Outdoor learning, Eco-Guilt and Portable Seats

2 October 2011 · 6 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Play Resources

I’m facing an eco-dilemma. The cheap portable outdoor seats I use with courses and classes are wearing out after 2.5 years use. They are not environmentally-friendly as they are aluminium covered bubble-wrap. You buy a roll of the material for £33 and when carefully cut up, 36 seats can be created.

The air bubbles are getting flattened and the aluminium is looking worn 🙁
The seats are cheap and portable. They can be folded up and tucked under an arm or down the back of a rucksack, making them ideal for off-site visits and all ages. Each child can easily carry their own seat. If they are taking a packed lunch, the insulation properties of the material make it ideal for wrapping around the lunch boxes providing an extra layer of insulation. I like versatile resources.

I enjoy the way they reflect light and stand out on any surface.

On a dark day they brighten up the outdoor area!

They work well on top of wet benches – no excuse for not using the fixed outdoor seating!

As a path or stepping stones, these seats make an attractive path into a den!

Do you see that this child used her mat to chalk out her rectangle? Nice work!

A path? A boundary? A seating line? I’ve no idea but there’s an order to these seats
However I want to increase the lifespan of this resource. I’m looking for ideas and suggestions as to how to re-use them.

What would you do to re-use these seats? I did think of using them like stencils and letting children cut out shapes, patterns and pictures. Or adding them to the art corner. Or creating an interesting piece of outdoor art work. But I could really, really do with your thoughts and ideas… thank you in advance!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

theotheralig October 2, 2011 at 16:34

You could recycle the aluminium, and use the bubble wrap as insulation for groundsheet in a story telling den.


Juliet Robertson October 2, 2011 at 19:59

Thanks for the suggestion! I’m determined not to throw any of the mats out…


2flowerslearn October 3, 2011 at 20:17

Cut them up for collage and printing or paint on them and stick to a tarp to make a blanket? I bet if you ask your students they will come up with way better ideas than us!


Jane Gracie February 5, 2013 at 22:07

What did you do, Juliet?


Juliet Robertson February 5, 2013 at 22:19

I still have them and using them until they are so worn out, there is nothing left of them!

I also seem to be remarkably good at losing my portable seats so I’m down to 12 of my original 36 from 4 years ago!


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