Tinkering School

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Playground for a (fill in the blank) - Day 1 - SF

Playground for a (2017)Piper AlldredgeComment

Have you ever noticed kids pretending to be animals? And, have you ever wondered how these animals might play some of the games that human kids love to play? As an elementary teacher, I sometimes find my self surrounded by tiny human sized puppies, kittens, or bunnies. So, during our project brainstorm at the beginning of the summer, I proposed that we build a wacky playground for some type of animal one week. And my awesome coworkers were down! So, this week, we're building a climbing wall for a fly, a slide for a crocodile, and some monkey bars for a crab (aka crabby bars). But first, we made group agreements and practiced using tools, of course! 

Violet demonstrates how to escape a tiny off-cut trapped inside the blood bubble.

Violet demonstrates how to escape a tiny off-cut trapped inside the blood bubble.

Emilia practices using the drill.

Emilia practices using the drill.

After taking a break to play and eat some lunch at the park, these girls were so excited to find out our projects for this week. Oh! And, also, it's all grrrls week! In case you didn't know, we always reserve spots in camp for girls and offer programming just for folks that identify as girls. We've found that for many girls, this provides an excellent introduction to our space, and gives many very positive first experiences building and making. With this strong foundation, these girls often return to co-ed workshops feeling confident and empowered to participate fully. 

Anyway, after lunch, we announced our theme, and the project leads pitched their ideas. Then, we got right work! 

Emilia and Xochi draw their idea for crabby bars that are higher on one end than the other, so that everyone can have fun!

Emilia and Xochi draw their idea for crabby bars that are higher on one end than the other, so that everyone can have fun!

Jana, Sylvie and Lia use a measuring tape to help visualize the dimensions for their croc-o-slide. 

Jana, Sylvie and Lia use a measuring tape to help visualize the dimensions for their croc-o-slide. 

At the end of the day, after resetting our building areas by organizing our projects and putting away tools and materials, we gathered together for a closing circle. We talked about some of the questions we found ourselves asking throughout the day, from the classic "How can I help?" to "Would it be possible to...?" questions open so many doors! 

Eleanor tells the group about the time Mika helped her by marking a piece of wood with a marker when her hands were full. 

Eleanor tells the group about the time Mika helped her by marking a piece of wood with a marker when her hands were full. 

I can't wait to come back tomorrow and get back to work--these girls have so many wacky ideas for these play structures! Check out our flickr for more photos throughout the week. 

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