Recently, we put a load of loose parts into a tarmac area with little else in it. The idea was to provide open-ended materials with no fixed uses to encourage creative and imaginative play. This included items such as:
- Bread crates
- Wooden wine boxes
- Hoses of different sorts
- A wooden drum
- A pallet
- Lots of tyres (I’m particularly pleased with the bicycle tyres and a quad bike tyre)
- A camouflage net (sold for £7 per metre in the Cosy catalogue – bargain, and really strong stuff compared to the standard ones)
- Two willow arches (again, a Cosy special)
- Other spare bits and pieces
I also stuck in a little bench – with a storage compartment under the seat that came from the Cosy catalogue (apologies – this is not a sponsored post, it’s just that the school has a lot of Cosy gear and often people want to know where things I write about come from).
I was interested to see how the children would use it and envisaged lots of house-type role play. As usual the children were far more creative than that. There’s been prisons, houses on fire and all sorts of other drama happening.
At first the bench stayed put in one corner. After a couple of weeks the children realised it could be moved about. Since then, it has been in a different place every day.
There is something profound about a moving bench. It tells me the children feel ownership of this area. It’s an indicator that children are using the space creatively and imaginatively. It is not a neat and tidy area as the staff try and let the resources stay as they are rather than tidy them away every day. It allows the play to develop and continue and run its natural course.
I like seats outside. You can see my collection on my Facebook page. But every outdoor space needs chairs or seats that are moveable. In one nursery, the staff have noticed that the chairs they put out, usually end up away from the prying eyes of adults behind a long line of bushes and shrubs.
It’s also good for building up a picture of one aspect of how children socialise outside. Where seats are put and their arrangements are worth recording in some way. Then if your setting or school decides to buy seats, you know what sort would work best and where they should be placed.
I’d love to hear about any other “moving” tales of seats and furniture outside…