For some new provocations in our block center we added cardboard boxes of various sizes. We cut holes in the boxes on all sides at different heights. Then we provided wrapping paper tubes, cove molding and large marbles.
The children engaged in learning many of the principals of physics and problem solving as they tried different creations of ramps and tunnels for the marbles. They used some of the regular blocks as supports for their structures.
They tested their pathways and then reworked them if they did not perform as expected. They tested dropping marbles from outside the boxes and inside the boxes.
They had to solve interesting problems such as how to fit a tube through a box when a friend was inside the box.
The worked side by side and together, sharing ideas, comparing ideas and expanding upon each other’s ideas.
We were there to comment on what we were noticing, to ask questions about what we saw them doing and to make suggestions to further their problem solving abilities.
By the end of the week, we saw them going inside the boxes more than playing with the tubes, so in following their lead, we added more boxes of various sizes. What did they do with them?
They connected them until they filled the entire block area figuring out how to get them to stand up, how to support them, how to make room for more friends to come in and so much more.
We do not need the newest shiny toys to make fantastic learning environments for children. But we do need to follow their lead.