When Trikes are Not Enough

26 February 2013 · 4 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Outdoor Play, Technologies, Urban

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about two children who decided to wash one of the trikes in the slushy snow mix. It often is the case that when water is in the outdoor space, a trike gets washed.

Recently Alistair Bryce-Clegg made a good point in one blog post about the need to extend children’s experiences especially when behaviour becomes very repetitive. Whilst the children might be perfectly happy, thank you very much, as practitioners we want to give children opportunities to use those skills and motivations in other engaging ways.

Now having attended a wonderful presentation last May at the Durham Early Years Conference by Catherine Worton, I decided now was the perfect time to jump on the car washing bandwagon. So after negotiating permissions, etc. I was able to bring my car into the school grounds to get a decent car wash.

Now for any car proud readers, I need to assure you that my car was perfectly fine. I’m the sort of driver who keeps my insurance company busy. I have more dings, dents and scratches than I care to count on my car. So letting ten children clean it, really was a great starting point. It is the first time in the 2.5 years of being owned by me that the car has ever been washed.

The children shared buckets and we used the bench in the photo below to deposit cloths, brushes and other paraphernalia which wasn’t being used.

I have to say that the children really did do a lovely job. The car was considerably cleaner at the end. Perhaps my only grumble was that they were mainly interested in washing the body work. No one was especially keen on cleaning the tyres and hubs.

The petrol cap was very interesting for a number of children. One or two were happy pretending to fill up the car with petrol.

For one child this was not good enough. He wanted a real filling experience so a good alternative was to fill up the windscreen wash with ordinary water (apologies again to the real car experts – I know using a petrol can is completely the wrong message but it was a useful spout and container).

Finally the car was given a good rub with a dry cloth to get an extra sparkle!

All-in-all this was an absorbing activity for all the children. Even the one child who chose not to get directly involved, spent a long time watching the others from the top of our nearby hill. She also came down and had a closer look for a while. That she chose to come out and see what was happening was encouraging.

So the next step on the car journey…??? Suggestions welcome!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny February 26, 2013 at 21:00

Wonderful! I have a handful of kids at preschool who are very into washing things at the moment, and when I asked what we should wash this week they decided we should wash the whole preschool! Today I’m going in with big sponges and window cleaners and we will wash the outside walls and windows.


Juliet Robertson February 26, 2013 at 21:03

Now there’s another fab idea! My mind is boggling at the possibilities this brings…


Kierna C February 27, 2013 at 17:27

Hahaha love it! I have heard of schools having sponsored car washes as fund raisers. Good to see we have the same Love Outdoor Play stickers on our cars Juliet.


Juliet Robertson February 27, 2013 at 19:26

Yes – the Love Outdoor Play sticker is a necessity when one owns a ubiquitous car. It’s also like being part of a special club.


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