Recently the children at nursery have really enjoyed building and exploring dens. We know that some of you may be thinking ‘Again?’, ‘Is that all they’ve done today?’, ‘What have they learnt?’. As well as dens bringing our little ones so much joy, they also open up many learning opportunities!
Den building allows the children to develop their creativity and imaginations. They have to think about what equipment they need to construct their den, where they are going to build it, how big is it going to be and who is going to help. All of these factors link to areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage, with children’s thinking and problem-solving skills constantly being challenged and developed in the den building process.
Another key skill the children learn through den building is ‘team work’ which is a critical skill for when they grow up. Children will learn a range of skills from each other when building, as well as working together to move heavy objects, hang material etc. This helps them to develop their communication skills and provides them with the opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts, agree on an outcome and put this into practice.
Physical development also plays a big part of den building as it develops their gross motor skills, strengthens muscles and promotes fitness – especially if they are running back to their den from a big monster that has escaped into the garden! Dens also provide the children with privacy, where they can get lost in their own world away from adult intervention. There’s something about being inside your own den that makes everything more exciting and the children relish from taking ownership of their own space.
Next time you think about throwing out old towels, duvet covers, giant boxes etc. have a go at building a den with your little ones at home – we would love to see the results!
Happy den building! x
Rachel – Nursery Manager (Muddy Boots Poppleton)