Calming, cultural, sustainable: MTA’s favourite new resource trends for 2024
With a new year comes inspired new resources! The team at MTA handpicks thoughtful resources both locally and from around the globe that embrace the latest trends, and support educators as they curate learning experiences around creativity, connection, exploration and play.
From the youngest learner to the child that is ready for school, MTA’s 2024 range embraces some of the EYLF 2.0’s themes around sustainability and a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. There’s also a focus on play, safety, sensory and developmental resources, all in calming palettes, as well as natural and innovative textures. Here’s what’s trending at MTA this year!
Art meets vibrant Aboriginal design
Keeping children’s clothes dry and clean while painting, crafting or engaging in wonderfully messy activities now offers the added value of showcasing an exclusive First Nations print design with the Bayadherra Toddler Long Sleeved Smock.
This Creatistics art smock is designed in collaboration with Bayadherra, founded by proud Aboriginal Yorta Yorta brother and sister Luke and Siena Tieri. The smock is made from quality polyester 210 denier that can be easily wiped down after use. Comfortable to wear and easy to remove, it suits children aged between approximately 1-3 years of age (with other sizing available).
100 per cent Aboriginal-owned and operated, Bayadherra is a group of emerging artists with a mission to promote reconciliation, cultural awareness and understanding by reflecting their First Nations heritage in authentic contemporary art pieces. ‘Bayadherra’ in Yorta Yorta language means ‘turtle’, the spiritual animal totem of the Yorta Yorta clan: a name reflective of Luke and Siena’s Aboriginal identity and connection to community and Country.
Create zones with durable Dreamtime floor mats
MTA has long enjoyed a collaboration with First Nations visual artist, John Smith Gumbula. This stunning Gumbula artwork ‘My Country, Sacred Place’ makes a colourful addition to any centre in a multipurpose, eye-catching floor mat (Dreamtime Country Sacred Lands Indoor Floor Mat) that features a non-slip rubber backing and a durable short weave polyester top.
This versatile art piece is suitable for use on carpets or hard floors, so you have flexibility on where you can place it. Create a book nook, a quiet zone or a fun play area, using this beautiful mat as your starting point. The mat measures 200 cm in length and 140 cm in width.
Sustainable sand play in calming colours
Meet one of MTA’s favourite new outdoor and sand play resources. The Viking Toys Eco Hearts XL Set of 3 includes a Tipper Truck, Fire Truck and Digger Truck. Available in a calming, pastel colour range, this set makes a great alternative to brightly coloured trucks. What’s more, these high-quality trucks are made from renewable sugar cane plastic (98 per cent sugar cane and 2 per cent wood chips from rubber tree waste then manufactured into an eco-friendly plastic. This process also makes them 100 per cent recyclable and dishwasher safe).
These trucks are great for the sand pit and mud patch, allowing children to drive them around and create their own unique construction sites. No Viking Toys product contains phthalates or BPAs, and uses only non-toxic dyes. Plus they feature smooth, round forms, with no sharp edges. For a planet-friendly bonus, for each Fire Truck sold, Viking plants one tree!
Fantasy small world play in calming neutrals
Continuing the trend in sustainable materials, soft lines and calming neutral colour palettes comes this versatile Silicone and Wooden Mushroom Set. These 12 sweet mushrooms come in a variety of sizes and colours, all with interchangeable tops to make the perfect addition to fantasy small-world play.
Made from sustainably sourced beech wood and silicone, these tabletop champions range from 3 to 10 cm in height and suit children aged 3 years and over. Fungus has never been so much fun as children develop fine motor skills, work on grip, explore elements of the natural world and unlock their creativity in open-ended play.
Sensory dominoes that develop tactile recognition
Domino Sensory is a giant set of sensory dominoes made from natural wood that would make a great addition to any ECEC service. This 28 piece oversized domino set is crafted with seven different sensorial engravings.
This set is designed to be a great educational resource for developing tactile and visual recognition, but also supports development for children with diverse educational needs. Each domino piece stands 12 cm high, 6 cm wide and is 1 cm in depth, while the set is suitable for children aged 2 years and over.
Engage in sensory play and celebrate nature with river stones
Looking for a way to encourage patterning, stacking and strengthen fine motor skills? This unique new building set could be exactly what your centre needs. These smooth-sanded, oversized beech wood Jumbo Sensory River Stones feature beautiful inset, nature-inspired textures. Children age two years and over can engage in sensory play while practising stacking, balancing and strengthening tactile differentiation.
A subdued, calming neutral colour palette furthers the possibilities for organic connections during natural play. The smallest stone measures 13 cm wide and the largest stone measures 19.5 cm wide for easy grip and adventures in the littlest hands.
Versatile shape sorting puzzles that make matching fun
Children aged 12 months and over will love shape sorting with the Inside Outside Wooden Shapes Set. Each set includes 14 smooth and tactile birch plywood discs, each with a different cut out shape inside to make a captivating set of puzzles. The disc shapes themselves make the shape sorting even more engaging and visually interesting – seven geometric shapes (circle, oval, semicircle, triangle, square, rectangle and hexagon) and seven organic or environmental shapes (mushroom, star, keyhole, crown, cross, flower and heart).
This versatile cross-curricular resource supports learning in a variety of ways:
- for matching, pairing and sorting,
- for recognising 2D shape characteristics,
- to learn about symmetry,
- for looking at shape attributes and;
- discussing the difference between mathematical and representational forms.
They are also great for encouraging the use of descriptive language. They can be drawn around, traced, stacked and balanced to engage motor skills and hand-eye coordination, or as accessories in imaginative play. At 12 mm thick, the shapes and discs are beautifully chunky and portable, ideal for small hands to hold and manipulate. Each set includes a cotton drawstring storage bag, activity guide in eight languages and six games to play.
Exploring and investigating in their own way
This open ended Heuristic Wooden Starter Set including 63 beechwood pieces means that all young children can explore and investigate in their own way. With rings, cubes, egg cups, spools, balls, bowls and a ring holder, this set doesn’t contain the kind of objects traditionally thought of as toys for young children.
Heuristic play is a wonderful opportunity to capitalise on young children’s curiosity about the objects that make up the world around them, and they provide valuable opportunities for extending children’s learning. There is no right or wrong way to play with Heuristic resources. Children apply their own creative ideas and build on their own experiences. The set comes with guidance notes and a cotton drawstring storage bag to keep it all neatly packed away on a shelf when not being used. (Suits children aged 10 months and over.)
Smooth mirrored textures for sensory exploration
This eye-catching new Discovery Stacking Tower embraces the trend towards smooth mirrored textures (combined with sustainable wood) and will no doubt be a popular favourite for little hands and little eyes to engage with (suits children aged 10 months and over). This glorious stacking tower allows tactile and sensory exploration with its eight smooth silver, rose gold and wooden rings.
It’s also a wonderful resource to assist in developing fine motor skills, manipulation and control. The different materials provide interest and the opportunity to sort, compare and contrast. The rings measure 12 cm in diameter and sit at 4 cm in height, while the wooden pole is approximately 36 cm in height.
To learn more about MTA’s new 2024 range, or see the full range of MTA products, visit their website here. To connect with your local consultant, reach out to MTA by phone on 1800 251 497 or email [email protected]
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