Loose Parts Fridays invites you to join us from your homes to follow your child’s lead and support them to try out their own ideas using loose parts and our thematic play prompts.
For the next 4 weeks of Loose Parts Fridays, we’re taking a look back at a series of workshops with Collective’s partner schools in 2017, led by Catherine Payton.
Week 1: Maps and Models
Imagine: The year is 2168, Edinburgh is flooded and all that remains are a series of islands formed of the city’s seven hills. You are one of a small band of survivors who have inhabited Calton Hill Island, adapting their ways of life to this new environment.
You decide the first step towards understanding your new surroundings is to make a model or map of the island, to help you get your bearings (it doesn’t need to be accurate – you can use your imagination!) You could use clay, plasticine or play-doh, or gather recycled materials from around your house (toilet roll tubes, newspaper, bottle tops etc) to create your model, and imagine what the island would look like – what natural features does the island have? Are there any man-made structures on the island? What is the water surrounding the island like? Is it wild and choppy? Infested with sharks? Or is it clear, calm and perfect for swimming?
Share a photo of your island model with us using the hashtag #collectiveplay and join us next week for another Loose Parts Friday activity!
Week 2: Nature's Tools
Now that you’ve mapped your environment, you’ll need to gather materials to make useful tools.
Imagine a future in which Edinburgh is completely flooded, and only a series of islands remain, including Calton Hill. As one of a small band of survivors living on the hill, you’ll need to find ways of adapting to life in your new surroundings.
What kinds of resources might you be able to find in nature to help you? What kind of jobs will you need to do on the island to survive? Growing food, making shelter and collecting water are all important tasks, but what about making art?! Head outside to your local park (or to Calton Hill, if you live nearby!) and see how many different natural resources you can collect. Things like twigs, stones, feathers and leaves will be very useful for your new life on the island!
When you get home, lay out your materials and think about what tools you could make using the objects you gathered from nature. You could make a paintbrush, using a stick, and painting a picture using inks or watercolours. Try tying adding a feather, leaf or blade of grass to the end of the stick and using this to paint with too!
What other useful tools can you make?
Share your stick paintings, or the tools you’ve made, using the hashtag #collectiveplay!
Week 3: Machines
This week, instead of using tangible materials, you’ll be using your body and the way it moves to make art.
The imaginary island you’re living on is rich with natural materials, and last week you made useful tools from resources gathered on the hill. But some tasks will be much more difficult, and will require some imaginary machines to help you. Think about some of the important jobs you’ll need to do to survive – things like gathering fresh water, chopping wood and harvesting crops. How about a cloud machine to provide cover from the sun and a supply of water? Or an exercise machine to keep the island inhabitants fit and healthy?
Using your body, perform how your machine might be used – it could be helpful to ask other members of your family to help out, and each pretend to be a different part of the machine!
This week, using all the scenery, maps, models, tools and machines you’ve made and imagined so far, try making up a story set on your island. You could take inspiration from fairy tales or folklore, sci-fi films or comic books to imagine what might happen there. Who lives on the island, and how did they end up there when the city was flooded? What happened when they decided to set up a new civilisation? Did they face any challenges? What are their daily lives like?
if you’re looking for some inspiration, listen to our Observer's Walk title ‘Time Capsule' – this story was produced with children from our partner schools imagining a story on their version of Calton Hill Island! Listen here.