Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Making a den

There is a bit of unused space in between 2 computer desks and I have often wondered what to do with it...

I have not previously encouraged children to use it because it has printers to the side and some cables to the back of one of the desks which, while not risk assessed as dangerous, didn’t make it a particularly inviting space.

After some thought, Nige made me 2 wooden sides for the computer desks which removed the issues of the cables and printer and left a small rectangle of usable space.

At Early Excellence in Huddersfield, I received a voucher to purchase resources and decided to buy some pretend grass and a large woven circular (quite shallow) basket. I also bought a large ethnically inspired cushion from a local shop.

I then found a length of green net material which can be draped across the space and held in place by the computer monitors so it is easily removed when not in use.

My thought was to set up the space and see if the children were interested in exploring it with any resources. The first child to go in there is aged nearly 3. He took a train, block and teddy with him and curled up for a short while playing with his toys. This sparked interest from the other children who wanted to see what he was doing.

Over the next few days a few other children explored the space, taking various resources with them. A 5 year old sat and read her school book in there and another 5 year old introduced the caring, cosy side of the space by bringing a tired dolly who needed some peace to go to sleep.

Inspired by the children’s enjoyment of the newly created space, I decided to see what might happen if I introduced some resources for them.

I popped a soft bodied doll, small baby blanket, sensory doll book (from the ‘That’s not my...’ series) and comb into the basket I bought from Early Excellence to see what would happen.

Very quickly, the doll had a friendly dinosaur to play with and she was untucked from her blanket because she wanted to read the book. Since then she has been asleep and awake as various children have played with her – yet when she was in a box with a group of other dolls, she was largely ignored.

Next week I intend to put some other resources into the basket and see what happens!

Happy days! :-)