Friday, 5 July 2013

Outdoor Play Party - Guest Post 1 (Tink 2013 Robots)

Once again, as I am on summer break I have turned to another fellow educator & friend that I got to know & respect through the wonderful world wide web, Andrea McDougall, teaches the Bugs (2s/3s) class at Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, in Maryland, DC, USA. Andrea did a fab guest post last year for me on the cardboard adventures of Tink 2012, you can read about here, so I was delighted when she once again agreed to be the first guest post for the summer Outdoor Play Parties.

As part of our Tink 2013: Land locking Plastics camp at The Cooperative School we made robots. 



Step #1: Design:  The children were allowed to explore our collection of plastic lids, bags, containers, bottle caps and miscellaneous plastic pieces.  They were asked to think about how they wanted their robot to look as they explored.  What would the body look like? Will your robot have arms & legs and how many? Will it have a head and/or a face?  Will it still be a robot?

Step #2: Collect materials needed and build a model using tape or dry stacking to get an idea of what you want to build.
Step #3: Put it all together: How are you going to connect the pieces without using tape?  Will it stay together and be durable?  We offered a glue gun, rubber bands, brads and small plastic pieces as connectors.  This step required revisiting as everyone played with different ideas and made multiple attempts with different methods until each robot was complete.


Step #4: Adding a level of fun, exploring electronics and creating many learning opportunities.  I didn’t have enough motors for each child to make moving robots but I did have old holiday lights, batteries and electrical wire.  A few of the challenges we faced were that some of the batteries were old and didn’t work well.  When we got new batteries they quickly burned out the lights.  The kids decided to try stringing two lights together to handle the output of the batteries.  After figuring out how to string them together and maintain a circuit we had success!  The final challenge was finding a way to attach the lights and batteries for the most dramatic effect. A couple of kids started making switches out of paperclips and brads to they could conceal the battery inside the robot.  Others chose to mount the battery on the outside and manually connect and disconnect the wires when needed.

Step #5: Light them up!!
After working hard each morning to make robots out of totally recycled materials the children at the Tink 2013 get to enjoy the fab outdoor space at Takoma Park Cooperative school. It's lovely to see older children enjoying some of the activities that are familiar to anyone who follows this amazing coooperative school.
What lucky children that they get to enjoy this fab playground
Making moats & paths in the sand.
Adults versus children for a tug of war!
Enjoying the tea house

Once again there were so many great posts linked up, many with a muddy theme but my favourite was from The Boy & Me on cooking marshmallows on a campfire. I love that this mum is working her way through the '50 things to do before you are 11 &3/4' list & have loved watching the various adventures The Boy has had because of this list.

How did your kids play outdoors this week?



  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!


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5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I think adding the light bulbs was a great idea.

    I'm getting ready for my Tinkering Camp at Milford Cooperative Preschool, Milford, MI. We are building a balsa wood car on the first day and each day there after changing out the power source...wind, rubberband, battery and even solar panels. A friend, who is Professor at University of Michigan is helping me...it has been an incredible learning experience for me. Hopefully, it will be the same for the children.

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    1. Oh that sounds like fun too. Hope all goes well for you in your Tinkering camp.

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  2. I have never heard of a tinkering camp before...what a fabulous idea. Love al of the kids creations. I think we might have to do some tinkering.

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    1. Have you seen what they have been up to the past week? Amazing bags etc made by weaving plastic bags. Have fun!

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  3. i have got some wonderful ideas through this post,,, all thanks to you!! great...
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