EYFS Focus:
9 Activities To Help Kids in Understanding The World

Playful ways to make it easier.

We can never really get our heads around this incredible planet and understand the world we live in, can we? But this EYFS area is definitely a great place to start.

Here are some ideas to make this process even more enjoyable for the little ones.

The World

This area of Understanding the World focuses on children exploring their immediate environment and observing the way it functions and changes.

1. The understanding the world activity: Sensory Baskets

Age group: Under 2s

In a nutshell – It’s no secret that sensory baskets are a brilliant motivation for toddlers to explore different materials and their properties. How about we multiply the fun? Consider creating different collections of items that all belong to the same environment. Not only will this give the little ones a chance to create logical connections in their minds, but you get the opportunity to observe the things that interest each individual child the most.

More inspiration: – Take a look at this list of items that you can include in your themed collections.

2. The understanding the world activity: Composting

Age group: 2-3

In a nutshell – The ‘magic’ of watching food leftovers turning into soil might be just the way to keep your little ones active and foster their curiosity about the outdoor environment. Besides, what a great, hands-on recycling class it is! Later on, you can use the soil for planting activities and take along this lovely, non-fiction book that can inspire gardening even among the youngest ones.

More inspiration: Check out these four, fun ways to introduce kids to composting!

3. The understanding the world activity: Wildlife Gardening

Age group: 4-5

In a nutshell – A simple twig pile in an undisturbed corner of the garden or a rotting tree trunk is enough to attract a range of wildlife to your setting’s outdoor area. It can be a true delight for the little ones to observe how different insects and invertebrates find shelter, feed, and collaborate.

More inspiration: Head over to this article to find out some other simple ways to attract more wildlife creatures to your setting.

People and Communities

People and Communities is all about encouraging kids to find out similarities and differences between their friends’ families, traditions and personalities and their own.

1. The understanding the world activity: Family Photos

Age group: Under 2s

In a nutshell – Ask parents for some pictures of family members and relatives (or even pets!) and create a memory box that you can share with the babies randomly during the day. Feeling a bit more crafty ? Try making an actual family tree, or a wall display, or a photobook – any way you approach it will work so long as the little ones can feel connected with their home environment when they’re at the nursery.

More inspiration: Here’s how to create a Familiar Faces Basket

2. The understanding the world activity: Holiday Bear

Age group: 2-3

In a nutshell – Choose some of the kids’ favourite toys and designate them as travel companions so that every time someone goes on a holiday, a special day trip, or simply to visit their grandparents, they can bring the toy along too. The children will get an opportunity to talk about what they and their ‘Holiday Bear’ have seen and done and everyone in the nursery becomes more interested in how different families and cultures function.

3. The understanding the world activity: Guest Visits

Age group: 4-5

In a nutshell – When your little ones are familiar with their nursery community, friends and family, it might be a good time to extend their cultural understanding and introduce them to interesting people from the local community. The visitors can talk about their occupations, hobbies, events and lifestyle. Make sure you give the guests guidelines so that they know to expect certain questions and encourage them to bring in some interesting bits and pieces to show the kids.

More inspiration: Teach Preschool prepared a nifty guide on how to prepare for a visitor.


Thanks to this part of Understanding the World, children can learn about different types of technology and recognise its role in daily life at home or in the nursery.

1. The understanding the world activity: Interactive Books

Age group: Under 2s

In a nutshellMost babies and toddlers are deeply interested in how things work and how they can be controlled. They can get engaged with everyday objects for hours, but if you want to step things up, try some of the lovely, touch-and-feel books with felt flaps on every page, such as ‘Red, Blue, Peekaboo’ . Not only will the kids be enchanted by simple mechanical movements but also introduced to the world of reading!

More inspiration: Check out this list of toddler-friendly, interactive books (some of them can even make sounds!)

2. The understanding the world activity: Dark Nook

Age group: 2-3

In a nutshell – Is there an empty corner in your playroom? It could be a perfect spot to experiment with simple technology such as lights and music players! Start by putting a few chairs in a circle and covering them with a blanket to create a fort. Put some small lamps with colourful bulbs, light boxes, flashlights and a CD player inside and let the little ones explore the game of light and shadows in an ambient atmosphere.

More inspiration: Take a look at these seven, simple ideas for building a DIY fort!

3. The understanding the world activity: Making Movies

Age group: 4-5

In a nutshell – At this age, many children are already quite competent with technology, so instead of simply presenting how something works, give them the chance to get some hands-on experience with technology and encourage them to make their own movie! You can start with story stones to come up with scenario ideas.

More inspiration: Run out of ideas? Take a look at these 6 simple video ideas.

50 Free EYFS Activities

Interested in more? Download our full guide with 50 stunning EYFS activities, completely free.

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