What can you make?

Big Idea Area



The objects from the brown bags in the box, displayed in small containers
small table
space for creating on both the table and the floor
Additional objects for creating: e.g. plastic bottle tops, wooden rods, cds, corks, buttons, wool, cotton, grains, paper coffee cups, boxes, plastic bottles, bark, stones, shells, sand
Books about water conservation, recycling and protecting the environment

Set Up


Experimentaion Independant


Questions were asked to explore the children’s use of materials, to support their paths of learning and to engage the children in meaningful discussions about environmental sustainability

a wide variety of different recycled and reused materials were collected and displayed on a small table with a cleared space on the floor next to the table

Children were encouraged to freely explore and build with the different materials as they wanted during the activity sessions

Educators observed the children and gave them the opportunity to move in and out of the learning centre freely; develop curiosity, explore different materials and be creative in how they could use the different resources; develop their own ideas and learn through peer interaction and engagement; construct the path of how experiences evolve and use relevant resource and reference material to validate learning; move materials in and around different play areas and use them in their play.

Meaningful conversations occurred through discussions about environmental sustainability and how reusing and recycling can reduce waste and protect our natural resources. There was a particular focus on classifying what evolves naturally from our planet and what people have created.

Coffee cups were used to make castles and explore balance.
Buttons used for sorting into colours, shapes and sizes
Wooden rods for sorting by size and colour as well as exploring concepts of balance, positioning, size, weight , height

When looking at individual materials and books the educators talked about what they look like; their texture; where they may have come from; how we can use the materials in our daily life and in our play; how we could recycle materials, reuse things, reduce waste of resources, reuse or recycle materials at home and at the centre


Area of environmental sustainability encompasses the opportunity for intentional teaching as it has a deliberate and purposeful message in today’s society

The box allowed children, educators and families to draw on knowledge, experience and behaviours and discuss hot these impact on broader social issues

The opportunity extended and built upon children’s individual ability to construct meaning with peers and adults and encourage a positive attitude in what we can do for our environment

Further explorations may include paper recuyling, protecting natural waterways and animals habitats or how to reuse water

EYLF Outcomes

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of belonging
1.1 Children feel safe, secure and supported
1.2 Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter- dependence, resilience and sense of agency.

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world
2.1 – Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
3.1 – Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

4.1 – Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence,creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
4.2 – Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating
4.3 – Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another
4.4 – Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place,technologies and natural and precessed materials

The ability to empower children with information and resources about environmental sustainability was the key to ensure they take increased responsibility and are accountable for their actions to reduce waste and reuse and recycle our resources as a lifelong undertaking. It was an opportunity to develop a connection between different settings and that this information is transferable and can be used at any time. A child’s ability to belong in more than one community suggests that environmental sustainability is gradually achievable when we enrich children’s learning. Children’s active involvement defined what they knew or came to know, what they can do and what is valuable in our social and natural environments.

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

General Discussion

Children’s own play, interpretations and learning was valuable and relevant as it placed environmental sustainability into the context of everyday living. This opportunity extended and built on children’s individual ability to construct meaning with peers and adults and encourage a positive attitude in what we can do for our environment.