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The ‘silly object’ game is a fantastic way of introducing metaphors and developing children’s imaginations naturally! I often use it as a pre-visit activity by taking a natural object into the classroom, playing the game, and then re-visiting the activity with a new object during the group’s outdoor learning session.
Last week I introduced the children to a slice of wood from a 15-year-old sweet chestnut tree. It’s always nice to give a bit of background information about the natural object if you can, as it often sparks lots of questions!

“Who cut the tree down?” …. My Ranger husband!

“Isn’t it bad to cut trees down?” …. Opportunity to learn about coppicing and managing the woods sustainably.

“How do you know the tree was 15 year’s old?” …. Tree ring discussion!

“What is a sweet chestnut tree?” …. Note to self, next time take along a photograph of a sweet chestnut tree, or even better, take the group on a walk to see one or bring along some seeds, leaves etc.!

Once the class were satisfied with the background information provided, I then said:

“For the next 5 minutes the slice of log can be anything you want it to be, apart from what it actually is! The rules of the game are that you are not allowed to say the same thing twice, so if someone says what you were going to say, you need to think of something else! This is helpful as it ensures everyone listens to each other’s ideas. I also suggest that where possible they do actions to show what or how their imaginary object is used! I usually start off with something very silly!

For example: “I think it’s an…. elephant’s foot!”

Here are some of year 3’s suggestions for our slice of log!

Car tyre!
Steering wheel – with actions…. moving from side to side!
Dinner plate
Pancake – chocolate spread!
Pizza – pepperoni!
+ 2 sticks = Drum!
Roundabout – with actions…. spinning in circles!
Slice of banana!
A giant’s eye!
Gruffalo’s footprint!
Chocolate cake!
Bicycle wheel!
Christmas bauble!
A smiley face!

This game provides a good introduction to metaphors by encouraging the children to use one natural object to represent another. Our woodland television also provides a springboard for the use of metaphors in nature. Today I witnessed a child doing some TV presenting using a stick and pine cone as a microphone!

Woodland TV
Tim coppicing

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