Fairies, Elves and Magical Worlds
Fairies, elves, magical worlds – What a delightful way to captivate the imaginations of young children! As a child, I have a very fond memory of my nan. I remember it as though it was just yesterday. We would regularly walk for miles through the fields; fields that we knew as the ‘fairy fields’. Whilst on these walks, we would find pennies that had been left by the fairies. We used to run along, collecting the pennies to later spend on penny sweets down at the little shop on the corner. I’m not sure if there are even such things as penny sweets these days – probably 10p sweets now – I guess fairies have to be rich these days!! I loved imaginative play and would play for hours in my garden looking for fairies and elves, making them little worlds, so that when I was tucked up in bed they had things to do. It was a very special time being a child and so I want to give my own children the same experiences that I had.
When I got in touch with the ‘Early Years Resources’ team, they loved the idea of writing a feature on the importance of imaginative play and offered me some resources to get me started. (This full article will follow soon.) Early Years Resources is a long established and reliable educational resources supplier that enhances and support delivery of the curriculum. They have been operating successfully for 25 years supplying parents, primary schools, nurseries, and childminders throughout the UK with educational equipment and inspirational learning materials. They employ experienced teachers because of their hands-on knowledge which enables them to select the best, most appropriate products from the UK and around the world that will enhance and support delivery of the curriculum. http://www.earlyyearsresources.co.uk/
Due to my own background in education, I knew about the ‘Tuff Tray’ and bought the girls one for their first birthday. We have used it in so many creative play situations. A Tuff Tray is a large heavy duty plastic tray. The octagonal shaped tray has raised sides that are perfect for containing messy play. It is approximately 1 meter in diameter. They can usually be found within UK early years settings but are also fantastic for use at home.
What do you do with a Tuff Tray?
There is so much you can do with a Tuff Tray; you can create endless play situations and world with them. The key is not to have ANY expectations from an activity and therefore anything which is achieved is a bonus. Allow the children to take their play experience in their own hands – this is where the learning really happens.
How to turn you Tuff Tray into an imaginary world.
The Early Years Resource team allowed us to choose a mat from their selection, along with a few accessories to accompany my chosen theme. Let’s take a look at some of these fabulous resources.
Fairytale Tuff Tray Mat
As I mentioned before, we purchased a Tuff Tray just over a year ago but hadn’t used it with the mats. Mats are used to get the imagination going. You can also use them as a talking point. Some children find creativity incredibly hard so this inspires imaginations and can bring much loved stories and tales to life. This mat almost looks 3D and the pictures really just out at you. You could recreate many different worlds with this mat alone. Made from hard wearing material with a non-slip rubber backing, this Tuff Tray mat certainly lives up to its name. It fits snugly into the Tuff Trays or it can be used on the floor or a table. Even my husband commented on how well it fitted and its ‘playability’, now thats saying something!
I love how the picture of the tree lends itself to so many different stories and situations. For example
The Tuff Tray mats costs £18.95 each.
Garden Budkin Fairies
A set of three Budkin fairies in beautifully detailed dresses.
They are very cute and appealing to little hands.They stand up well and can be used in lots of different settings. The set includes Princess Fairybelle, Fairy Orla and Queen Gardenia. An ideal complement to the fairy castle on in the garden to a dolls house. Size: H11cm.
These fairies are priced at £16.95 http://www.earlyyearsresources.co.uk/literacy-c17/storytelling-c54/magical-world-c1481/garden-budkin-fairies-p46368
Wooden Castle Classic
This detailed 3D classic castle design can set the perfect fairy talk scene. On first glance they look just like a piece of wood but a closer inspection reveals a delicately crafted castle carved in wood. Pull up the tips to reveal several towers. This is the perfect accompaniment to any small world fairytale land. The girls needed some help to pull the towers up at times but they liked this feature and were very intrigued by all the parts. Size: 14 x 5.5 x 14cm
This castle is priced at £14.95
How did I introduce these toys to the Twins?
Stories are a wonderful starting point for children. It tends to unleash their imaginations and allows them to run wild. We read a few fairy stories from Bundles of Books to start with.
From there, I placed lots of fairy goodies from my fairy box out for the girls to explore. We had small fairies, items of furniture, toadstools, animals and even a fairy washing line so the fairies could dry their washing; Lots to make the perfect fairy garden.
When the twins were first introduced to the fairy world, they took quite a while just exploring and played with all the different items. Then they started role playing between themselves chattering away in their own little twin language as they do! I put little pots of sand, pebbles, grass onto the tuff spot to see what they did.
Poppy lined up all of the wooden stepping stones and attempted to count them.
Tabitha created a path for the fairies going up the tree and made them jump up them.
Poppy tried balancing on a branch and then peaked inside the door and we used our speaking and listening skills to talk about what she could see linking it to the stories we had read.
Our overall impression was that the resources were made to a good standard and the girls enjoyed playing with each of the toys. I loved the 3D effect the mat gives off.
You can purchase the above resources from www.earlyyearsresources.co.uk
* These products were gifted to us, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
** We received our fairy books from ‘Bundles of Books’ They offer a service that saves you time and money on the selection and purchase of quality children’s books. They put together a selection of age, gender and (where possible) interest appropriate books for your child. £10 for 10 books plus £3 shipping.