Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Play with Trash!

Well, maybe not the bags that we send out to the bins every week, but some of our most favorite manipulatives have come from found discarded items and reclaimed pieces of paper or plastic, from wonderful places like Scrap or The Rebuilding Center here in Portland.  Other favorite manipulatives are found items from ether free boxes or materials we use during our day.  The lids to smoothies make great additions for free play as they become cookies or galletas.  The children also love these lids to explore space as they notice their fingers fit inside the small apertures.  Spice jars are a constant favorite and transition between drinking vessels, containers for small collections and musical instruments through out the day. 

Our newest find was discovered just down the street from our school.  I first noticed the white suitcase waiting for me near the dumpster at a nearby apartment complex.  I was excited with the prospect of what the children might use a suitcase for, but when I tried to pick it up it was quite heavy.  Inside was a sewing machine, covered with dials, levers, knobs, electric cord with plug, a pedal, and all sorts of clicky-clacky metal parts!  I just knew it would be a hit.

I carried it back to school, and when it was time to go outside we unpacked it together.  I first removed the needle and threw it away, and then I set it up on the bricks around the base of the tree.  I should have realized, but the first thing that happened was it was knocked down to the ground, much to everyone's dismay.  So we all agreed that the safest place for it to be was on the ground and we found a steady place so everyone could look at it from all angles. 

At one point everyone gathered around as various parts were pushed, pulled and twisted.  T was especially interested in the end knob.  GW loved the 'buttons!'.  Later SW tested out what would happen if he brought over a long stick and bonked the top of it.  Soon everyone wandered away and SC remained behind.  He spent the most of the time outside investigating all the angles and movable parts.  I showed him how the pedal works and he used the machine as a support as he stepped on it.

I noticed that there are many screws which are accessable from the different sides.  I look forward to offering screw drivers after we have had a few months to explore the mechanisms.  Then we'll really get hands on with the machine and see what sewing machines are all about.  I imagine then we will have many more smaller parts which could be anything!

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