This activity is designed to encourage children to explore items from their natural environment, using their observational skills to think about similarities, differences and how each item is unique.
What you will need:
· A natural area to explore. If this isn’t an option then you can collect natural items beforehand to do this activity in setting.
· Suitable clothing – wellies if it’s muddy!
Preparing the activity
Prior to this activity, you will need to make a weaving frame – it sounds tricky but it’s quick and easy to make. Take three sticks and use string to bind them together to form a triangle. Next, wind the string from one side of the triangle to the other to make horizontal bands which the children can weave items through.
This activity is best in a natural environment with plenty of leaves and sticks. If this isn’t possible then you could collect the items beforehand to take into the setting. Ideas include leaves, sticks, feathers, ferns, maple seeds, acorns, conkers etc.
Doing the activity:
Give each child one of the tree weaving frames. Have one for yourself too so you can model what to do. Explain to the children that they are going to find some natural objects which they really like and weave them into the string to make a tree full of special things.
At this point, you can demonstrate by weaving leaves and sticks through the string, giving body to your tree shape. Talk about why you are choosing particular objects, encouraging the children to really think about being selective and just picking those they really like. Perhaps it’s a beautifully coloured leaf, a stick that looks like a mini Stickman or a very shiny conker. The aim is to get children to observe their natural environment, thinking about why one item might differ to another, considering textures, colours, shapes and sizes.
After you’ve finished this activity, you could all sit together with your woven trees and take it in turns to talk about the items the children have collected. Sharing images and information about this activity with families can enable the conversations about their natural tree weaving to continue at home.
Any age of early years child will enjoy the painting element of this activity, but it is most beneficial for children aged 3 and up.
Tracking the activity
22 - 36 months:
30 - 50 months
40 - 60+ months