Ordinary Moments of Innovation

What happens when Teacher Cindy decides we need a holiday from bike riding?  Innovation!  Creative thinking!  Learning new skills! Prosocial behaviour!

Let me give you a little background.  I have a group of preschoolers who love to ride bikes.  They are very low to the ground, have no pedals and are just perfect for learning how to balance.  Many of them do this daily and are very happy to do so.  After lots of happy daily experiences with biking I wanted to see what might happen when the bikes are not available for awhile.  I felt it was time for the children to explore the outdoor area in new ways. (Okay, there were other reasons for putting bikes away but I won’t get into that here.)IMG_2755

In the photo above, a couple of children created a game with balls and hula hoops.  They had rarely touched these items in the past few months.  In this game, the idea was to collect balls and put them inside the hoops.  Once all the balls are collected, the idea is to vigorously kick each one away and then run quickly after them to return them to their original place.  The whole game was completely invented by JR and JM.

Then JR had a new idea to put the hoop into the tree.  He called his game “basketball” and practiced throwing the ball through the hoop.  This came has caught on during the week and has been enjoyed regularly by JM, D, AS and others. Who needs a basketball hoop when a tree and a simple hula hoop works just as well?   This is a great example of the theory of loose parts.


Of course it is always more interesting when the game becomes more challenging.  How did they add a challenge for themselves?  Someone decided (maybe JM) to add more hula hoops to the tree.  Now they would have to see if they could get the ball to go through three hula hoops instead of one.  Because the tree is natural, the hoops will not line up perfectly.  They are three different heights.  This makes the game really interesting and fun!

And what happens when a shorter child comes along and tries to get the ball through the hoop but just cannot quite throw it high enough into the air?  These kind children who invented the game pull the hoop down just enough so that our shorter friend can have success with his basketball shot too.  Wow!  What friendly thoughtful children we have.

We need some more loose parts in our play area!  Can you think of any ideas for what we can collect?  I’m making a list so please share ideas if you have some.








4 thoughts on “Ordinary Moments of Innovation

  1. Thank you. I really find that these “learning stories” that I write help me stay focused on the positive things these children do every day. When I feel good about my group of preschoolers it keeps everyone feeling happy; the mood just permeates through everyone.


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