Each playground at CMP has a special tinkering area for the children to create, design and explore in. Some of the new materials include rocks, stones and crystals of various sizes shapes and weights. There are collections of stones, bricks, pebbles (3 and 4 year old playground), bamboo sticks, buckets, pails, sifters and cleaning brushes. Early in the morning I like to curate or stage an idea for the children before they arrive at the tinkering area. I love when the children arrive and ask me: “Miss Carole, what are you doing?” I share my idea and ask if they want to play with me. Before long we have a gathering of children collaborating, working together and often designating ‘jobs’ for each other:
“You go and get the cement”
“I will build the bridge… go get some water”
“Let’s pull it apart
“I need more bricks”
“Let’s build a road to the pool”
“Let’s find more shiners” (shiny stones)
It is fascinating listening to their language as they play, and listening to them to listen to each other. Through this type of exploration and discovery the children see themselves as builders, engineers and designers and future architects’
Here are some ideas that you might want to try at home:
- Collect about 20 rocks of different weights and sizes.
- Set up a cleaning stations with an assortment of brushes, buckets and water
- Collect some bricks or tiles
- Design a path or labyrinth
- Create borders and patterns for their dolls and toys
- Surprise them with a big dump truck or wagon for dumping and lifting dirt and rocks
Mostly, have fun exploring together, practice letting your child’s imagination and ideas take the lead. Ask them to show you, tell you, and explain to you what they are doing. Create a routine for taking care of the rocks and stones so that your children understand the importance of respecting these beautiful materials.
We were sifting for the soft white pebbles.
The pebbles slid through our fingers and we began to create a design. Our gestures were mindful, and relaxing.
He came with his own ideas. He was quick, quiet and industrious. He needed no adult ‘noise’ or direction. He created his masterpiece and then left to go to another area of the playground. Soon a new group of children came and used his ideas as a stepping-stone for their ‘work’.
Stunning arrangements of pebbles on bricks and stones.
Working together collecting, taking apart, and rebuilding.
These children are busy with their own ideas and collaborations.
Their ideas or very fluid, changing from moment to moment and then they are on to a different area of the playground: Water!