As we know, it is important for us as practitioners to nurture and develop the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and learning within our settings. We want children to have the vital skills that encourage them to become lifelong learners. These characteristics focus on how children learn, the thinking that takes place and the attitudes that they display.

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning

To recap, the characteristics are split into three categories:

  • Playing and exploring – engagement
  • Active Learning – motivation
  • Critical Thinking – thinking

By the spaces we create and the resources we provide, we can give children the freedom to explore, discover and make links within their learning. Here are some examples of activities that will support children with developing some of these characteristics:

Activities to promote and support Playing and Exploring

Treasure Baskets – Creating treasure baskets filled with engaging and open-ended resources will help to develop a child’s curiosity and stimulate interest in their learning and play. These could contain a range of objects or resources such as natural materials, different types of pebbles or metallics from our WOW Pack collections. Children can explore using their senses e.g., observing how light bounces off the different surfaces or by examining the different materials, shapes, and patterns.

Sensory Bottles – Make sensory bottles using different coloured/sized potion bottles and resources from the Messy Play WOW Pack. Fill with a variety of treasures and interesting objects. Children may wish to add pebbles that rattle, things that float or deliciously fragranced herbs and spices. This activity is great for enticing natural curiosity and can be explored in a variety of ways.

Activities to support Active Learning

Construction Challenges – Set challenges for the children using different bricks from the Construction WOW pack. Who can build the tallest tower? Who can design and build a chair that we can sit on? How can they transport the materials from one place to another? Children will develop their concentration skills and resilience as they stretch to place the last brick onto the top of their tower or have to start again because their creation has toppled over. Think of the sense of achievement they will feel once the task has been achieved!

Designing Obstacle Courses – Design and build obstacle courses for friends to navigate around, using the different types of bricks and boulders from the Construction WOW pack. Create walls and other barriers that children must move around in different ways, balance on without falling or carefully jump over. Extend this activity by timing how long it takes to complete the course. Can the children beat their times?

Activities to support Critical Thinking

Creating Landscapes and Magical Worlds – Observe as children weave magic and imagination into their play, bringing their ideas to life. Shiny pebbles may become spaceships whilst donuts could transform into the wheels on a vehicle. Which metallics will be used to make the different buildings for the lost city?  With open ended resources, children are given the opportunity to develop their ideas and make links within their learning.

Making links – Share and explore with the children lots of resources that are made from or represent different materials such as metallics, wooden pebbles, construction materials etc. Challenge the children to think of where they have seen these materials being used in everyday life. Go on a walk and see if they can spot the different materials in their environment. Why not add some real-life examples so that the children can compare and contrast?

Further activity ideas and provocations can be found on the practitioner cards within our BRAND NEW range of WOW packs. For more information on the packs, click on the links below: