No Toys Week

In the run up to Christmas, our preschool at Woodlands in Harefield rose to the challenge of ‘No Toys Week’. Read their manager Dawn’s inspiring account of what happened –

No toys week: Day one

This morning the children entered the preschool to find that all of their toys had disappeared!  But a surprise had been left in their place. A beautiful Christmas tree filled with lights. We played Christmas music as I handed out the decorations for the children to hang on the trees branches.  It was then 9am (usually tidy up time but to our delight the room was as clean as a whistle!)  We had welcome time and then the doorbell rang. Who could it be?  It was the man delivering our fruit and vegetables for the week. Usually we put it straight into the kitchen but today we spent time looking at the produce from the farm, we discussed how it grew, we used number language including talking about more and less.  We then spent time with our key workers in small groups. The children talked about what we would do this week in a nursery with no toys. They said they would play husbands, walking tag and make pictures. What great ideas!  A group of children went into the garden, instead of the usual bikes, scooters and toys the garden was bare!  The children were not fazed and had a great time pretending to be dinosaurs and princesses. There was so much imagination language to be heard!  After lunch one of the children banged their leg. Another child suggested getting the doctors kit out to make them feel better. I said we wouldn’t be able to get the toys out but maybe we could make our own. They were so excited and rushed to find paper and scissors to make their own plasters and bandages to look after each other with.  They then spent time looking after each other and taking about how they were feeling.

Today has been a great day, the children have really enjoyed themselves and the adults were happy for the children to initiate activities. The children’s behaviour was fantastic and there were no arguments over sharing toys!

We’re looking forward to day two!

No toys week: Day two

Today is day two of no toys week. Some of the children came in to the preschool a little confused. Some had thought that we only had no toys for one day! Little did they know that we had taken on the challenge for the whole week? “Where are the cars?” One child asked. “Locked away.” Said another as she pointed to the closed cabinet.

At welcome time we the children were reminded that this week was no toys week and that we could make our own fun and games! At group time we had a little discussion about what we would like to do today, some children asked to go in the garden and some children asked to do some cutting and sticking with junk modelling, where all kinds of exciting things were made. A robot, a “bug ben and holly” and even a Father Christmas.” The children in the garden decided to take out a big box and turn it in to a boat, “row, row, row your boat.” They sang. One child had some pretend oars that she used to row her boat “to the shore.” We also sat in the play house and sang some songs together too.

We took the opportunity to have a dress rehearsal of our Christmas performance too, the children are doing really well learning all of the words to the songs. Their costumes look great too.

After lunch we had another vote, some children voted to go in the garden and some voted to do some painting. In the garden we made our own bear hunt where we got stuck in mud, stumbled through the forest and tiptoed through the cave.

We’ve never seen the nursery looking so tidy too which is just lovely because it means we can spend more time having lots of fun and not tidying.

Their imaginations have really shone through and behaviour has been fabulous again today.

We look forward to more child initiated fun again tomorrow

No toys week: Day three

We are half way through our no toys week and all of the children seem to be really enjoying it.  In the morning some of the older children used the junk modelling resources to make spaceships and rockets, others made cars and boats. While the younger children made a huge Christmas tree on the carpet and decorated it with coloured discs. They then used the discs as stepping stones over the ‘water.” In the garden they found that Jack Frost had been and left his frost on the pirate ship. The children used sticks to make marks in the frost.

In the afternoon the older children helped to make cloud dough using flour and baby oil, we added some peppermint flavouring. We talked about what we could smell, some children said they could smell chewing gum and others said it was like swimming pool water!! Crazy!!

We’ve made some salt dough tree decorations but they’re still a little bit wet so we can paint them next week.

We can wait to welcome our elf friend Mr Jingles tomorrow.

No toys week: Day four

We are nearing the end of no toys week. The children have taken to it so well. They have been making their own fun.

This morning the children were greeted by Mr Jingles the elf. He has come to visit us all the way from the North Pole. He came through his special elf door and left a sprinkling of glitter behind. In his letter he said he was a bit cheeky so we wonder what mischief he will get up to while we are not here.

Some of the children decided to have a snowball fight so they screwed up some paper in to a ball and threw them around the room…oh what a mess but so much fun!

In the morning the younger children went for a walk, they wrapped up warm and went to Bitterne. While they were out they had and hot chocolate. Yum yum!!

In the afternoon we used the cloud dough in the garden and moulded it in to different shapes on the builder’s tray.

Only one more day left of no toys week, I wonder what fun we can make tomorrow.

No toys week: Day five

We are at the end of our no toys week. We have had so much fun.  Today children have pretended to be police men, kings and queens using any props they can find around the nursery as capes and crowns. They have decorated glass jars with some sparkly sequins to be used as lanterns.  In the garden they have rowed across a cold river in a pretend boat whilst singing row, row, row your boat and played what’s the time Mr Wolf.

There has been calm across the whole nursery this week without the toys. Children have used their imaginations and made their own fun. They have taken the time to sit together and read and share stories. Behaviour has been brilliant and there has been no disagreements about toys at all.

I think we have learnt a lot this week. We definitely learnt that we do not need as many toys out all of the time.

We have really enjoyed not having lots of toys to tidy up, that’s for sure!

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