Monday, January 10, 2011

A Giant Tube!

Remember how enthused I was about the packaging that came with our new lockers back in September? Well, I've been salivating over another exciting delivery these past couple weeks. Check it out.

This is an 18-foot long heavy cardboard tube with a circumference big enough to accommodate children. My biggest concern is how I'm going to store it, although I think I've already settled on the idea of ultimately cutting it into at least two segments. In fact, I'm thinking of one 9-foot piece and a couple 4.5-foot pieces. In addition to using them as tunnels, I can see the longer length making a terrific impromptu slide, at least for a time -- it seems sturdy enough for that. It might be fun to climb inside the shorter pieces and have your friends roll you around.

For the time being, however, I'm planning to leave it in a single long piece and see what evolves.

Naturally, rolling balls and vehicles down it will be a hoot.

It's long and dark enough that I'm imagining it will be good for a little flashlight play. 

And I wonder how it will sound to shout into it, especially with a buddy at the other end. 

I'm a little wary about the prospects of claustrophobia should someone get trapped in the middle with people coming at them from both ends, so we'll probably have to make it a one-way tunnel.

Of course, since this has occupied our gym for the past week, the children have already been sitting and climbing on it, working on their log-rolling skills; that will probably continue.

It might be fun to paint it, draw on it, or otherwise decorate its flanks.

It's too heavy for a single kid to lift it. How many will it take? 

But even if they can't budge it off the ground, it will only take one or two to roll it back and forth from one side of the gym to the other.

Maybe we'll give it name, like Big Bertha.

Alright, so now I've done my curriculum planning for the next few days. Excellent.

(To read about how we played with the giant tube, click here.)

What's that? What was inside the giant tube? 

Oh, inside was our new 16-foot Sundowner awning we purchased to help keep us a little dryer when we're playing in the outdoor classroom during the wet Seattle winters. If we like it, we plan on getting a second one, which would give us the ability to create instant rain coverage for a large portion of our outdoor space.

Ruby's dad Chan and Lily's dad Greg gave up a Saturday afternoon (during the Seahawks playoff game I might add) to install it. Thanks guys!

This is our first winter in running the outdoor classroom, spending about half our school days out there year round. Rain hasn't been a huge issue so far, although there have a been a few days when it really came down and there are still several months of cold and damp ahead of us. The idea isn't to keep us completely dry, but rather to take the edge off of those rainy, cold days, while still having the benefits of being outdoors.

I know that the parents who work stations outside are going to appreciate the new awning. I wonder if the kids will even notice.

Next up? Benjamin's dad and I met last week to discuss plans for building a "hoop house" greenhouse to enclose our entire garden. Not only will it provide more rain protection, but we should be able to raise the temperature enough to get things growing earlier than in a typical Pacific Northwest garden. We hope to design something that goes up each November and comes down again around the spring equinox. 

I wonder what kind of packaging that will come in?

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Saya said...

I LOVE how you are excited about the package than actual inside of that package... I'm the same way! I really do need another classroom to store all junks aka activity materials I collect. ha ha ha.
I can't wait to see what children would do with them pipes! :)

susan said...

Tom - You could use an old tent or just suspend some sheets to make a separate room in the corner, & stick the end of the tube there. so the kids get to the secret room thru the tube.

MOM #1 said...

I can't want for future posts that show impromptu tube play. I'll be staying tuned!

michellel said...

I was eyeing the Sunsetter awning for our sandbox. Now I have another exciting reason to buy one!

Play for Life said...

Now that looks like fun but Tom I so want to know your contingency plan for when some one gets stuck half way down ... and let's face it now that you've voiced it it's bound to happen! Promise me you WILL post about that one! hehehehehe
Donna :) :)

Shelly said...

To be honest, I was wary at first of being the parent in charge of tube play today. Some of the kids had a steamroller thing going with the tube when we first started out... I was thinking "Yikes!" Once we got the balls going, though, it turned into kind of a science experiment about slope and momentum. Then the belts and wooden boxes started going down the tube and got stuck - and we had this awesome problem solving session, which resulted in getting the stuff unstuck! It was really fun! Big Bertha would be the perfect name, by the way.

Scott said...

Just imagining what fun play could be had with that tube makes me smile.

Let the Children Play said...

I can just see the way your eyes would have lit up when they first saw the tube :)