Large Scale Play can be defined as play that requires the use of the whole body. An activity that engages big muscles and challenges the body physically. Angela Hanscom covers this topic in detail in her book, Balanced and Barefoot. She states, “When your children are given both the time and space to move, they’ll naturally be getting all the “weight lifting” exercises they need to develop a strong and stable core.” Hanscom refers to this type of play as “heavy work”, which is a key component of developing the sense of Proprioception.
Last term at Bush Inventors’ Club we focused on the creation of tools and weapons. This included bow and arrows, slingshots, catapults, swords (large sticks used for ‘battle’). We provided an opportunity to explore different natural building materials and varying methods for moving objects. The term culminated in a whole group project of epic proportions. A large scale slingshot used to hurl soggy sponges through the air!
With large planks of wood, lengths of timber, jelly rubber tubing and a Gaffer-tape launch platform, the children were equipped to use their carpentry skills to create this inspiring new contraption. They used saws to cut the wood to length. A drill and brace to drill holes through the thick wood. Then hammer and nails to connect the pieces together. And finally, nuts and bolts to hold the whole thing together “securely”. After an intense hour of cooperation, coordination, collaboration (and perspiration) it was time to soak the sponges and head out to the big field and PLAY!
Absolute JOY is how it could be described – even from the adults. The chance to play with big movements, big tools, big energy and a big contraption was extremely liberating. It connected the group in a way that smaller projects never have and it united the team. There was definitely some healthy competition. Both children and adults saw this as an opportunity for challenge. In fact then worked together to discuss technique, trajectory, force and energy. Did a really heavy, wet sponge go further than a light, dry sponge? Is it best to pull all the way back on the slingshot or change the angle of the pull?
The children had more opportunities to play with the slingshot when a few of the children also attended our KIN Village school holiday program. They were able to teach others the skills they had learned in the hour of playing with it at Bush Inventors’ Club!
We love to see the potential of children realised when they are given tools, resources, guidance and TIME to make, create and play!
by Daniel Burton.