Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Preconceived Idea

I usually put out resources with an idea of what we will do with the materials. I allow the children to explore and use their own ideas, but at least I have a starting point to suggest. I may plan to make a banner or create a collage or so forth.

Recently I found a bag of paper scraps. The white paper was left over from a project (from a couple of years ago!); the shapes were triangles and rectangles mostly. I remembered a post from Irresistible Ideas for Play-Based Learning and decided we would use these scraps in some way.

This week was the week. I put out the paper scraps, colored masking tape, scissors, markers, and stickers. I did add some manila paper for a base (if needed). I had no idea what the children would do with them. I knew they would like the tape. Last week we made scrolls and they loved taping sticks to paper. So I figured that they would just create. At the table, they asked, "What do we do?" "Use the tape and paper," I said. "You can tape paper and use the stickers." A couple of girls reluctantly sat down and tentatively began to work.

After a while the table was full. I had to encourage children to finish so others could have a turn to work. I saw a wide variety of creations.

And one boy balanced the rolls of tape on his head, stacking and balancing one on another until he had four or five! The kids debated about whether he was a king (with a crown) or an angel (with a halo). I refrained from commenting.

This creative exercise was fun for them and continuing education for me. I know they are creative. But I'm always surprised at how they can build on each other's ideas and take simple resources to new heights.

I have lots of scraps left over. Maybe next time I'll combine them with my lids. Hmmm.


  1. My class loves tape! They still have a little trouble with it, though - and that can get very frustrating. I find that if I pre-cut pieces of tape and put them along the edge of the table that it cuts down on some of the frustration. Can't wait to see how your kids incorporate the lids :)

  2. There is certainly magic in masking tape isn't there Scott? Yours however is a lot more irresistible to look at than our boring on white tape. I really must investigate the availability of coloured tape in my part of the world. Having such gorgeous colours Scott you might be interested in a post we did earlier using just masking tape (white in our case) and black paper. I reckon your coloured tape on paper would look really terrific too!
    Donna :) :)

  3. I love open ended art. My art area is set up so that children can choose materials freely and create. Sometimes we have "projects" but I love to see what the children come up with on their own. My son thrives on the ability to use mixed mediums and to just create at any time. I love how he can see something and come up with hundreds of different ideas on how to use it.

  4. So fun to just let them create on their own!

  5. Looks like your students had fun with the tape activity! What’s not to love with those colorful tapes, right? Plus, it’s an activity with not much directives, but just to “create on their own”. What did they end up making out of it? Anyway, thanks for sharing! Here's to many more tape activities to come!

    Lauren Woods @ Adhesive Tapes