It Not "Just Recess" Anymore!

Teachers often heave a sigh of relief when they take their students out to recess. Finally! The children can burn off the pent up energy they had been accruing for the past few hours indoors. But what if we change our outlook on outdoor play time? What if we create an outdoor environment that offered all of the learning opportunities that one would typically find indoors? What if children could run out to a well-planned play yard to find experiences in math, science, nature, dramatic play, water, building and construction, sensory activities, physical development, art and music? What if they play yard developed critical thinking, discovery, problem solving, and cooperative skills? The result would be that we wouldn't have "just recess" anymore. We would have The Outdoor Classroom!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Building DOWN with PVC

We have been working with PVC pipes for some time now. The kids always enjoy them and they have made some very creative structures with the shorter sections of pipe (6-24 inches). This week I brought out the 24 - 36 inch pipes. At the beginning, the children were excited that they could connect 2 pipes together and touch the roof. I, on the other hand, wasn't quite as excited about that option since the pieces were liable to disconnect and fall on a head (okay...DID fall on a head!). My clever coworker decided to work with the children's desire for height by hanging the pipes from the existing rope that was strung from our patio overhang.

The experience for building DOWN rather than UP was intriguing to the kids. It took effort not to yank the hanging pieces while pushing in new pipes. The structures became all sorts of things and their creativity expanded as they had to think on a whole new plane. This was such as success, that my coworker and I are now trying to think of other items that could be built down, around or sideways! We have thought of lego boards on a easel, Zoobs hanging from ropes, but what else? Any ideas??

Here are some of the experiences we had with the PVC:

The finished "product" - Even Mopsy the bunny came to check it out!

Hard hats are recommended!

Much discussion took place as the children worked their way through the new building 'arrangement.'

The structure grew so large that extensions were laid flat on the ground.


  1. Kristin, I think that is really cool! Sounds like a lot of good problem solving by adults and children alike---and more to come. It's fun and invigorating when those creative juices flow. Tom

  2. Tom - haha, I thought you might like this project. It was a male teacher who rigged up the apparatus. It seems you ECE men are so very good at thinking outside the is so apparent with your tables. In fact, I was showing your blog to the same teacher this afternoon!

  3. brilliant idea Kristin, I like the idea of trying building down with legos - we love lego! it's out tomorrow so might give it a go & let you know what happens. Kierna

  4. Love this idea! Building down...what a fun and different concept. Thanks!

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