Friday, 20 July 2012

Outdoor Play Link up - Guest post - from USA

Once again, as I am on summer break I have turned to another fellow educator that I have begun to know & respect through the wonderful world wide web, the lovely Andrea McDougall, teaches the Bugs (2s/3s) class at Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, in Maryland, DC, USA. I was fascinated by the wonderful cardboard adventures she had with her 'students'  during the 2nd week of their Tink 2012 on Dens. Thanks Andrea for taking the time to write up a great post on how the cardboard adventure developed.
 
It takes a village to build a village!

It all begins with a challenge and many different solutions.  How to build a den with the materials provided.  The previous week during Tink 2012 World Tour, Dens at The Cooperative School  the students were given scrap wood, used moving pallets and a lot of bamboo.  The challenge was to build a water, wind and animal proof den (as determined by the students).  We had success as far as water and wind were concerned but we didn’t allow any bears in to test the wild animal factor.  This week the challenge was to build a strong and comfortable cardboard den (again, criteria determined by the children). 

Day one: with only 2 pieces of cardboard per student design a model of what you want to build outside.  We learned that a lot of tape was needed and if you worked in a team you had access to a lot more cardboard.
Day 2: take it outside and go big!  Again, given only 2, this time large sheets of cardboard, replicate your model.  What we learned is that changing the scale is hard to do and taping large sheets of cardboard is nearly impossible! It was a very frustrating day for many. It was also an opportunity to problem solve and come together as a group.
 Day 3:  get a lot more cardboard, start lashing and try a different kind of tape.  Success, except the structures were not dens.  The children had turned them into a village of stores, tea shops and yogurt shops with only one outlying homes/dens.  There was cooperation, bartering, selling and many thriving businesses. So what happened to the dens that were so successful the week before?  Maybe the proximity of the shelters took hold, maybe the lack of a water proofing test stretched their imaginations, maybe playing house/city in cardboard boxes is something more familiar and natural for children to do, or maybe the introduction of markers to draw the location where doors and windows should be cut allowed the children to decorate and label in a way that was not possible the week before.  Either way, just like in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, a whole world of imagination came together as a community.
 Day 4: let’s decorate!  Out came the paint and up went menus, hours of operation, and open and closed signs.  We also learned that paint weakens the cardboard making it sag and bend.  
This made the idea of dismantling much more palatable for Day 5.  Cardboard is only temporary after all!
My favourite post from the last link up was from my fellow co-host, Mama Pea Pod, I love lying on the ground just staring up at the clouds or trees etc. and every year love introducing this simple activity to a whole new generation of children. So I was delighted to see Sweet Pea enjoying this activity at the tender of age of 2, just relaxing on the grass with no particular agenda. Sometimes we just need to allow children to 'be' in the moment without hurrying them from activity to activity.

How did your kids play outdoors this week?

  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!


We'd appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we'll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterestPlease feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured. (If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! The linky goes live every second Friday at 12:01 GMT+1.

9 comments:

  1. Love these ideas! We just posted about transforming backyards into fun play spaces. [http://www.keenfootwear.com/blog/?p=9322]

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for commenting & am off to check out your blog post,cheers & I'll share it on my FB page :)

      Delete
  2. So happy to see Takoma Park School guest posting. I always sigh with happiness when I see your shares of their ideas on your FB page. Now, I want to go scouring the neighborhood for big cardboard boxes. LOVE!

    And I just adored Jane's post about lying in the grass too. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know they are so inspirational in all they do. Cardboard boxes are the best thing as it doesn't matter if they get squashed etc. They know by now in the 'big school' to check with me before throwing any boxes out!!

      Delete
  3. Those little houses are fantastic!!! Cardboard is so much fun :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it just & free which is even better - loved your painting idea with the cardboard.

      Delete
  4. Wow, that's such a big project to complete. It shows where working together and persisting can take you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tat & thanks for linking up. Yes I think that is the most important lesson that the Tink Camp taught the children - an important one in today's world.

      Delete