Monday, 28 January 2013

Treasure Hunting

I am always on the look out for interesting objects to give to the children for them to play with.  I was buying some hay for my guinea pigs Gizmo and Kit today when I saw these fabulous balls.  They are made of rattan, seagrass and water hyacinth and intended for guinea pigs and rabbits to play with.  They are very tactile objects and I will be letting the children play with them (under my supervision) tomorrow.   I think these balls will be more suitable for my nearly three year olds to play with as the under one I look after is teething so I would rather he play with the wooden utensils and metal objects that have less chance of breaking apart in his mouth.

Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson coined the term heuristic play to describe providing children with the opportunity to find out about objects and what can be done with them. The term heuristic is derived from the Greek word ‘eurisko’ which means ‘serves to discover or gain an understanding of.’  Objects made from natural products have varied and interesting textures & aromas which encourage children to explore with all their senses.  Heuristic play is completely child led and open ended - there is no conclusion or finished product that is expected and children are free to explore and play in whatever way their imagination leads them.

Since introducing the balls they have been a big hit.  The two year old I look after can flit from toy to toy like a butterfly when we go to groups with a wealth of plastic fantastic but the water hyacinth ball held her attention for two hours.  She held it for a while and then examined it closer seeing if she could unpick it (she couldn't).  Then she engaged me in a game of catch with it and enjoyed running to get it and throwing it back to me.  Interestingly she put the rough seagrass ball down straight away but the smooth water hyacinth must have felt more pleasant to hold for her.  Ethan Bear loved playing with them all.  He started a big game of catch and really upped the energy of the play.  When my tired pregnant body was ready to sit down Ethan was happy to throw the seagrass ball against the ball and watch it roll back.  So some really interesting reactions to very simple objects appearing in the room this week.

Ethan Bear throwing the rough seagrass ball.


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