Open accessibilty tools

EYFS resources

Take a look at all our EYFS resources supporting a playful approach to developing a sense of the past. Useful for KS1 teachers too!


Objects are a key part of children’s exploration of their world. Whether that’s everyday or historical objects, the things that children encounter help ignite their curiosity and fire their imaginations. Why not use the resources on this page in your settings to support that exploration or, better still, why not bring your children to our museums and galleries where they can meet amazing objects up close? Huge or tiny, familiar or needing explanation, the objects children come across in our venues can spark conversations, link to children’s interests or even trigger new ones.

Each Tees Valley museum has a different programme of workshops for EYFS groups, linked to their collections or their building and grounds. If you don’t see the topic you would like being offered, it’s always worth contacting your closest museum and asking them if it might be something they could provide.

If it’s dinosaurs you’re studying, then Kirkleatham Museum’s dino hunt and dig might be just the thing. Great for learning dinosaur names and studying real fossils. Kirkleatham also offer a ‘Takeover workshop’ in which children can learn about what a museum is and all the roles that staff do. Take a look at this film to see the five roles they explore during their visit.

The takeover workshop also featured in the March edition of Nursery World.


You can search all our workshops here.

Choose the EYFS tab and find out more about the sessions.

All our museums are great for families too, so encouraging children to go back to the museum at weekends or in school holidays can help build their cultural capital.

Coming soon: The Museum of Old Things is a toolkit for creating a role play museum in your setting or classroom. Our Museum in your Classroom is hugely popular with Key Stages 1 and 2. It provides a framework for developing an exhibition in your school through student-led learning. The Museum of Old Things enables EYFS practitioners to harness the same child-led approach but through play-based learning.

Developing a Museum of Old Things helps children in key elements of understanding the world. Whilst it can obviously support understanding of Past and Present, the focus could also be on other ELGs such as People, Culture and Communities or even the Natural World. In the process of developing their own play museum, children will have opportunities to achieve all the prime area ELGs.

What’s the oldest thing children have in their house? No, not their grandma – although perhaps …! This handout  gives children a step-by-step guide to drawing and writing about something old that they have at home. It makes a great home project for Reception children and could even be something that nursery children take home to do as a family. Or you could work on this together in your settings.

Why not share this story of Grandma’s Teddy created by 5 year old Sam from Redcar, using ‘The Oldest Thing in the House’ sheet.

The latest in our set of themed resources for teachers, Toys and games from our past gives you lovely images of toys in our collections plus playful ideas that each image could prompt. Can they move like Teddy bears, make a giant snakes and ladders grid in the playground, learn some old-fashioned skipping rhymes or set up a doll’s hospital?

There’s also a gallery of old photos of lots of us from Tees Valley Museums playing with our toys when we were young. Why not get children to work together to make a gallery of photos of them playing? Add parents or other family members to prompt talk about the past.

Want to help children to think about environmental sustainability in a positive way? Why not use a toys loans box or toys you have in school? Our FREE resource for Reception and Key Stage 1 teachers offers five cunning ideas for curriculum-based classroom activities.

“I love this! what a brilliant way to link sustainability and history”. – Teacher

Increasingly young children are aware of both the climate crisis and the ecological crisis that we are facing. We can’t pretend these aren’t happening, so how can we introduce ideas around more sustainable approaches to living in a positive way for young children?

This resource provides activity ideas to playfully prompt discussions about these serious issues, developing key historical concepts at the same time. Each activity is easy to resource. Knowledge and progression and core vocabulary is also highlighted.

Sounds of the sea

This video with wonderful local author Lisette Auton shows children how to make a ‘Sounds of the sea’ game, using paper and pens. It’s called “Splish, splash, splosh!”

There’s also a handy pdf version here.

In this video, Lisette Auton explains how she makes little books to jot down her ideas and shows children how they can easily make them too. All you need is a piece of A4 paper and some scissors! These little books are perfect for mark making and encouraging early writing.

Once you’ve watched the film, why not encourage children to have a go at making doodle diaries – little books in which they can record the things they notice on an outside walk. Use them to help children explore the local neighbourhood around your setting. You can focus on whatever fits with your topic or interests – What can children hear? What colours can they see? Who do they notice? Or even what numbers can they spot?

Preston Park Museum have put together a range of resources and activities inspired by the outdoor education sessions we normally do with schools and families at the museum. Discover more about the Museum’s park and gardens, find out about urban welly walks and how to hunt minibeasts. With lots of things to make and do, get inspired to find out more about the natural world around us.

Loans boxes are a great resource for sparking curiosity and introducing children to the past in a very concrete way. The EYFS frequently suggest using objects with children to prompt language and thinking, not least in Understanding the World. Objects in loans boxes are chosen to be robust and handleable with care, so are great for circle time or small group work. You can also often supplement them with things from home or charity shops that can be played with and explored.

All our partners offer loans boxes and you can find out more about those here. If your new to loans boxes, the page has a video of one of our Learning Officers that’s full of tips on how to get the most from them.