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Children love weaving; why not set up a panel where items of nature can be interwoven? This can be a temporary or permanent addition to an outdoor space in your childcare centre.
As seen in this photograph from hobbycraft, the panel can be set up using a tree, or any handy post e.g. a shade structure pole. The horizontal outer frame can be made with stout branches with all twigs trimmed off, lashed to the trees/poles. Create the verticals using inexpensive weatherproof baling twine, or jute twine. It is easier to weave if the ‘warp’ verticals are individually tied off, so that taught verticals are achieved.
Children can weave with all sorts of natural material:
- long tendrils from vines,
- ark ribbons e.g. from eucalyptus such as Eucalyptus Vimminalis (ribbon gum),
- long grass stems,
- flower heads,
- jute string,
- thin, long, straight twigs/branches,
- strappy leaves e.g. lomandra,
- anything long and pliable and safe to touch!
Children can work at the weaving collaboratively and adjust it as they go along. Weaving is excellent for the development of fine motor skills, hand and eye coordination, concentration, communication skills (for this larger scale weaving where multiple children could be collecting materials and weaving), and of course creativity – this is an activity where there is no right or wrong!
The sense of satisfaction completing a line of weaving is immediate, and this experience can be extended from the individual to a group with this large outdoor weaving panel. Children will love the rough but natural aesthetic, and will appreciate that it can be readily changed to become something new and different.
Including a weaving panel in your childcare centre will also provide marvellous scaffolding opportunities:
- where does bark come from? Why does it come off some trees and not others?
- why do flowers and grass lose their colour after a few days?
- what is a warp and weft? What is a loom and what is it used for?
A weaving panel such as this one is inexpensive, easily set up, maintained and deconstructed (over a holiday period for example), and provides children with excellent opportunities for play and learning experiences. What are you waiting for!