Excuse the mess… 

Absolutely no explanation needed here except for- I’m so glad I’m not alone! 

Some days I look at the classroom and I think “How the hecky peck are we ever going to get straight?”

But we always do… 

With Creativity comes mess!

  

I’m the king of the castle! 

 Today was a grand day… 

We have recently had new clever touch screens fitted. Guess who “bagsied” the box? Yep you’ve guessed it… Me! 

I left it in our deconstructed role play this morning and for the first session just observed the role play using this box. 

During our 2nd session I decided to join my little cherubs in the role play, and model some creative thinking and imaginative play. The children told me they wanted to make a castle…. 

One little girl decided to draw a picture of what a castle looks like. This was to form the basis of our plan.

There was lots of chat about 

  • moats
  • Drawbridges 
  • Kings 
  • Queens
  • Doors 
  • Windows with bars
  • Look outs 
  • Enemies
  • Baddies
  • Guns
  • Cannons 

  
The children found the cardboard too tricky to cut so told me to “find something dangerous” to cut the card! I decided to use a saw from the DT cupboard. In an ideal world I would have preferred them to use the saw, but as I hadn’t risk assessed this with them prior to this I thought it best to take the lead! (Note to self do this for Sept!) 

They directed me, and were very explicit on how it should be done (I have to admit that at times I did find this tricky- I had to remind myself a couple of times that this was in fact their castle and not mine!) 

  
Unfortunately lunch time called and we had to abort play for a while. What this did enable me to do was root out from the depths of my cupboard our “castle role play box” this delightful box is a treasure trove full of anything a king/queen would need when residing in a magnificent abode! 

My gorgeous TA’s also added lining paper to the outside of the castle so to encourage fresh mark making opportunities. 

I adored standing back and watching play develop as their confidence and ideas grew. I feel happy that I have taughtots of new facts today about castles that my little brood didn’t know about when they arrived at school this morning. 

  
Did they know they were learning? Did they heck! Did they have fun, and drive the learning forward themselves? ABSOLUTELY!!! 

   

Deconstructed role play 

Many of you will know I have written about this before…

I have a real passion and innate desire to allow children to be free in their own creativity. 

In our setting gone are the days where we create a Gruffalo cave (I’m not being funny… How many gruffalo caves have you been in? Me neither and even if I had I’m not sure what play I’d do in there?) I hold my hands up and say that I used to be that teacher that would print off a load of key words, spend hours laminating them and stick them up in “MY” role play area, and expect the Kidkets to sit with a clip board and write them down, or read them and use them in their conversation! Of course they didn’t use them… All that was happening was a big old waste of a few hours spent at the laminator! 

What I do do is spend my weekends trawling round various supermarkets and shops asking for boxes so that I can provide my children with a great range of different types, sized, shaped boxes that can be whatever the heck they like! 

Today was one of those days my heart felt happy, and a few goose bumps appeared on my arms! (Ok it doesn’t happen every day- but you know that feeling when it does!)

I looked over to our role play and this is what greeted me…  

  
I literally whooped and cheered! I think  I perhaps made a few children jump with fright in the process! (Oops- surely they are used to this crazy lady by now!!)  

I was totally blown away by the creativity, craftsmanship and collabation that had gone into this design. Not only had they cut the paper into a flag shape, drawn the skull and cross bones, attached it to the mast (big tube) tied the mast onto the box with string! But they also presented their plan!  

   

“We decided what we wanted it to be first” they said “So we drew it!”

And there we have it… Creativity in its simplest form!!

Deconstructed Role Play

I’ve had lots of people asking me what a deconstructed role play is and how it works. So here we go… 

  
I first saw the idea on an amazing blog I follow written by ABC does! If you haven’t come across his site you really must  pop its a great read for EYFS. We have used lots of his ideas as talking points in our weekly EYfS team meetings. In fact my colleagues say I talk more about Alistair than my hubby!!!! 

So what is a deconstructed role play! And how does it work? 

  
It’s basically role play that allows children to be totally in control of their own learning, for them to take ownership of their ideas, and for them to drive their learning forward with us as practitioners to help them extend their thinking with careful questioning and suggestions for higher order thinking and next steps. All of which are key to outstanding early years practice! 

  
It took me a little while to get my head around letting go… We always had a beautifully created role play, always linking to topic with key words plastered around (that the children never used) and gorgeous writing templates connected to this (that the children never wrote on- because they were our ideals and not theirs!) and went down the deconstructed route! 

  
This is simply a collection of different sized boxes. You will find yourself best friends with any delivery driver, routing through various skips and making special trips to super markets way after closing time! I have found the best place to collect locally is our “Iceland” store. They have fab boxes of all shapes and sizes which are plain cardboard allowing the children free reign on mark making and creativity. 

  
Once you are armed with your boxes, you need a space in your setting to allow your children space to create and design. I have also positioned our deconstructed role play near a white board so the children can use the board to mark make and add to their ideas. I have seen some children using this board to draw sketches of their designs (this happens less frequently but the opportunity is there non the less) if you haven’t got a white board a lovely roll of lining paper will suffice. 

Then let their little minds do the rest. Each week we add a different enhancement. These could be as follows…

  • Material 
  • Rope
  • String 
  • Tarpaulin 
  • Hats 
  • Dressing up clothes
  • Masks
  • Puppets 
  • Tyres 
  • Steering wheels
  • Bamboo canes
  • Wheels
  • Sheets
  • Branches 
  • Cable reels 
  • Logs 
  • Large/small tubes 

Just as we would do with literacy and maths , we plan opportunities to model sessions in the deconstructed role play, but ensure that our children take the lead. 

  
The one rule we have is that you don’t have ownership of your box, what may have been a car in a previous session could in fact be turned into a castle in the next! 

  
We tend to replenish boxes on a weekly basis- ensuring there is plenty of scope for new design and imagination 

I always provide masking tape, scissors, cellotape, string, marker pens and felt tips so the children can turn their boxes into anything that floats their boat. 

Often I just stand back and observe! 

The observations I have collected have been second to non- the world is your child’s oyster when it comes to plain, blank boxes! Give it a go…

I’d love to hear your outcomes!