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Posted by in Aistear, Arts, SESE

Covering the topic of Materials with infants is a big hit, especially with the boys – our classroom is invariably transformed into a building site!

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All the children become block layers, carpenters, plasterers etc. for the duration of the topic. We learn all about different materials and the jobs that go with them. We learn some new descriptive vocabulary and also learn about personal safety. Some sand and a simple work bench brings so much fun and creativity to the classroom . I have picked up hard hats along the way and I have kept a few of the hi-vis vests from RSA to help the children feel like real builders!

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A building site roleplay area has so many literacy opportunities!

materials roleplay

Small World 

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Our construction small world is made from sand and some construction toys in a tuff tray. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay looking as in the picture for very long!



We look at a variety of materials including wood, glass, paper and fabric and we look at where they come from and what they are used for. We explore a variety of properties for each material and the wealth of vocabulary that comes from this topic is amazing!

We try to link an art project to each material! Here is our version of stained glass windows made with tissue paper and sticky contact!
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If you are linking your topic to ‘Homes’, you might like to check out our home creations by clicking here! 

Picture Books For Materials! 

The main story for the topic of materials is the traditional story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’. I have a few versions, big books, board books and regular picture books too. Each one is similar but has differences that lead to great discussions with little ones. We spend a lot of time looking at various elements of the story as well as doing activities such as sequencing!

If you are looking for a simple 4 part sequencing activity or the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ you can download this activity by clicking here!


Some other picture books I use for the topic are pictured below! I would especially recommend the ‘Homes’ book. It is a great book to help look at a variety of types of homes from all over the world and the materials that are used to construct them! Also the ‘I Am A Builder’ book is fantastic for detailing the job of a builder and introduces lots of new vocabulary to the children in a pictorial way!



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