I am a big fan of open ended play items. Things that do not have a set way to be used. I love to watch and see how each child approaches these items and makes them their own. Some children stack items, some fill tins and bowls with smaller items and carry them around the house, often I find the items are picked up and tasted or shaken to see if they make a noise.
There are no pressures related to this type of play. You can not get anything wrong, get frustrated with it. It is a very relaxing and gentle time in our play sessions. The children spend a lot of time using trial and error and often find fun new experiences and ideas while trying to do something completely different. This sparks new lines of thinking and exploration. Challenging the child's expectations!
Natural items have much more to offer than plastic items. They have different textures and weights. Some are very smooth, like sanded and polished wood or stones. Some are slightly rougher like un-treated wood or sticks with bark on. Wood is warmer to touch than say metal items. The tins in these pictures will feel much colder that the wooden items. Stones will feel heavier to lift than rattan balls.
Each item is unique. They make different sounds when knocked together. Many will taste or smell interesting. It is often nice to add herbs in a piece of thin cloth and tie it up with string.
Many items can be gathered easily from around the house. Some I have bought from pound shops or other cheap stores. I have even collected bits form car boot sales and charity shops. Once they have been well cleaned they can make great additions to a Treasure basket and for very little cost!
Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas