Appeal to all children and are satisfying to use.

Lead to learning.

Lead to development of manipulative skills.

Are useful to any and every stage whether the child is still playing alone or as part ofa group.

If we break down the skills and techniques required and produce suitable materials and tools every child can play at any stage. The learning which takes place in the later stages can be extended by structuring the tools and implements provided.

Children may need some help with handling and technique but they do not need our ideas.

Natural materials can be messy, even potentially dangerous. Careful presentation and protection should avoid this.

Children can be trained to be aware of and cope with any mess.

Any material, implements or tools used by children should be kept in good condition and tidily stored. Children should help with this where possible or be made aware of the care adults are taking if the work involved is too much for their limited strength and ability.