Loose parts

This is one of the easiest ways I’ve found of letting children explore a story. It can be done outside with natural objects or inside with a random collection of craft items. You simply ask the children to make a picture with them. It’s not a permanent picture, we don’t stick the objects down, instead they make a temporary collage on a piece of material (outside) or just on  their tables.

You can ask them to make a picture of their favourite part of a story. Or what they think is the most important part. You can make it into a game asking them to make objects or people from the story and they have to race against each other. It can be done individually or with partners or in groups. All these variations require different skills.

With classes who are able you can then give them whiteboards and ask them to write about their creation. Whatever you’re working on in literacy. They could, for example, retell that part of the story or list words which describe it.

I often take pictures of the creations, which I can then print and bring out the next week to help them retell the story or to describe it.

Some children find this really easy but others find it really hard. Working out how you can use oddly shaped parts for your creation is tricky. And when the wind (or your friend across the table!) blows your picture away you have to be resilient. Are you going to make it big or small? What will you do when your friend has a different idea from you? The designs and pictures can be so abstract that there’s no pressure to be ‘artistic’ and those who normally struggle in art can find this enjoyable.

Best of all, there’s no prep involved and you can easily focus the activity for the age of the class and your learning focus. Why not give it a go? Enjoy!

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