Make and create

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By Jean Evansearly years consultant and author

Use a selection of construction equipment and malleable materials to realise the designing and making potential of popular commercial resources

Construction and malleable areas

Look around your setting for potential designing and making opportunities and consider how these can be presented to the children to fire their imaginations and extend creative possibilities.

Organise the small construction area so that the children have space to play in groups or independently. Store construction equipment in separate, clearly-labelled containers, and ensure that the children follow simple rules about tidying up and returning the equipment to designated spaces after they have finished playing. Provide somewhere for the children to display their completed constructions, as well as mark-making tools and materials for writing names, signs and captions. Display posters, photographs and pictures of a range of buildings to inspire ideas.

Take advantage of your outdoor space to work with large construction equipment. Laminate and display examples of constructions that can be created, such as climbing frames, so that the children can try to recreate them or refer to them when designing their own creations.

Provide some clay or salt dough together with a selection of tools in the malleable area. Display pictures and examples of possible creations as inspiration.

Suggested resources

Different types of small construction equipment such as wooden blocks, Mobilo, Sticklebricks, Brio, Interstar, LEGO DUPLO® and Meccano; larger construction equipment such as Quadro, giant bricks and large foam blocks; malleable materials such as play dough, air-drying clay and salt dough; clay tools; rolling pins; twigs; buttons; items made from clay such as painted beads; small pottery models.

1 Small-world playground

Create a miniature playground

Creative Development

Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play

Development matters: use available resources to create props to support role play (30-50 months); play alongside other children who are engaged in the same theme (40-60 months).

Early learning goal: use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role play and stories.

What you need

Group size: small groups. Small construction area and equipment; pictures and photographs of playground equipment; small-world characters; string.

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