Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Raid Your Kitchen to Build

This week I continued my ongoing/sporadic experiment to place unusual things in different areas of the room. We placed some kitchen items in the blocks center.

We had some pizza pans, cookie sheets, cutting board, bowls, colander, and wire cooling racks.

The kids began experimenting with using them in building.

The one boy began to experiment with creating designs.

A couple of kids used the blocks as "food" to cook.

The kids used these things in surprising ways, and they seemed to have a good time experimenting with how to use the different items with the blocks (or without the blocks sometimes).

Of course after a while, things became all mixed together.

And it was time to clean up.

As I reflect on this activity - and evaluate my experiment - I offer these suggestions/observations.

  • I just put the items in the center with the blocks. When kids came to the center, the items were there with no explanation.
  • Often I need to mention that the kids can use the materials to build if they choose. Sometimes they will just ignore or avoid them without my "permission."
  • I observed what was happening but didn't offer any suggestions or do anything with the materials myself. For example, when the boy tried to build with the wire racks, the "walls" would fall. I commented, "The walls fell down. Maybe you could figure out another way for them to stand." He began to experiment without any further "help" from me.
  • Be prepared for kids to just build and ignore the unusual additions. While it didn't happen this time, I have experienced "failure" with adding items.
  • It's not really a failure if kids choose what to use and what not to use.


  1. I love the way you allow the children to take the initiative and just narrate!

  2. I love seeing what the kids do. It's amazing that some resort to thinking of food representation when using kitchen supplies and it doesn't even cross the minds of others. Love the variety!! Please check out my Facebook blog page to see what we've been up to in my preschool class. https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=tn_tnmn

  3. I was just reading this piece today about how children create more surprising things when they are not shown what to do - when children are prompted to "play", they'll be able to think of more things to do with an object compared to if they were shown something to do with an object. This is a great experiment - and one we can all easily try out in our own classrooms! Thanks!

  4. I love your ideas here- boy do I have plenty of plastic lids...
    Pinned your post :)