Towards the end of the summer term, the routines in schools get disrupted by all sorts of events. As a teacher who does class cover, I have to be on guard for timetable changes and unexpected alterations both of children, classes and activities. This is fine. After all, that’s the beauty of having a few loose parts to hand. We can always make something happen.

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One day I arrived in my upper stages class to find only half the children present. The rest were on an excursion. At this point, the Madness song “House of Fun” had been whirling around my head (doesn’t that give away my age)! Seeing the climbing frame outside made me suggest to the pupils that perhaps it was time to turn this structure into a House of Fun.

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Armed with guttering, hoses, a suitcase full of material and a few other bits and pieces the children got to work. We didn’t have any predisposition as to what a “House of Fun” should be like, just that we should create one. I was quite surprised that the children went for this idea and made it their own. It was also really interesting to see the play develop. For example, initially some children began den building.

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That’s where having an assortment of materials comes into its own. I thoroughly recommend large football flags. They work well for all sorts of things and it’s always good for ongoing conversations around who supports what club and how well it’s doing. A few soft toys, kitchen ware and other small bits and bobs always boosts any den – the otter did need to be watched in case it got up to mischief of one sort or another though…

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Water flow is fascinating for many children. In the photo below, the child spent the whole session working with water. He began with a  gutter run which was an extension of a previous session a couple of weeks earlier.

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The beauty of a climbing frame is that it allows height to come into the play, big time. It wasn’t long before the guttering was moved upstairs.

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If the guttering was going up, then so was the water. And the easiest route with a heavy can of water seemed to be up the slide.

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I’m sure you can work out the next experimental step from here… that’s right, if water can be carried up the slide, then it can also be poured down it. This led on to a whole new set of processes from seeing what would be carried down the slide, to what could the water also travel through, to experimenting with different vessels for collecting the water.

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All-in-all, the ninety minutes flew by!

Loose Parts + Climbing Frame = A House of Fun!

Bet Suggs didn’t think about that in 1982!

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