Felt for Learning and Play - Something Spontaneous!

Posted by Loretta Davis on

Not all of my customers are aware, but I'm a qualified Early Childhood Teacher. I work five days a week as a kindergarten teacher, now based on the Gold Coast (previously I lived and worked in Sydney). I've been in ECEC for over ten years, and I've seen and been through MANY a learning journey and enquiry project. It's always fun, there's always more to learn and at the moment, I'm learning lots about BEES with my class. 
We've been finding them everywhere, trying to take photographs of them, learning facts about bees and have even created an artwork to submit to a local exhibition. We're hoping to be accepted so we can go on an excursion to see our artwork.
We've been doing all sorts of things relating to our program and project of bees/bugs/hives/nests, it is kind of covering all sorts of interest topics at the moment as these kinds of projects usually do... and recently I was cleaning out the art cupboard when I found some felt. I had an idea and decided to go for it, preparing something for some creative play with a transient art twist. I quickly cut out a bunch of shapes (teaching on the fly, how many times have we been there?!) and the outcome has been quite phenomenal. We are moving more towards beginning to explore the role of flowers, how pollen is collected and how bees help gardens grow. So this provision was a lovely addition to our play based program.
The children have gravitated towards the set up, which was very simplistic in nature. It was just a bunch of shapes, a variety of colours and some felt rectangles (stiffened white felt, it's thick and makes a nice 'base'. Normally I'd utilise some of my roll up felt mats but they're all listed in the shop and I haven't made any for myself!). I used my 7 compartment Montessori tray from Sticks and Stones Education (Montessori sorting trays - set of 3) as some of the children also really enjoy sorting and categorising. So as much as they love to make and set up their own felt flowers and move through their own design process, they also love to pack them away using the tray. 
I'd also noticed how some of our little-hand-learners had moved some of our tiny felt bees to the flowers, beginning to act out pollination. They care so beautifully for our little bees, from our wonderful friend Carmella at The Pixie Patch. 
Long story short, the children have been loving this activity. It was such a throw together, which I cut out with tiny children's scissors as obviously my N+F hardware was in my office at home. It was a bit rustic and a bit rough around the edges, but it was open to them and allowed them to get in touch with their creativity, link some of their learning, process information and make meaning in different contexts. 
The beauty of learning!
I thought I'd share a template of petals for my readers and customers. All you need is some felt from a craft store, scissors and a way to use the template (eg a printer). The set is designed for various sizes, so you can choose to make big ones, medium ones or small ones - it's up to you! If you want to do all three, just print out three copies. Once printed, cut out your shapes, hold to felt and cut around using some good scissors (or decent ones, haha, depends what's on hand...). Then, create your felt flowers! You could have grass, bushes, tree stumps, all sorts of additional shapes! The point is to enjoy.
I hope you find the template helpful, and remember that digging through the cupboards can often produce some interesting, fun and educational opportunities. The template is a free, downloadable product. Feel free to use it for personal use. 
xx L

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