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!**


  1. Pam - these photos are wonderful - please tell Meaghan I said so. We have 2 giant spools that we use as tables but ours are well worn & not as clean as yours! I may have to look for some of the smaller ones too. Great post. Would you consider linking it up to the outdoor play linky I have going with Mama Peapod & Greening Sam & Avery? here is the post you link up to if you are interested.

  2. Kierna- Meaghan is a wonderful amateur photographer- these were just some of her quick pics from school. I'll let her know you like the photos! And I'd be happy to link this up!

  3. Pam,
    What fun these spools have provided; it will be interesting to see further developments!

  4. Brenda- they are already inventing new things to do with them!...and we've only had them a few days!

  5. I love the photo of them all standing on them by the fence! So cute. I wish my daughter would do more with loose parts in their preschool playground. They have a TON of open green space that could really be improved with some loose parts.
    Thanks so much for joining the outdoor play party this week! And thanks for sharing the link up with your readers too!!!


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