Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): A simple idea for playing outside is to start by going on a bit of a nature hunt or a nature walk. Grab some sort of bag or container. You could even have a particularly small little bag and everything they find has to be tiny, or it could be a big one. Go outside. Collect some materials that are interesting – leaves, flowers, sticks, little pebbles. Pop it in the basket.
Child 1: Pinecone.
Adult 1: Have a look through the magnifying class, William. Have a look.
Child 2: Maybe I could make something with that.
Narrator: And then once you’ve collected those, those materials can become the springboard for a whole lot of other types of play. So you could create a game from it. You could make a collage. You could see whether they sink or float. You could see which ones are bigger or smaller or what colours they are or the textures, or you could talk about what are these materials, what is a seed, what does it do. We could learn a whole lot about science. Or maybe we make a puppet out of it. Pop a gumnut on a stick and we’ve got a puppet. Or a magic wand. Or you could add some string and some sticky tape and create a mobile with the leaves. Or add them to a drawing. Stick a leaf on to a piece of paper and add that to a drawing.
Child 2: I’m going to make a pirate ship.
Narrator: So those materials, because they were collected by the children and are interesting to the children, can be used in all sorts of ways beyond the walk itself.
Adult 1: What’s this bit for?
Child 2: To keep the water out.
Adult 1: To keep the water out. That’s fantastic.
Narrator: As you’re walking, too, you’re also learning how to respect nature. So what can you pick up, what can’t, what is natural materials, what are man-made. It’s really about encouraging them to notice what’s in their environment.