What is it?
Cuddly, soothing, gentle, relaxing, fluffy, and soft. Children love to hold or carry these. It may be something they have had for a very long time or a character toy from a favourite book or it could be a puppet, particularly the type they can get their hand/arm inside. Very often they can help younger children to get to sleep.
Why is it important?
Children need opportunities for comfort and reassurance, and they can get this from a favourite toy, for some children this will be in the form of a soft cuddly toy. The sensory pleasure of holding something soft and cuddly can provide great comfort. It can also be something children can relate to and may talk to or tell stories to. Sometimes reluctant talkers will be heard engaging in a great conversation with their teddy. All brilliant opportunities for language development.
How to bring it back
Settings should select resources which are easily cleaned in line with their regular practice for cleaning resources and infection control. Soft toys could be found anywhere in the room but certainly in the role play area, cosy corners and story areas. Staff can model using them for acting out stories e.g. The Tiger who came to Tea in role play or reading the soft toy a story anywhere in the room or outside.
Sharing with home?
Staff can remind families of the benefits of soft toys, whilst also reminding them of the need to try to keep them clean. Staff could share stories/rhymes related to any soft toys in the setting when they are having them as a story or rhyme of the week.
This is one of a weekly series of posts highlighting different spaces, experiences and interactions that practitioners have told us are not all easy to get back after the pandemic restrictions.
It’s all about playing, talking, and having fun together – so we hope they are useful. If there are any ideas you’d like us to highlight, just get in touch with your link EYESO.
For ideas about family engagement, you will find a “home” version of this post on bumps2bairns.com