Provocation Pods

 Aim of the game:

Children explore and learn about their world through play and eventually learn the words to be able to describe their experiences. Open ended resources that encourage creative thinking enable children to explore concepts and ideas about their world. This is all great for language development as children become fascinated, curious and inspired to understand and communicate their findings like little scientists. These Provocation Pods inspire imagination and higher level thinking skills which support language development beyond simple vocabulary and sentences.



 What you will need:

Provocation Pods are collections of fascinating objects, materials or artefacts that inspire higher level thought and imagination so this opens up a world of possibility for you. First though, you will need a container with a lid and somewhere to spread the items on to:

  A cardboard box, old suitcase, tray with cover or washing basket with blanket to cover 

 A mat, blanket or oil cloth for your child to lay the items out on

This is where your imagination comes into it, we recommend collections of objects made from natural materials. Here are some of our favourites:

 Old leather shoes and bags

 Different sized buttons

 Old keys of different sizes

 Old silver or brassware items

 Old Jewellery items such as necklaces, rings and bracelets 

 Other natural items such small cuts of wood in different shapes/sizes, collections of twigs, pine cones, dried leaves, loofas, pebbles etc


 Warning! Although preschool children  are less likely to put things in their mouth be mindful of choking hazards and supervise your child at all times during this activity.


 How to play:

  • Introduce the game to your child by presenting them with your box or container of items and saying “I wonder what’s inside…” directing the statement to your child.
  • Before opening, allow your child the opportunity to explore their imagination and try to guess what may be inside. If you need to you can use prompts such as “what could it be?”, “any ideas?” or “what do you think?”
  • Allow them to open or unveil the pod and explore the contents. Allow them to lay or spill out the contents onto your oil cloth or blanket if they wish.
  • Follow their lead in play, sit back and watch how they discover and explore the contents.
  • Allow them to use their imagination and ask you questions but try not to answer their questions directly. Instead, encourage further thought and intrigue. For example, your child might ask “what is it?” instead of telling what it is you could say something like “hmmm, looks interesting – what do you think?”  or they might ask “what does it do?”, try to inspire their thinking by saying “let’s find out”.



 How to extend:

  • Make paper and pencils available so your child can draw what they’ve found 
  • Encourage your child to tell you about their discovery or create a story from the objects
  • Put items inside items to inspire their imagination further. For example, if you use old bags or purses why not put little notes inside some of them or some small objects.
  • Collect items together with your child for your pod when you’re out and about e.g. make a tree pod by collecting twigs, leaves, horse chestnuts etc or a pebble one when you take a trip to the seaside.
  • Help your child to learn about concepts of size, shape or colour by having a collection of the same items (e.g. shoes or buttons) but in varying forms. Simply comment about the different attributes (e.g. “this button’s really small…. and this button’s square”)



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