Children often use toys and materials in unexpected and creative ways. A basket can be a hat, a cup can be a boat and a block can make a great telephone. Seeing your child play in these ways, is a sign that your child is learning to use their thinking skills and solve problems.
Even very young children can make discoveries on their own. Try not to rush in when your child is looking for teddy, or when they are finding it hard to build a brick tower on their own. Give them time to think, and then, if needed, give a little help or encouragement. By not rushing in and solving young children’s day-to-day problems, you can help them to develop confidence and increase thinking ability.
'Free and found' is a term for things like food packaging, shells, pine cones, cotton reels, kitchen roll tubes, sticks and used tickets.
Nursery staff, childminders and teachers use these resources all the time to encourage creativity and problem solving. If you want to do this at home, you should always check that items are clean, and look out for loose pieces and sharp edges before use. You could: