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The Enclosing Schema 

The enclosing schema can often be the next exploration for a child with a trajectory schema as they build on the ideas of lines to create enclosures. Children exploring an enclosuring schema will often create enclosures around other objects, themselves or during mark making. Children will explore enclosure by building structures, creating dens and by barricading themselves into spaces. 

Providing the right environment for enclosing schemas

There are lots of items that you can add to your continuous provision to enhance the experiences of a child exploring an enclosing schema. Think about how you can create treasure baskets, add loose parts to the environment and develop the seven areas of learning through an enclosing schema. 

Expressive art and design ideas

Bubble wrap art

Having lots of junk modelling materials available will provide children with the basic resources needed to be creative, to collaborate and to explore connecting. Make sure you have plenty of materials that can be used for connecting such as sticky tape, Velcro®, glue, string and staples.

What you need:

  • Bubble wrap

  • Scissors

  • Sticky tape

  • Paint brushes

  • Paint



What to do:

  • Firstly, the children need to enclose their bodies in bubble wrap, this can be their feet, hands or whole body. Alternatively, children can work in teams and enclose their partner in the bubble wrap.

  • Using the tape and scissors, children can cut and connect the bubble wrap which is also great for fine motor development. You could provide different types of tape to allow the children to work out which one works best and to explore different materials.

  • Once they’re wrapped they need to paint the bubble wrap, either with paint brushes or, if they have wrapped their feet, walking through it.

  • Finally, step or roll onto large lengths of paper to create the bubble wrap art. 

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Maths Ideas

Den Building 

Creating dens requires a lot of mathematical thinking and appeals to children exploring an enclosing schema.

What you need:

  • Den building materials: blankets, sheets, tarpaulin, barriers, crates, cardboard boxes and pegs in addition to many other scrap items

What to do:

  • The children can make dens freely, thinking about the sizes and shapes of objects that will fit together to create an enclosure. You can challenge children to create a den that fits all of them inside which is an opportunity to use lots of positional language as well. Encourage mathematical communication by talking about the different shapes of objects and lengths needed as well as, how many of each item children will need.

  • Further extend this by asking children to create enclosures for specific objects, these can be larger objects outside such as a mud kitchen or small objects inside such as an enclosure for small world dinosaurs. 

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