Such a simple object that affords so many practical uses for learning.
I received this image from Community Playthings (@community_play)
You can read about it here: www.communityplaythings.co.uk/...
It is truly awesome – but it is a ship, it will always be a ship and can really only be a ship/shipwreck/pirate ship/sunken ship etc. In terms of children feeding their innate curiosity, beyond the obvious it is limited. In my opinion.
See my other story: Curiosity killed the Cat, but…
Children should be given the resources to create their own landscape outside, so yes, give them a pile of wooden pallets – at some point they will build a ship! But they will quickly make it a rocket, car, castle, cave, prison… and so on.
It is the flexibility that creates the power.
My best observation of this was as a student in Hull, we lived in a side road which had a bollard at the end preventing car access. Opposite our house lived 2 brothers and somewhere near their friend, all aged 8-10. We called them the A-Team.
One day one of these appeared in the road, like things often did…
The A-Team swooped!
Daily they appeared with tools, bits of wood, plastic sheeting, pallets, tyres, car seats (we thought it best not to ask where they came from) and they would transform this cart into all sorts, hence their nickname.
They had and developed serious skills, they planned, organised, discussed what they needed to find. Over several weeks ,before the council came and cleared it, they created wonders.
This sets me thinking when schools build “A Thing”, is it too specific and as such limits the play and learning opportunity?
So, the pallet…
It can be used for so much and it lends itself to many things.
- They make excellent wall mounted hanging frames for other equipment i.e. in a Mud Kitchen.
- This image from @imaginationtree for making a portable writing surface (cheap as chips).
- Use as a great ladder for climbing up and over things.
- Bolt 4 together and line it to make a raised planter/compost bin.
- Line one with garden fabric, fill it with compost and you can plant in perfectly spaced rows!
- Build something! A den, prison cell, a raft (great on a flooded playground!)
- Create a staircase or tower
- They can be piled up neatly and stuffed with leaves, sticks, canes and so on as a giant ‘Bug Hotel’
- Use the fact they are square/rectangular to form the sides of 3D shapes.
Pallets are ‘flexible’ even if not literally.
When it comes to November 5th, if you've too many or some that are past their best – your school bonfire is sorted!