Windsor Junction Community Centre

Today we hosted loose parts adventure play at Windsor Junction Community Centre. We spent the morning, so some groups could spend time with us while others were having swimming lessons. There were about six groups in all, with 12-15 children in each group, plus two leaders per group.

The space was a baseball field surrounded by chain link fence, so the kids had lots of fun connecting various materials to the fence to see what would stay up. Each new set of children spent a few minutes experimenting with different materials, but since it was a very hot, sunny day, everyone tried a fort at some point, to create some shade!

There were several digging groups, working in the outfield (they filled in the holes before we left), and a few experiments with whether the pipes could be ‘convinced’ the stay upright in the very hard, dry ground….

The group leaders had at least as much fun as the kids with building forts, and they assured me that they will have us back next year earlier in the summer so they can get inspired to start their own loose parts collection!

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Halifax Developmental Centre for Early Learning

Our team had a grand adventure at Halifax Developmental Centre for Early Learning this morning. This early learning centre has a particular expertise in “the delivery of individualized early intervention programs for children with a broad variety of special needs”. Despite a wide variety of challenges and other abilities, the kids there had as much fun with our loose parts as any kids anywhere. 🙂

The play space was a fairly typical school playground with a sand box, a metal climbing structure with slides, and a few other odds and ends. The chain link fence around the outside made for a good way to tie up sheets to make forts, although the largest structure ended up being over top of the climbing structure, so the kids could ‘hide out’ and get some shade.

The two truck tie-down straps that we use to create a place to bounce while holding on (see Photo Gallery) were particularly popular with this group!

One small boy was utterly engrossed in putting various items through a set of tubes that were propped up on a milk crate. It took lots of experimenting for him to figure out what went down the fastest, rolled the farthest when it came out, etc…

The two members of my own team who came with me were delighted to realize that our stuff is as accessible to children with various challenges as it is for ‘regular kids’ (their words). We hope to get back there next year to see if they are developing their own collection!

Family SOS Healthy Kidz program

This morning we took our collection of loose parts to the Healthy Kidz program at Family SOS in the Greystone area of Halifax. There were about 25 kids participating in our two hour session, ranging in age from 7-12.

Their play space is a grassy area enclosed by a picket fence, which was just the right size to spread out the ‘stuff’ and have a fort-building competition. It was a lovely hot summer day, so the shade created by the sheets and tarps was most welcome!  And a good place to hang out while putting on extra sunscreen, too…

Although an older group of kids, the appeal of forts and pipes is just as strong, although the level of complexity in what gets built is higher. Taller forts, more complicated things built with pipes. We brought the bungee cords for this group, and they had a great time making bows with a bungee cord and a bendy-pipe. We set up a target on the fence so a small group could experiment with what made the best kind of ‘arrow’.

The staff particularly remarked that a few of the older kids who are normally too ‘cool’ to want to play structured games were deeply involved in the fort-building and much more engaged than usual. Always good to hear!

We hear they might be considering their own collection of loose parts, so we’ll check back in with them next summer…