Saturday, 16 May 2015

The best things in life are free!

I don't know of any teacher who does not find themselves with a collection of 'stuff' as soon as they begin their career and I reckon those in the early years are probably the worst. I find myself eying up bread crates, cable reels and pallets as I drive along and sometimes only the fact that my boot is already full of accumulated 'stuff' I would stop and gather more. Teachers love free things even more than anything and a lot of the resources in my playground have been gathered up for little or no cost over the years. It never ceases to amaze me how much fun children will have from something another person saw as rubbish. I always love to see how the children will use some of the things that I do add, it is rarely how I thought it would be used either.

We are so fortunate to have The Play Resource nearby and as members we can take as much from the scrap store as we can fit into a car! We usually go for a visit twice a year to gather up as many new resources as we can, mow of it is used for craft purposes but occasionally bigger items are in stock that be used for construction indoors or for play outdoors.
Earlier in the new school year I spied giant styrofoam pieces down in the Play Resource. I could only fit 2 into the car - they were about the size of a surf board. I had no idea what their purpose was going to be but knew we's have hours of fun with them. At first the children used them as a roof on one of the platforms on the slide, then the slid down them on wet days. They were light enough for the to carry about but solid enough to hold 2 children if they stood on them when balanced on some crates.

It is amazing to see them still being used almost 6 months later & for something so inventive. I ended up cutting one of them in 2 and last week one boy discovered he could fit them behind posts on the fence - 'Look at my new wall I just decorated' he announced.
I had also picked up some old 'For Sale' and 'To Let' signs made out of corriflute and when mounted with the white side showing, these are a great canvas on the fence for the children to paint on, you can see 2 of them in the photo too.
When it comes to free stuff, my advice is grab it while you can and worry about it will be used for later!

1 comment:

  1. In Australia local councils periodically have throw outs were you can clean out the shed and household of items, and they will be picked up and either recycled or land filled, depending on the council. I always found them to be rich hunting grounds for play items (after the washing and or bleach solution). Obviously because of H & S reg's (and the ever present fear of liability) certain common sense items need to be purchased new, however for a community based centre that is not rolling in it, throw-outs, seconds centres, recycling station, friendly arborists are a joy. In the process of collecting these items you also need to refine your own perspective as to what constitutes a utilitarian item useful in child play.


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