Yesterday I shared what I consider to be one of the essential preschool collections: silly hats. I put large scale gutters and tubes in the same category.
Long gutters and tubes are particularly important because they almost necessitate cooperative play, both due to the fact that the 2-10 foot long pieces often need more than one set of hands to move and position, but also because you need a friend to help retrieve the balls.
I combine them with our boxes, but regular tables and chairs work just fine.
I like to make sure we have so many balls that it's impossible for one or even a group of kids to hoard them all. Yesterday, I also added balls of various sizes, which lead to other kinds of "What happens if I . . . ?" experiments, but the tennis balls are the most fun.
This is a particularly good multi-age activity, one that lends itself to increasing complexity and challenge as the children get older.
The kids eventually dragged one of the boxes over so they
could get up higher on this one.
You can also see in these last two photos what we did
with our super dooper sized "marble" painting.
I like to make sure to give it plenty of space, because gutters and tubes, at its best, is a true full body physics experiment.