Friday, December 9, 2011

Best Loose Parts We've Found Yet!!

I've realized that I haven't posted much at all about our outdoor classroom for a VERY long time! We had hit a bit of a road bump...(um...major mountain) for a bit (yep, we've hit several of these)!  We were literally out of room!  We had no area to add room for the children to really make use of any loose parts....every single bit of space was occupied by something!  

Thanks to our early childhood director, and her ability to track down some funds for this, we were able to expand the fenced area to give us some room to move and explore!  It is not a huge area, but it is perfect for us! 

We want this space to be an area that the children and adults who will be utilizing it will help to design.  We also want space in order to allow the children to manipulate the loose parts (both large and small).  So, with this idea in mind, we have only added one permanent structure (a large, wonderful playhouse) to the area so far. 

And then, something wonderful happened!  A co-worker somehow convinced her boyfriend (whose family owns a farm) to track down and deliver multiple large and smaller "spools" used for electrical wires!  It truly is amazing what a few new materials can do!

The children were completely engaged!  They rolled the spools, they set up "tables" and "pretended to eat", they stood on the spools and looked for "Wal-mart", they used the spools as drums and made music by banging on them with sticks.

The children were ready to design this area on their own...with just a few spools and some sticks!  The spools were brought into the playhouse several times (rolled in and then set up as a table several times....simply rolled right through several other times).  They also clearly enjoyed the vantage point of standing on top of the spools and looking out!  They each had grown a foot in a matter of minutes!

We have a few ideas running around for this area, some discussions to have with the children about the area and some crossing of fingers about funding for a few things (and many, many, many DIY ideas to try out as well)!  By the spring time, we would like to have the children actively engaged in helping to design and make some of the things for this area.  By spring, we are hopeful that we can also get some parents involved in the process of designing this.  Oh, what a little space, some imagination and some larger than life spools will do!

*NOTE:  Thanks Meaghan Leggins for taking the photos.  You can check out some of Meaghan's other photos HERE.
*NOTE:  If you would like to see a few more photos of our recent outdoor excitement with these spools as well as the children assisting to move a truckload of mulch head on over HERE!

**Shared on Outdoor Play Link Up!**

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