Little Tree Loose Parts Play
The story "Little Tree" by Loren Long, is not only a great book to read on how and when leaves changes, the seasons, weather, colors, and more. It is a great book for opening up discussion about facing change, challenges of growing up and letting go. Since the world looks and feels different for many children this is a great way to connect how nature constantly changes and life does as well.
Books related to the concept explorations are motivating and appealing to children. Information can be gained from these books in context of a story. The pictures and words can impart a lot of meaning and information to help the children learn more about at topic, interact, relate their own experiences, and guide the children's inquiry. To extend a literacy experience setting an invitation to create fall foliage with loose parts on a cardboard cutout tree is open ended, engaging, and deepen their connection with literacy.
To set this invitation take recycled cardboard and cut it out like a tree. Next in a Tinker Trays place loose parts such a recycled bottle caps, translucent shapes, buttons, and wooden circles. Tinker trays are the perfect for limitless possibilities, foster problem solving skills, creativity, exposure to new materials, and decision making. Through this kind of free play children are really creating: using what they have and what they already know, and combining that to create a whole that’s greater than the parts. Loose parts and free play in childhood develops the creative genius of the future.
What I love most about invitations is watching how the different combinations of materials inspiring the child to create different things. This type of play enhances a child's free creative play, exposure to sensory elements, requires concentration, fine motor and hand strength building, and is relaxing and stimulating.