Every piece of masking tape tells a story. From where it first came off the roll, how long it was made, where it was stuck, how it was gathered and where it came to rest. Most importantly it is the story of play with creativity, exploration, investigation and imagination mashed into moments of joy.
A few weeks ago as part of the Aberdeen City Outdoor Nurture Project, I put out some masking tape. At first the bag was ignored as there was lots of other exciting activities going on. However after a while, I took out one roll, attached it to the fence and waited to see what would happen. Here is this story:
A couple of children got to work, declaring that the slide was dangerous and needed to be sealed off.
The masking tape did this job beautifully. The slide was very carefully covered too.
However, it is hard to ignore something that you are “not allowed” to do or enter. Very soon, the girl who had sealed off the steps, decided to venture past the tape and went up the steps.
Meanwhile, the area continued to get sealed off by children experimenting and seeing how long the masking tape could go without breaking.
Back at the slide there was a problem. Three children were now up at the top of the slide. They couldn’t go back down the steps or down the slide. They were stuck. I waited to see what they would do.
Eventually the girl decided enough was enough and carefully started to climb down the slide, trying to keep the masking tape intact but this simply wasn’t possible. It broke. Oh no! OH YES!
When she realised that the masking tape could be broken the girl was delighted. Immediately she went to the steps and broke past the masking tape there too.
And the boys followed suit.
After that the focus was on breaking masking tape for a while.
Now this frustrated one child, who rather liked the lines of masking tape. He asked me if he could use sellotape instead and fetched it from inside.
On his own, he started to restore some of “the damage”.
Although a lot of masking tape was used, the depth of play and focus shown by the children were great. Masking tape makes me realise why learning through play is what it’s really all about. For all of us!