On a beautiful sunny spring morning some of the children were intrigued by the provocation of small twiggy branches, beautiful tiny beads and sparkly glitter. This all came about when Kim brought in a cutting from her Muehlenbeckia shrub from home. This is a wonderful type of plant that has many fine interwoven branches, which when cut into smaller pieces look like tiny little trees.
We used some clay to make a base to stick the small tree like pieces into and the children then enjoyed threading beads on them. The branches were the perfect size for threading and were surprisingly supple considering that they looked so fragile. The children were able to bend and move the branches with ease and push the beads on with quite some force without breaking them. They also brushed on a small amount of PVA glue and sprinkled it with glitter.
The end result was these wonderful, delicate little beaded trees that are now on display in out art studio. Their beauty has already captured a lot of interest and created lots of dialogue between children and adults alike.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein
Natural resources are all around us, ready for us to use to enhance the learning and development of our children. A simple cutting from a garden has been the catalyst for children to delve into a creative activity which was both captivating and delightful. All the children were deeply engaged in the process of carefully decorating their tiny trees.
This activity lead to one of our children, Taika, bringing in some beads from his Nana’s house the following day. He decided he also wanted to make a mini beaded tree. This time we used some sturdy Manuka cuttings. This captured the interest of other children and Taika kindly shared his beads so they could make their own beading trees.
When you combine the beauty of natural resources with the wonderment of lovely treasures like beads, buttons and glitter etc. It draws in children and provides them with endless learning opportunities. In the case of these activities they were able to utilise their fine motor skills, practice their pincer grip, develop their hand-eye co-ordination, concentrations skills, creativity, and use descriptive language – the list could go on and on.
“Including natural materials in the learning environment gives children opportunities to interact with nature. Mixing natural with commercial or recycled resources enhances the learning experience with appealing aromas, colours, sounds and textures. Natural materials provide children with a range of sensory experiences.” (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education)
These are just a few of the many activities that we provide at Kindergarten that promote the idea that nature supplies us with beautiful and intriguing things. Children are naturally curious, full of intrigue and inquisitiveness, we want them to have a real sense of wonder when they engage in our environment. We believe is important to offer natural resources as provocations for thought and inquiry, we really value nature for not only its beauty but also the opportunities it creates for learning and development.
“Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder.” (Cobb)
Written by Zair