The leaves that we collected at the beginning of our unit have dehydrated quite well and now are completely different sensory tools to those that we started with; new colours, new crispiness and new curled structures.
Equally, the spikes of the chestnut cases have softened enough for me to feel confident that Squirrel couldn’t be harmed by them as he was handling them so gently and mindfully.
I laid out a blanket on the kitchen floor and surrounded it by different large, open containers. We also included some smaller containers, like the egg box, and also left him the tongs and some paper cups.
He sat himself down with no encouragement and got to work transferring all the autumnal treasures from container to container by various means, being gentle as he inspected each leaf, handled them by their stems, cupping them gently and stroking his fingers across the curls of the leaves.
When he discovered the conkers, which have been a constant favourite for smaller busy box activities, he went straight to work with the egg box.
As we played with our leaves and bits, we chattered with lots of descriptions and identifications, lots if pointing and plenty of asking via his “that?” gesture, which he uses to ask the name of, sign for or more recently, the colour of! Upholding his favour to anything yellow, he picked out a few yellow leaves, then we played at the word “crunch” as we played at crushing the leaves in our fists. We smoothed the conkers with our fingers as he loaded them into the egg box, and Squirrel enjoyed the ‘moo’ part of smooth!
Now then, time to make some Squirrel nests! Time to transfer all the lovely leaves into the barrel, while the Squirrels wait patiently on their tray.
Beautiful! Very happy squirrels indeed, all tucked up in their nest with conkers to snack on. So plenty of great sensory, fine motor, exploring and imaginative play and learning. A lovely long afternoons play.
This post is linked to Unit 2, Autumn & Harvest.