My love affair with transparent tarp continues. This past couple of months, my see-through bits of plastic has been used more than any other resource other than rope. It comes out during courses. It comes out when I’m doing any work that’s remotely play related. It’s a stock item and I’m waiting for it to collapse with over-use and, at times, complete abuse.
A good example of extreme use comes from last week. The tarp was a popular social space recently with one class. I’ve a lot of photos of around half of the children coming under the tarp and smiling and interacting with others. This is a big deal as the children all have different support needs and spontaneous opportunities to be sociable are welcomed.
So in order to extend the experience, the next time, I thought it would be interesting to set up the tarp in a similar spot but with a slight twist. This time the tarp was attached to a bench, creating a wider space underneath. Sadly there was no gathering of the clans as I’d hoped.
However one child did something totally unexpected. He likes walking and crawling around the bench and decided to venture onto the tarp itself. As it was a rainy day, the tarp was wet and slippery. This child had a ball walking, falling, slipping and sliding on top of the tarp.
Even though I’m not going to be present next week when this class goes out to the wildlife garden, I’ve given the “Big Boys” instructions as to how to set up the transparent tarp. We thought it might be nice for the children to throw material onto the tarp and look at it from underneath.
The “Big Boys” were quite impressed even with a rain-stained version that we tried out below…
Depending on the outcome of next week, there are other possible lines of development which can happen.
For example, look at these acetate sheets! The whole appearance is of a frosty day. It was just over cast.
Coloured magnetic chips are very cheap and attractive. Here they are sparking in the sunlight on top of a transparent tarp.
And look at the completely different result when viewed from underneath the tarp! For me, I want to do an art project with older children creating interesting colour patterns this way.
The tarp can be set up high where anyone can walk under. But sometimes there’s value in having to crawl under and lie back. I rather like the effect in the photo below where one can view the tarp and the real view at the same time for a direct comparison.
The effects of light and shadow come into play in other ways. Here, you can see the effects of the different backdrop in combination with the sun shining.
With older classes, the transparent tarp is getting a lot of attention. It cries out to be used in dens! This photo is a tribute to all friends and practitioners in the Czech Republic 🙂
Sometimes the structures can get quite complex. I would never have thought about using this pipe as a supporting pole!
Often cheap tarp is useless in windy weather. The rivets split from the tarp and the material feels brow-beaten. However the transparent tarp seems to bear up to high winds and gusts, providing welcome shelter at this very windy playground.
At the moment, the best source of transparent tarp is the Cosy catalogue where they retail for about £15 – considerably cheaper than elsewhere. Phone 01332 370152 for a catalogue.