A piece of fabric is one of the most basic things you could have in your resources, yet the possibilities are endless! Easy to find, make and use, fabrics can be fashioned into many things for our child to use in their play and learning. Fabrics are all around us in everyday life; on our bodies, in our house, car, pretty much everywhere we go! Think of all the textures, patterns and designs you have seen in your life: there are probably thousands. Babies interact with fabric as soon as they’re born, think about how long some parents spend picking out that first little outfit for them to go home in. So we all have a relationships with fabrics even if we don’t put much thought into it, people who know me will tell you, for example, that I love velvet texture and a tartan pattern.
A little bit of history…
Humans have continued to invent with fabric throughout time, did you know the first pair of jeans was made in 1873? It is also not well known that the ancient greeks and romans did not always wear white, flowing fabrics as we are often led to believe, in fact they often wore coloured pieces, dyed in reds, blues or yellows. If you think of any character from history and how you would dress up as them, odds are you think of what they’re wearing first!
So how can fabrics be incorporated best into our children’s play and learning? Pieces of fabrics, we refer to them as ‘wrappers’, can become anything. One piece of fabric could be a dragon skin, crocodile skin, tortoise shell, moth wings, echo warrior if it had a colour tone and texture reflective of these possibilities. This stimulates a child’s imagination more than a recognisable pre-made outfit. Imagine coloured fabrics that can be twisted into an animal tail or wings or draped across one shoulder as a tribal dancer or pinned to the shoulder so the child becomes a fairy or superhero.
Here are some wee suggestions for activities:
Take a hair scrunchy and tie four or five short lengths of ribbons to them. Wear then on the wrist as a magic maker or super power. The children will be much better at imagining than us.
Use fabrics to create a secret parcel. Place a few items on the fabric length then roll. Each roll will cover the item then roll a few times and place the next item. Then play guess what’s inside as each child takes a turn at rolling it out.
Remember: you can tag your adventures with @adventureswithalicesharp on instagram!