Thursday, 12 June 2014

Playing outside the box

This advert has always made me laugh. Its so true that children will make more from boxes than they will from commercial toys.  A box is a beautiful 3d blank canvas that can become almost anything (or, anything if you set you imagination on it).

Today we set up a collection of cardboard boxes outdoors.  These were just left over boxes from resources that would otherwise have been [eventually] added to the DT area inside.  One of the EYP's in our setting taped them up the previous day so they were actually really good for stacking.

 The children found them very quickly.  Initially we had a lot of stacking and toppling over. Fantastic language, "more, higher, big, small, two more."

We also had some kicking and carting around in wheel barrows.

Just hearing some of them talking about the boxes and how they would fit into the barrows - "I need small one for here," "thats too big, get that one."

Some children used the scissors and tape from the setting to make models which they are so used to doing.


One little boy who seemed fascinated by pouring water today decided to turn a box into a bucket.  He looked at me as he poured (perhaps thinking was he going to get told off!), poured and then almost immediately stopped and picked up the box to empty it again.  I asked him why but he wouldn't tell me. I think he was shocked at the reaction the box had to the water (it changed colour, the water started to dribble away..)

One boy this morning spent a very long time making a model "car". It went through many different stages.

Initially it was a "present" with a "ribbon."  He asked for help to tie the ribbon which we did together and I explained how to tie the knot and what to do first. 

 Then he managed to tie the knot in at one end through a hole he'd made with his fingers - Eureka - "a car."

But perhaps the thing which grabbed me and has really stuck with me was this below.  I asked what he had made and he told me "scales." 
"What would happen if you let go of your sclaes?" I asked.
"It go down," replied.
"What would happen if I pulled this end?"
"It go up, its lighter."

I have to admit I was really shocked. For him to explain so clearly his own concept of light and heavy and to model it for me so cleverly was superb! 

Then there was this little boy (same boy with the water):

He was stabbing the box with his scissors.  He was really going for it and I was a little worried about eyes, faces, nearby children.  But before I intervened I thought about what he was doing. He was stabbing the box and trying to hit the same hole over and over.  He also noticed different parts of the box was stronger than others (e.g. around the tape.) 
He used his entire body weight (and even his knee at one point) to puncture the tape with his scissors.  I managed the risk, making sure he did this slowly and away from others.  I realised I would never have seen him do this if I had followed my first impulse.  I saw that he had extremely good control of his body, and knowledge of his strengths.

Its quite remarkable what fun you can have with just a few free boxes!

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