Ambiguous Resources 2

Have you ever made a car or a rocket from a cardboard box? We most definitely have. A saying we hear a lot is “they play with the box, more than the toys inside”. At Inspirations, we have also witnessed this, and observed that children gain a lot of skills from this type of play.

The children ‘making something out of nothing’ is teaching them to be resourceful and using their imaginations. I always remember the fairy liquid advert, the little boy waited weeks and weeks for the empty bottle so he could create a rocket with it. It doesn’t stop at just creating artwork. You can reuse many things to make for other uses which we will talk about a little later in this blog.

At Inspirations, we use loose parts (see our previous loose parts blog). The purpose of them, is that they are so versatile and allow the children to make whatever they wish.

A plastic car is only a plastic car, whereas a stick could be a magic wand or a person or wherever your imagination will take you. It is the same when reusing resources to make something else with the added bonus that we are recycling an item, instead of throwing it away.

We like to do this with a lot of items, including household items. For example old microwaves, iPads, toasters and typewriters in the home corner for the children to use during role play.  Using ‘real’ items ensures the children learn to respect things too. If a child drops or throws a plastic cup, there is no consequence that comes from that. Whereas, if they dropped a glass, it would smash and they could no longer play with it. In the art studio, they use glass pots that were dessert pots for paint. We use a lot of apple crates, wooden palettes, and cable reels for our equipment.

These are valuable pieces of equipment for us as well as excellent large loose parts for the children to use when being creative. The cable reels in the baby and toddler rooms have been decorated with different themes. One of them is a car theme with a road and ramps available to be put on the side where they choose. The other is a farm theme with Astro turf stuck on and a farmland scene painted on with a 3d effect. We also reuse tyres for large loose parts or even as planters or a sand pit! The babies have reused bicycle wheels to support the rotation schema- please see our ‘being two, what are schemas’ blog. We reuse bottles and create sensory bottles in the baby and toddler room. The preschoolers have reused bottles for planting.

This is just another valuable learning opportunity for the children to gain the skills to reuse things, rather than adding to the waste on Earth. We get a lot of our equipment from SCRAP (scrap creative reuse Arts Project Ltd) as we have spoken about in our ‘make something out of nothing’ blog. We also rely on the practitioners collecting and then our wonderful families donating things that they think we can reuse. Car boot sales and charity shops are a great find for getting things to reuse.

Next time you want to throw something away, perhaps think again, it might just be our children’s next project waiting to happen.