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Stones and shells

Three year old Arabella is sat at a mirror, playing alone with some objects. She sings to her self and uses the objects in various different ways.

Good for looking at

  • Curiosity
  • Imagination
  • Materials
  • Environments
  • Object play
  • Solitary play


  • How do we know what Arabella is interested in?  Be specific, look out for body language, actions, gestures.
  • How does she engage with these objects?
  • What is she learning from her play?
  • Which development areas, characteristics of learning are evident?
  • What is valuable about the materials provided as learning resources?


What are your thoughts about:

  • How and what is Arabella learning?
  • The value of the environment and materials for Arabella’s curiosity and learning?
  • The value of this type of play for Arabella?


What would you do to:

  • Encourage other children to join Arabella’s game and support her to use her ideas in co-operative games with others?
  • Extend Arabella’s learning – e.g. supplying other materials to develop the game further or would you possibly join in with the game?

What next:

  • Does your setting spark the curiosity and imagination of  your children?
  • Do you need to encourage more of this kind of creative object play and learning for the children in your setting?
  • Could you create an area where children can explore in this way in your setting?