Water play with blue tarp and tyres

8 October 2011 · 6 comments

in Play Resources

I have been having a lot of fun experimenting in recent weeks. I have a Primary 6 class with children who have additional support needs and they have been helping to set up a bland outdoor space for the Primary 1 class of children with additional support needs.

The first time we made a tarp and tyre water feature, we used just 4 tyres and decided to stick the water tray in the middle. The P1 children like to do a lot of pouring and we thought they might like to transfer water between the tyres and the tray. Surprisingly, the amount of water a tyre can hold is tiny, so it takes very little time to fill.

However, it was a warm afternoon and all the children wanted to do was paddle. Tyres always work well as seats in paddling pools.

This outdoor space is used by the whole school during breaks and lunch times. This means that lots of children come and go to freely play. Interestingly the tarp and tyres structure didn’t get changed or removed altogether. It wouldn’t have mattered it did because the whole thing takes all of two minutes to set up.

Owing to the interest in paddling, this week the P6 children put together more tyres this week. One child from this class has been helping out the P1 children so he let the others know what was working and what wasn’t.

The girl in the photo above, doesn’t often choose to go outside. At lunchtime she had seen this structure which had piqued her curiosity. She spent a lot of time stepping from pool to pool and very happy to do this.

I think the potential of tarp and tyres has only been scratched by this class. They’ve yet to add in props and objects or transport water or bring guttering into the equation.

In terms of the practicalities. The tyres were free from a local garage. I’ve a previous post about tyres which includes care information. The blue tarp came from a local DIY store. It was the biggest size I could find – the bigger the tarp the more “rockpools” of water that can be created. It cost about £8 a couple of years ago. Again, I’ve blogged about blue tarp here and here.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kierna C October 8, 2011 at 11:01

Love this post Juliet, tyres & tarp – 2 of my staples 🙂
I love to see primary schools taking this kind of activity on board, I do think Scottish schools seem to be ahead in this.


Sherry and Donna October 8, 2011 at 11:35

I LOVE this Juliet! Tyres and tarps are the PERFECT combination … What a great idea!
Donna 🙂 🙂


Males in Early Childhood October 8, 2011 at 14:11

This is so cool! I will be stealing this idea some time in the future. I love how you got chn to engage who are usually reluctant.
Well Done!


Scott October 8, 2011 at 15:23

This is a really fun activity, Juliet. Water play, full body!


Juliet Robertson October 8, 2011 at 16:36

Thanks everyone!

Kierna – I don’t think Scottish schools are necessarily any further ahead than other UK countries. I work in a school with a positive and proactive head teacher and school buildings manager who understand that children learn through play.

Sherry & Donna – tarp and tyres are a beautiful combo indeed. I think this post only scratches the surface of a long term relationship of potential here!

Greg – I think the children were naturally hooked in – I’d seen the same girl being fascinated by floating balls on water and thought more water play might appeal.

Scott – you are so right! One child even dunked his head in the water!


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