Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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Ships Ahoy!

It’s official, our box has become a boat!  It all began with an enthusiastic engine design and a wave of imagination.  P1200590

So far, we’ve added navigation equipment (“It’s radar, Mrs. Forst, it shows where the water is, where the land is and where the boats are”), door knobs, handles, a “buoy” (“You throw it in the water to get people who are in the water”), a stool for the driver, lots of ropes for various jobs and a steering wheel.

The children were interested in attempting to cut the box by themselves and found it was much more difficult than it looked.

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Corrugated cardboard isn’t very forgiving to small hands.  Luckily, my trusty box cutter did the job. (No worries, safety precautions were taken and children watched from afar as I sawed my way through our sea-worthy creation.)  The children marked each space they wanted removed, cut or bored-through.  I did my best to match their schematics.

One of the ideas for the box included an animal shelter where we could get dogs and cats.  With that in mind, one of the students asked for a “cat hole” so the pets could get in and out of the boat.

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Halfway through our work, the children decided to see if they all could fit inside.  The first attempt involved squishing and smooshing while they all tried to sit down.

P1200611After five adventurers, it got a bit crowded so I asked my favorite question, “How can we solve this problem?”  “Stand up,” exclaimed one excited sailor.

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It worked! All of the children present during this construction fit.  We’ll have to check in on our boat project over the next week.

 

 


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Future Architects

With new supplies come the greatest resources of all….Big Boxes!  Add these to the incredibly creative minds of the very young, and you have an adventure unfolding before you.

2013Sep18_1080These boxes began their life in Pre-K as a series of individual rocket ships complete with steering wheels, viewing portals, and a myriad of buttons.  Today, our young architects transformed them into a large, multi-tiered house.  After some discussion regarding the best material for connecting the boxes, we choose Super Tape (secretly known as duct tape.)

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2013Sep18_1094The taping took some experimentation. Decisions had to be made about where the tape was mostly likely going to hold pieces together, how many pieces of tape might be required, and what to do if the tape rolled up on itself.

Negotiations also had to be made with others who were building.  Frequent confusion over box “ownership” led to productive discussions regarding sharing, community materials, and turn-taking.

Wonder what the construction will morph into tomorrow?


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A Horse Transformed

You might remember that a few weeks ago one of our students was inspired by our box-0-saurus and created his own horse.  Along a seemingly unrelated vein, some of you also might have heard that we’ve been working on writing a play. (I was über inspired by Teacher Tom on this one!) Today, the horse took on a new job and personality.  He has been dubbed a “War Horse”.  Since we were trapped indoors due to the weather, we had a lot of time for tinkering today.

Just in case you don’t remember, here is how our lovely horse began:

Our play, which will be unveiled in the next few days, underwent some rewriting today.  We added new characters, changed the plot a bit, and added an ending.  Though it was quite fun to act out our third version of the script, I wasn’t sure if this project was making it into the collective mindset of the students.  I was shown just how influential the idea has been when a group began making “props” for the play during our inside “recess”.

"We need a War Horse so our town can be safe from enemies."

While this project was being constructed, I was attending a fashion show on the other side of the room.  When I realized there was some major construction going on in the block area, I sidled over to find out what the hubbub was about.  I was amazed to find over half the class working on this project.  Some of the children wandered in for short periods of time, adding just a few details, while others spent over an hour (throughout the day) on it.

"It has music so that it doesn't get bored when it wants music."

I, of course wanted to know why we needed a War Horse.  Why, for the play, of course! Silly me.  I guess the fact that there is not actually a war in the play is not really a good enough reason to skip having a War Horse.  With all of this focused work, I wanted to know more about the design.

The bottle on the back is so he can squirt at people who are behind him.

Although at first glance, it looks as though the children haphazardly taped random pieces of cardboard together, they describe it with much more intentional thought.  They pointed out a row of pipes that make music, a small cannon at the front, armor to protect it from Army Men, rear defense systems, headphones, and speakers.  I find it interesting that the ability to listen to music was considered paramount to at least two separate students.   Who knew music was a prerequisite for a War Horse?

"I added the hair and the teeth. He's an armored horse because he's a bad horse." (Across the room: "No! He's a good horse!") "I mean he's a good horse."

Watching them build this creation as a team is inspiring.  They’ve gone from creating their first dinosaur with Mrs. Allan (where they built what she told them), to building an Ankylosaurus with me (where I built what they told me), to this.  Here, they built what they decided upon without any input from adults.  The previous experiences gave them just enough practice to feel confident and ready to experiment with the tools in their own way.

A War Horse with all the musical trimmings.