Enabling Environments: Equipment - snuggly den...sensory tales...tub tables

Ruth Thomson
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The latest early years resources with an emphasis on sensory appeal, eco-friendliness, comfort or convenience are spotted by Ruth Thomson.

SNUGGLY DEN (£160) and TEEPEE (£120)


Millwood Education's snuggly den and tepee make perfect private spaces for young children. The den (100 x 100 x 36cm) is designed with a low front for easy access and can be filled with balls, cushions or blankets for a cosier feel.

The tepee (157cm high x 130cm diameter base) folds simply and easily and has two translucent back panels. It can be used inside or out and comes with hoops for tent pegs.

Both den and teepee are available in suede or cord and come in a choice of purple, blue, red or green.


SENSORY TALES (£40 per storybag)


PlayToZ has developed a set of 'sensory' storybags based on multicultural tales from Barefoot Books.

Owner Sue Gascoyne was inspired to develop the storybags after seeing children of different ages entranced by one of the tales.

Accompanying each book is a set of sensory story props and a card offering 20 to 30 activity suggestions for extending children's learning.

The open-ended props have a strong sensory element, and the activity sheet includes ideas on how to incorporate all the senses, including taste, into the storytelling session.

'The bags are all based on books that happen to be multicultural but are gorgeous books in their own right,' explains Ms Gascoyne. 'The products aim to bring the books to life and amplify the sensory qualities of the stories. I wanted to create something where sensory stimulation was at the heart of the product and children could respond creatively to the resources.'

The stories, written by Laurie Krebs, are:

We're Riding on a Caravan: An adventure on the silk road - comes with purses (Chinese, silk and transparent), 'diamonds' (large and small), silk cocoons, shells, cinnamon sticks, camels (puppet and wooden), wooden spoons.

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian festival tale - comes with bag of mini costumed people, Inca ocarina, pan pipes, purse, crayons and llama puppet.

We're Sailing Down the Nile: A journey through Egypt - comes with scarabs, papyrus, flutes, wooden boats and a camel puppet.

We're Sailing to Galapagos: A week in the Pacific - comes with a sea sound shaker, a decorated football rattle, shells, a turtle and a bird puppet. Further books include We're Roaming in the Rainforest: An amazon adventure, We All Went on Safari: A counting journey through Tanzania, and Off We Go to Mexico: An adventure in the sun.




Eco-friendly toys made entirely from recycled plastic milk bottles are now available from Learning Resources.

The range is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), considered one of the safest plastics around, and contains no traceable amounts of pthalates, BPV or PVC, according to the manufacturer. The toys are also designed without external coatings, so eliminating the need for paint.

The range includes a 17-piece tea set (£19.95), an 18-piece block set (£17.95) in a variety of shapes, and a recycling truck (£19.95), which features three sorting holes (bottles, cans and paper), a tilting recycling bin and an open/shut rear door.

The toys are completely recyclable, as is the packaging, which is corrugated boxes with no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties.


TUB TABLES (£100.94)


These folding tub tables from Gopak could prove a welcome space-saving resource for packaway pre-schools and nurseries that have limited room. The three clear plastic tubs that lower into the table top have lids and are ideal for holding small-world play, craft materials, pens and pencils. The tables measure 122cm x 76cm, come in four primary colours and can be supplied in six different heights. Additional plastic tubs are also available for purchase.






If you have a new product that you would like reviewed, e-mail details to: ruth.thomson@haymarket.com

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