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An Example of Self-Directed Play

Day 59 5.13.20


“Loose parts can inspire a day of activities and then some...” by Naomi Sukenik


The kids asked for a scavenger hunt today. I had intended putting together a few loose parts to provoke some play, but per request, instead I made up clues for them to find the loose parts and then I waited to see what would happen.

Tom read them aloud the clues and they found the materials with ease (too much ease). The last time we did a scavenger hunt it was a birthday present scavenger hunt for Leeor. She had connected scavenger hunt to presents which is why she was so excited to participate this time. She was less happy to be collecting sticks. She thought it was more like a chore I'm forcing her to do then a game. I told her she didn't have to but afterwards they could create with the materials. Once she understood it was not a chore or a game she had to play, her anger dissipated and she joined in immediately. She also loves creating


Loose Parts Clues:

Top Left - Carpet pieces,

Top right- rope,

Middle right above- sticks,

Middle right below- cardboard,

Left bottom- sheet,

RIght Bottom- clothes pins

There were a few corrections but you get the point…



After finding all the materials they made a fort/shelter. They also asked that I don't take it down. I turned off the sprinklers! I should probably put up a sign “child made” so they don't ask us to take down the encampment (it is in the front yard).

The kids immediately declared they are sleeping in there tonight which of course I shut down- after all it’s in our front yard. I did tell them they can set up the tent in the backyard and they took it further to actually go camping. They quickly added and “can we make a fire? And can we make hotdogs on the fire? And can we? can we? can we?” YES YES YES YES. Sure, why not?!

AND WHEN ARE YOU OPENING, DEAR YOSEMITE?


So tonight we have a backyard camping plan that was inspired by their idea for a scavenger hunt, then their idea to make a fort, then their idea to sleep in the fort then to a fire, hotdogs and backyard camping. Interestingly, they did not ask for s’mores, to which I also would have said yes!


The rest of the day they spent improving the fort, riding bikes, doing school work and soon it’s camping time.


This sounds like a pretty self directed day right? I want to remind you that early in this week I posted about our new schedule and reigning back some control after the bickering increased. That is still happening! See blog and schedule here from earlier in the week!




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