Early Years Podcast

Enriching Learning Opportunities Outdoors

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Den Making by Hayley Winter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Den making is much more about the process of building it than the wow of the product at the end. Although children can get pretty creative when it comes to building their dens!

Our role as educators is to facilitate the play by providing suitable resources, spaces for den building and an understanding when to provide support and when to stand back and enable children to work through ideas themselves. 

What do I need for den building:

First of all you need a space. Now this doesn’t have to be a huge forest area (although if you have one, I’m already jealous!) It can be a simple garden space and that’s fine; it’s not about the amount of space you have but the learning and play which is drawn out of it. Some fabulous resources available to buy to enhance your construction experience is this amazing outdoor den making kit. 

What should I do as an adult?

Now you’ve got your equipment, it’s time to start. But let’s not just stand around and expect the children to know what to do with the equipment. Just like any parts of hands-on learning, children need to explore the resources and adults need to model how to use them. As an adult, we are to facilitate their learning, model, extend their play, inspire and support ideas. Once we have modelled the children sharing ideas and using the equipment, children are often able to come up with their own ideas, problem solve and critically think – a great way to see those characteristics of effective teaching and learning.  

Benefits of den making:
  • Being imaginative, playing ‘make believe’ and creating role play situations 
  • Developing language skills, engaging in conversations with a friend, listening, discussing how to build the den 
  • Learning how to cooperate and negotiate with others, working together to build a structure 
  • Developing physical skills – building and constructing, spatial awareness, choosing resources 
  • Calculating and estimating, gaining ideas of size, space, shape and measure 
  • Being outside!  

Den making kits available at TTS:  outdoor den making kitpirate den making kitcottage garden den making kit 

Don’t forget to tag us on social media in your den building creations

Thank you to Hayley Winter for writing this blog

Hayley Winter is an Early Years teacher and leader who is passionate about learning through play. She shares simple and effective teaching ideas for 3-5 year olds on social media. Find out more over on her website: //www.allaboutearlyyears.com [allaboutearlyyears.com]

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