Nature’s Toys

Nature truly does give children the most wonderful toys. Each one is unique. Each one smells differently, feels differently; has a different texture, temperature and weight. Each one is a different colour and a myriad of colours within each piece. They move differently when you roll them or throw them and make different sounds when you hold them tightly in your hand, or no sound at all.

Little creatures live in them, snails crawl over them and best of all, you have to go outside and walk amongst the trees to find them. Yep, truly the most wonderful toys.

Both Reggio and Montessori understand children’s innate drive to investigate and discover. To want to feel things, real things, to see what they do and how they can be manipulated. When Jack was about a year old, I made him a small nature basket. Since then our house has become full of natural materials. Loose materials, just waiting for little people to come and explore, to imagine, to use as they wish.

Pinecones, rocks, sticks, leaves, shells, driftwood. Any treasure really that comes home with us from our walks. For Jack they have become instruments for imaginative play but for Sarah, they still provide endless sensory discovery.ย She mouths them, runs her fingers over them, rubs them across her cheeks, moves them from one basket to another, throws them, bangs them on the floor, drops them into empty containers…. endless discovery.

I really encourage you to bring natural materials into your home and have them readily accessible to your children. They are such a source of wonderment for children. Natural materials have such potential for scientific discovery, yes, but for so much more. Regular exposure allows children to have a relationship with nature; to feel connected with it. To help them to notice nature, see the trees, feel the rocks under their feet, hear the wind, notice the changing clouds, be apart of it. Not separated; we’re inside, that’s outside. Bring the outside in and make it a part of their everyday life.

20 Replies to “Nature’s Toys”

  1. Hang on, I recognise that shirt!

    I gave you a blog award today. Come get it if you want it….

    1. and the pants too I suspect ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the adulation xx

  2. Kylie D'Alton says:

    Sarah is looking so grown up!

    1. I know! She’s a little walker now. I keep losing her!! And she finally got some more teeth the other day ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh wow, i only just found your blog, via The Accidental Housewife. I’m a military wife in Canberra too, how do you do?? Your children & lifestyle is simply beautiful. You should be extremely proud of how you are raising them. I’ve read a few posts back & find the ignorance of some people, to straight out ask or point out that there is something wrong or abnormal about your son as incredibly impolite, how on earth could they gauge your personal feelings & what i always wonder – what difference does it make to them, they are not raising him?? Children need love above all else & it sure reads like your family has tonnes to share. I look forward to reading more, so sorry i only just found you. That deployment photo is lovely, we’ve done that so many times, my husband is currently on his 5th deployment & we’re preparing for him to return soon, bursting with excitement. Wishing you a beautiful wrap up to the week, i have a primary school ANZAC service to attend, solo, always heart wrenching. Love Posie

    1. Hi! I’m very well thank you ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you for coming by. I can only imagine how excited you all must be feeling to have your husband home soon. I remember how we felt last year when the weeks and days finally felt like they were counting down.

  4. I love this! I’ve just written a very similar post myself.

    1. I just went and checked it out. I really love your button tin! Think I need to take a trip to the thrift shop to find a groovy tin.

  5. I keep trying this. The cats eat pine cones and hubby hates when pebbles get all over the place. Small boy is a dumper. No idea how to solve this one!

    1. Jack used to dump everything out too. We have a mat in the playroom which I started using as a play space for when he was using the pebbles; they needed to stay on the mat. This at least confined some of the mess. He’s much better now. But it was quite messy there for a while. Also, maybe instead of pebbles you could try something bigger like sticks, or maybe in a sealed container to keep the kitty’s away.

      1. FrancesVettergreenVisualArtist says:

        I tried a mat, and a big flat bin….just frustration all round, because he couldn’t play the way he wanted to and things only vaguely stayed contained. Now we let him dump, as long as we “work together to get the job done!” when it comes to cleanup time. Helps that I can finally get down on the floor too, hubby doesn’t have to do it all.

        Sealed containers might keep other cats out, but mine are determined…

        1. Oh Frances, that is just too funny about your kitty’s ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Yay I can comment!! I LOVE this post, 1.) because I agree with it all and 2.) because it’s so delicious on the eyes! lovely! I have just put together a little reggio inspired play space for baby girl which i will post about soon!

    1. YAY! Thanks Anna xx Looking forward to seeing Bean’s little space.

  7. Did you clean the materials? The rocks would be easy but I’m curious about cleaning the more delicate materials.

    1. I wiped off any surface dirt, the kangaroo skull we bleached but apart from that and keeping an eye out for bugs, loose parts or splinters I have mostly kept them as we found them. I am a little more hesitant with bringing feathers home because I know they can carry disease but most of the other things I am happy with.

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