Sunday, 9 February 2014

Open ended resources.

I think the best aspect of working with preschoolers is their ability to see the potential in any object to be anything they wish it to be. I have often said I am lucky to spend the day with a bunch of optimists & it's true the preschooler really does believe anything is possible & they rarely give up on the first failed attempt.

I love that these children accept Bottle Babies as just that, they never question the actual purpose of them, they can see their potential to be whatever they need them to be at any moment in their play. 

Often as adults we have lost this ability to pretend or adapt set objects into something else and I do worry that if young children are only ever given replicas of real objects they won't hone this ability to pretend. It is lovely to see toy camp fire, fishing rods etc. but really preschoolers don't need them, anything can be a fishing rod for example a stick or a pool noodle.

I introduced these reflective decorative silver balls into the playground with no real end purpose other than I liked them & the fact you could see yourself in them. We have a set in the forest area & a set in Bear Woods. The children enjoy rolling them down the slope in Bear Woods & carrying them about in the playground. But one child went even further & made one into her 'recipe book' while she cooked hot chocolate!
Not a ball but a recipe book!
Others have seen the Bottle Babies as condiments during there cooking process! The best open ended resource we ever got was definitely the bark chippings or mulch. It can be anything it needs to be from money to sausages to the magic ingredient needed for potions.
Not Bottle Babies but salt & pepper!
Crates & tree stumps are great for any playground too. The crates can be seats, beds, create walkways & best of all they can be left outside in all weathers.

Money is always an issue when trying to provide resources in preschool & that's why I love to see things that can have many roles - like a plastic bowl that can hold water, play dough, popcorn or be a drum!

Not a bowl anymore but a drum!


  1. Fun post! That silver ball must have all sorts of potential.

    1. Thanks! Oh yes the silver balls are brilliant - they float too which is even more fun on a wet day.

  2. I read a study once that said if you ask an adult to come up with uses for a paperclip, they will only come up with about 10. If you ask a child they come up with something like 100. Their imaginations allow them to see so much more than us adults. Love seeing that in my own kids.

    1. So true I wonder at what age we lose that ability to see the potential in objects?

  3. Great Post Kierna. Open ended loose parts play is so important to children of all ages. I have used a snooker cue clamp as a 'what is it? object' several times during talking partners sessions. The younger children come up with all manner of suggestions without worrying what its real use is, whereas the older children are much more concerned about finding out what its actual use is. I think a fear of being wrong and being judged creeps in a children become more self aware that inhibits innate creativity


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