A year ago I bought a set of bamboo guttering comprising of 6 short and 6 long lengths. I’ve used it so many times, with so many classes and groups and in so many ways. Here’s some of reasons why it is such a useful resource…
1. It is light and easy to carry about
If you have to take resources in and out or, like me, were in a job which involved moving from class to class, you will find the bamboo very portable. Here it is being carried on a bread crate dolly:
2. It is suitable for all ages, stages and abilities
Even adults like experimenting and playing with it on my courses. The guttering is narrower than your traditional plastic guttering so can squeeze through fences and into pallets more easily.
3. It can be used in a tiny space
The guttering works well in miniature play zones. Here’s an example of a water wall created on a gate. This matters if you are short of space. Really strong velcro works a treat for attaching the guttering to a range of places.
4. Challenges naturally present themselves
This group of 10-12year olds were fascinated by the challenge of making the longest guttering run possible which spilled the least amount of water. I find group work and cooperative play happens without it being organised by the teacher.
5. Children find themselves creating their own investigations
Here, comparing the natural and plastic guttering proved irresistible to this group of 6yr olds. You can see that the differences between types of guttering add to the play value.
6. The fun doesn’t begin and end with water
Guttering + a pile of bark chips = lots of experiments. Check out the potential of burying animal tubes as part of the run. A similar situation can happen with gravel piles or lots of sand.
7. Bamboo is environmentally friendly product (if it hasn’t been shipped too far)
Bamboo is a top renewable resource. It is able to double or even triple its mass in one growing season, requiring little more than water, soil, and sunlight. Bamboo is highly efficient in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, and may be used to help curb the effects of global warming.
The product is strong, some have greater density than oak, yet are light weight and flexible, it will arrive with a combination of markings, colourations and stains from growing, processing and transit, this is normal.
The new shoots that emerge every spring are edible and can be managed as a food crop, yielding many pounds of fresh produce each spring. Toys are starting to be made of it, play material for dens as well as the ever present garden material it is more commonly known for.
The pulp can be made into paper, culms into timber, innovative architects are designing earthquake resistant houses, using bamboo as the primary structure, it is used in high rise construction as scaffolding. We are beginning to tap into this outstanding product.
8. Caring for bamboo products (advice from Cosy)
Check bamboo for any loose splinters that may come off over time, these can be pulled off with care and/or sanded lightly. Bamboo is a natural product the discolourings, patternings and any soiling picked up treat as part of the charm of an outdoor natural product.
Bamboo in waterplay and outdoors like any fibrous product needs to be cared for from time to time to get best use of it. Like wood it will attract mould. If this is a problem then we offer the following advice.
Mould is essentially caused by moisture. Clean & finger dry water-logged product within 24 hours to counter mould from growing. If you do get mould brush this off in a well ventilated area preferably outdoors, if further removal is required. Try using baking soda, either in a paste or by itself. Baking soda is both mild — meaning it’s safe and effective. It is renowned as a gentle household cleaner and helps deodorize (no wonder it’s used as a deodorant). It can be used in 2 basic ways:
- Mixed with water and vinegar. Apply two tablespoons of baking soda to eight ounces of water and mix thoroughly. Pour into spray bottle and attack mouldy surface.
- Apply baking soda directly to mouldy surfaces. This works especially well on all porous surfaces. Allow the sodium bicarbonate to penetrate the damp surface and then wipe away.
I hope this gives you a flavour of bamboo guttering. The Cosy catalogue has a wide range of bamboo play products at the best prices that I can find at the moment. They also stock lots of guttering types and accessories. I’ve blogged about guttering in pre-school – have a look here.