Leading up to February break we noticed that children were using paper, scissors and tape to create a variety of things such as hats, clothing, vehicles, characters, and superhero accouterments. The children’s interest in paper construction led us to transform our writing shelf into the “creation station.” Beyond simple white paper we have stocked our shelves with construction paper, wallpaper, and chip board from cereal and cracker boxes. There is also a variety of tools for children to use to construct and we plan to introduce more over time.
This was also a perfect time to introduce the idea of “scraps.” Children know that unwanted paper goes in the recycle bin, but this week we talked about paper that may have been used, but still has a lot of usable paper left. So the creation station features a scraps basket where kids can put paper that can still be used and where kids can go when they are trying to make something, but don’t need a whole piece of paper for their idea. Before opening the creation station, kids were scattered on the floor working on their constructions, now that we have turned the shelf around, provided more materials, and dedicated the rectangle table to creating and constructing we have noticed a greater variety of ideas and a higher level of focused and productive energy around their work.
“Making things is an activity that is key to successful learning for young children. They combine the dexterity of their little fingers with the power of their brains to develop a knack for representation and the capacity for creative visual symbolizing. It is interesting to consider this as the ability to imagine the future. The ability to physically construct new connections between thoughts and objects is the act of innovation and change.”*
*Constructive Play: A Value-Added Strategy for Meeting Early Learning Standards. Drew, Walter F.; Christie, James; Johnson, James E.; Meckley, Alice M.; Nell, Marcia L. Young Children, v63 n4 p38-44 Jul 2008