The One About The Plastic Pipes

12 December 2012 · 2 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Outdoor Play, Play Resources, Urban

If you ever pass by a building site, have a quick look. The chances are there will be various different types of plastic pipes lying around. This post is about the ones with a corrugated exterior and blue (or occasionally black interior. The ones below were waiting to be played with at Glamis Adventure Playground.

These pipes are incredibly tough. They are designed to carry water underground. Occasionally, it is possible to find them under bridges, channelling water. Another place to find them is in playgrounds as an alternative to concrete pipes.

Over the past year, I’ve been able to find some less orthodox uses. Naturally, most of the ideas have come from children themselves. Let’s start with some small pipes which can be found at Mindstretchers’ Whistebrae Nature Kindergarten. Here they have a multitude of posting uses from sending down pebbles, water and anything else that will fit! I like the cooperative possibilities of three tubes and the opportunities for fair testing that the tubes side by side gives.

This beautiful alligator was created by nursery children in County Durham. The scales are made from milk bottle tops which slot perfectly into the ridges. Note the re-use of lots of different household items and materials.

The pipes are often used to offer an alternative entrance. Below, the pipes go under all the play structures in Glamis Adventure Playground. There is something very empowering about a choice of entrance options in play.

And for a long time, this was the way in and out of a willow den. I’m not sure if there was much space for children inside in the den with the pipe there!

The pipes are very popular for rolling around. Usually a child will be found inside the pipe, being rolled around the playground by a couple of friends. It is also possible to cut the pipe into much shorter lengths for being rolled. This one has a 45cm diameter which seems about right for most children to crawl into.

I thought this use of a pipe in a den was rather different. It stood up well to the high use.

Over at Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, plastic pipes are particularly well-used in different ways. I loved the little miniature gardens grown in each one. Thanks for letting me use your photo!

Photo ©Lesley Romanoff
If you are wondering how to source such pipes, the best option is to ask nicely at a construction site. There may be be offcuts which can be freely donated which would otherwise go to landfill. Failing that, the Cosy Catalogue are selling various options in their 2013 catalogue which will be out in UK schools in January.

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Lesley Romanoff December 12, 2012 at 20:19

Now I want to go out and get more tubes!!

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