After participating in TinkerLab’s last bi-monthly Creative Challenge for Kids, I couldn’t wait to take part again. Last time the key supply was eggs and we had Plastic Egg Guttering Fun. This month’s key supply was string. The challenge: “children are invited to make, build, experiment with, and tinker with string.”
The closest thing I had to string at home was left over strands of blue and yellow wool from my teaching days – a plus side from being a hoarder! I placed the strands into a bowl and took it outside to where Adam was playing.
TinkerLab states “The objective of these challenges is to encourage children to explore a material’s potential, build creative confidence, act like inventors, and envision new purposes for common objects…. skills that are at the heart of innovation.” The part I love about the challenge is that it is child led. Although Adam is unable to talk me through his plan for the key supply, he is able to decide what to do with it.
When completing most of our activities, I have a clear(ish) plan in my head about what Adam will do and what skills he is developing. I also know what questions to ask him or what things I can tell him about. This activity gave me a chance to take a step back and observe Adam and his thought processes.
At first Adam explored the texture of the string and transported it from one chair to another and back again. Schematic behaviour in full action. The look of concentration was immense.
He then took to sitting on the chair and experimented picking the string up and watching it fall. He tried pulling strands away from the clump and scrunching up the string to make it stay together.
Adam then spotted the water tray. He started to throw in each strand of string one at a time but soon resorted to throwing it all in. He watched as some of the string sank to the bottom and tried to get those pieces out again.
I grabbed a couple of colanders to see if Adam wanted to use them with his experimental play.
He picked up the string and placed it into the colander and picked it up to watch the water fall. “All gone,” he kept saying.
This is where my camera battery died so I had to resort to using my Ipod camera. This meant I missed out on capturing Adam soaking himself in water. He had scooped some string into the white colander but as he took it out of the water he managed to cover himself and me in water! He was not impressed.
It didn’t stop him carrying on with his string experiment. I thought Adam had loved moving the dry string from one area to another. Wet string was even better!
Adam had managed to occupy himself for 1 ½ hours with the string.
UPDATE: I didn’t clear away of the string when it was bed time. The next day when we went outside to play Adam went straight to the string and carried on moving it from one part of the garden to another. So far it has gone down the guttering, attempted to go down the water wall and is now in the sand pit. I feel our string is going to be well used!
Adam was 2 years and 1 month old.