Sustainability in Playgroups
As we all know, Earth has only very limited resources for humans and other living things to use. Therefore, we need to be mindful about how we use Earth’s resources, and this includes working towards sustainability at Playgroups.
Sustainability is a great practice to begin to introduce at Playgroups. Practicing sustainability at Playgroups raises awareness that even the youngest children can make a difference for the Earth’s benefit. Children who understand the basics of sustainability usually realize how important it is to take care of the Earth and can have a powerful impact on everyone’s future.
In Playgroups, sustainability practices can be as simple as picking up rubbish in the yard, reducing craft waste, fixing broken resources, reducing water usage, recycling and reusing materials, making homemade toys and reading books about Earth and caring for the planet and all living things.
- Fix broken toys in your Playgroup– You can have a ‘fixing things day’ in your Playgroup so everyone can be involved in fixing broken resources. You can talk about the importance of repairing resources and reusing, rather than buying new toys. It’s also a great way to introduce some tools that you will be using to repair resources.
- Craft activities from recycled materials– You will be able to find many recycle craft ideas from ACT Playgroups and online. Using recycled materials is generally a cheaper option too. Ask your Playgroup families to bring their own recycle materials for craft activities. Some ideas like egg carton flowers/ caterpillars/train, recycled CD turtles, recycled can bird feeders, painting with bubble wraps, animal figures out of paper bags, plates, and plastic cups.
- Home-made toys– We can’t forget the babies in our Playgroups. Here are some homemade toys that you can create for your baby Playgroup. Your child won’t judge you for not going out to buy him/her expensive toys.
Shakers/Rattles: fill empty plastic bottles with different things that you have on hand to make sounds e.g. rocks, sand, bird seeds etc. Remember to ensure lids are secured tightly with glue or tape.
Sensory blanket: Using an old blanket, find different textured fabric swatches cut into different shapes and attach to the blanket (sew or hot glue onto material). Let babies roll/ crawl along experiencing the different textures.
Curiosity box: Using an old box or container, cut a hole in the lid. Make sure the edges of the hole are not sharp. Tie pieces of material/ odd socks/scarves together. Let babies pull out the materials that you have tucked in like tissues.
Building bricks: Cover different shaped and sized empty boxes with different colour wrapping paper or old newspapers. Let babies explore, build, reach and play.
- Plant – Plant a variety of small flower pots, or herb pots for children to take home or arrange a flower/veggie box in your Playgroup. This is a great hands on activity for little ones to teach the importance of planting and caring for trees
- Read books about Earth and caring for the planet– Most Playgroups enjoy a regular story time, so why not hit up your local library and borrow any age appropriate books about Earth and caring for the planet, to share with your Playgroup families.
We would love to hear your sustainability practices at your Playgroup.
Why dress up play?
Since I was a little girl, I have loved playing dress ups. It allows me to be who I love to be, even just for a little while. It was so magical to dress up as my mum and bath my dolls, teach my teddy bears whilst dressed up as a teacher, treat my toy animals whilst dressed as a vet, build roads in my backyard as a builder and I went on missions as a spy and many more (my dress ups play list is endless).
When I look back, I can see how my dress up play fostered my imagination, communication skills, confidence and especially social and emotional skills. Back then, we didn’t have store bought dress up costumes, we made our own. I enjoyed creating my own dress ups out of old family clothes and things from around the house. This is why I encourage my children and all the children that I work with, to have fun and let their imagination run wild.
As an adult I still adore dress up play. Having fun and opening your imagination is not just a child’s job. I play dress ups with my children and love becoming their client at their hair salon. I love celebrating some events like super hero days, book week (yes!! I am that mum who goes over and above to create a book week costume), Halloween (I do love scaring some people with my Halloween dress ups), themed parties where I get the opportunity to dress up. If you have been to our Intergenerational playgroups, you might have seen me getting all the grand friends to be involved in dress up play. Engaging with dress up play with your children encourages you and your child to communicate with each other. You can develop your child’s vocabulary further through asking questions about the character they are playing, or what job they are pretending to do.
Dress up play encourages children to use new language; use the words that an Astronaut or Teacher or Ballerina uses. It helps them to understand other’s feelings, behaviours and way of living by pretending. Most of all children are developing their wide and endless imagination. Their mind can travel anywhere and will make the connections with anything that you may not even think of. So next time when you are looking for play ideas, chose dress up play and have fun for hours.
No! you don’t need to have store bought expensive costumes, create your costumes with things around the home and backyard.
Enjoy your dress up play and I would love to see your dress ups too!
We ask families and playgroups to keep COVID restrictions and hygiene protocols in mind when providing dress up items at playgroup.