Magic carpet ride

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Take one small rug, introduce the idea of a magic carpet and watch the children take off on a journey of discovery, says Diana Lawton Like many early years practitioners, I'm always on the lookout for resources to enhance our basic provision. So when I spotted a rug at a car boot sale one day, I thought it would be a good item to add our basket of outdoor play materials.

Take one small rug, introduce the idea of a magic carpet and watch the children take off on a journey of discovery, says Diana Lawton

Like many early years practitioners, I'm always on the lookout for resources to enhance our basic provision. So when I spotted a rug at a car boot sale one day, I thought it would be a good item to add our basket of outdoor play materials.

During the summer term, as children thought about holidays and trips out, we developed a mini-focus on travel. Our large construction materials outside were being used to build trains, aeroplanes and boats, and there was much discussion about journeys and destinations.

One summer morning, as I sat on the rug that was spread out on the grass, two children came to join me. I told them that I was pretending to go on a journey on my magic carpet. This was the beginning of what was to become one of our most popular and exciting play activities.

We soon had a Magic Carpet Box, which included a selection of rugs - in all shapes, sizes and patterns - along with binoculars, telescopes and cameras.

Some children were motivated to make their own telescopes, which were added to the box.

A book of aerial pictures of Yorkshire and laminated images of local well-known attractions, along with postcards sent to nursery by children on holiday, were gradually added to the box. Children brought in their holiday snaps to put in an album. This became a valuable source of information which helped us to recall and revisit experiences long after the event.

We also had a collection of books, which helped children to develop their own imaginary journeys. One of the favourites was Hupple tck hoo (Wide Eye Reading), about friendship across the world.

Diana Lawton used this idea five years ago when she worked at Otley All Saints nursery, Yorkshire

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