lots of questions. Thus, developing their fine motor skills, hand eye-coordination skills and communication and language skills all at the same time.
We have been really impressed recently to find out that other nurseries are having a go at being toy free and are noticing the great benefits it has on children’s learning and development within their settings. Take a look at the article below from a nursery in Bristol. They tried being toy free for a month and because it was such a success, they are extending the trial until further notice.
Who’d of thought that so many everyday household items and recycled materials could be so educational?