This morning a delightful friend handed my toddler a paper bag with some stones in the bottom. Emptying them out on the bed we carefully inspected the different sizes, textures and patterns - my delightful friend shared her fascination with the different stones and I think it was a little contagious! We bought them home with us and as we pulled into the driveway he said "I show Dadda my bag of rocks!"
He spent the next half an hour looking at, arranging and rearranging the rocks...completely engrossed.
It reminded me of the day in January when we rode our bikes down to Glenrock lagoon and spent the afternoon skipping stones and moving rocks around (in this photo he was determined to throw this big rock!) No playground required...
In Early Childhood services we spend so much time carefully selecting resources for their developmental appropriateness. We get caught up in colours, functions and safety features and in the mean time might be missing opportunities for children to explore through nature. A toy car can only ever really be a toy car, yet a rock could be a car, a person, the roof of a fairy house or just about anything... the only limit is the imagination!
Seeing my child so engaged with his bag of rocks reminded me of the importance of open ended, natural materials for encouraging a sense of wonder, curiosity and imagination. I am thinking we need to do some collecting and start a collection of loose parts for him to explore and create with in the back yard!
More about the simple joy of rocks...
Providing inspirational professional development opportunities for Early Childhood Educators