Rainy Day Rubbings – Exploring Pattern Outside

23 April 2013 · 6 comments

in Art & Music Outdoors, Early Years Outdoors, Maths Outdoors, Science Outdoors, Urban

Wednesday was a wet day. It was raining before I even arrived at the school where I was working alongside the teachers on maths activities outside. So it was a case of shrugging our shoulders and going outside anyway.

When investigating patterns outside, there are many ways of doing this. Most teachers know about using wax crayons and paper for recording patterns. Except with the myriad of surfaces and weathers, this technique can be quite limiting.

So a useful alternative which is suitable for all weathers all year round is using aluminium foil. Small lengths can be cut out and then children can choose a surface which interests them to press it onto and rub.

It also is quite a pleasant sensation. For little hands which do not have much pressure, the technique works fine as the foil is soft and moulds itself onto most surfaces outside.

The resulting patterns can be used to make fetching displays. It’s worth asking children how they would like to display the patterns as they can be used in so many different ways.

Another complementary activity to this one, is to find some natural materials to stick onto a piece of card with double-sided sticky paper. Stick any plant leaves face down (underside showing).

Then wrap tin foil over the top and rub down to reveal the outline shapes. There is an element of mystery and excitement to this task. The results can be displayed outside – and make nice sun catchers when hung from a tree or bush.

This exercise can also be completed with money, cardboard shapes and other objects, inside and out. Naturally, if there is a fire nearby, then outdoor snack has to be something cooked in tin foil, just to complete the occasion!

(Many thanks to Audrey McLaren at Drummore Primary for finding supplies of foil at the last minute.)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kierna C April 23, 2013 at 18:22

What great ideas, Juliet. Love it. I especially love the leaves etc. in the tin foil.


Juliet Robertson April 24, 2013 at 21:48

Yes – and wrapping up shells is also a big hit! Try sticking a wee message inside too, to give to someone else! How magic is that!


Juliet Robertson January 30, 2016 at 17:00

Thanks – I originally got the idea going on a course where calico cotton was used as rubbings and I realised that foil would be a good wet day alternative.


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