This sensory experience focusses on touch, sight and smell and highlights the ‘Hundred Languages’ (within the Reggio Approach) where children should have the opportunity to express themselves in 100 different ways (through playdough and natural materials in this case). The activity involves the parent being the mentor and being the co-learner, led by the children’s interests and questions.

Resources needed:

• Non-coloured playdough (made from flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, oil)

• Gum nuts, pine cones, twigs and stones

• Herbs including basil, parsley and chives etc.


1. Take a nature walk and collect various leaves and twigs etc

2. Place “like with like” – the children will find it easier if all of the pine nuts are in one area, the stones are in another etc

3. Help the children make patterns in the playdough by choosing a “loose part” such as the collected leaves or gum nuts to imprint into the dough

4. The children can create and explore patterns (made from natural items such as twigs and stones etc.) and mix in herbs, leaves and plants from the garden

5. Encourage the children to explore the differences in scent. Children can also use the items to make a picture (e.g., a face using the natural naturals twigs and stones etc)

Extension of Activity: (at home)

• Drawing (natural environment), sculpting, clay modelling

• Read children’s books on famous artists such as Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet and get the children to copy the designs

• Loose Parts Play (materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials such as rocks, gravel, sand etc.)

• Nature collage

Links to Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF):

• Children are connected with and contribute to their world

• Learning through play

• Intentional teaching

• Ongoing learning and reflective learning

• Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

• Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

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