Create a realistic learning location by having a good, varied assortment of building materials. Different sized bricks and stones help set the scene. A selection of gravel along with sand and a builder’s tray is also useful.
A construction site set up is ideal for encouraging communication, maths and collaborative play. Cordon off an area with plastic mesh, just like the real sites use. Let the children design the signs and posters, reaffirming safety rules aligned to real sites. Ensure there is a place to store tools, clipboards, hard hats, brushes, buckets and spades etc. Have mugs and a kettle in order to make a cup of tea at break times. Provide wheelbarrows for bricks and sand to be transported. ICT can be integral with walkie-talkies, phones, tools, torches and metal detectors.
Consider that most children will have only experienced construction scenes from a distance, so view videos, books, and find clips on websites to enable the children to gain a sense of what actual sites are like.
For a small world alternative, set up a Tuff Spot with a construction theme. Add a builder’s yard mat, sand, small pebbles, construction trucks and diggers. Small world construction workers and vehicles also make a lovely addition.
Construction Tips –
- Use wet sand as ‘cement’ and provide bricks to enable children to build super walls.
- Try to include pulley systems, aerial and traversing. Set challenges for transporting items.
- Chalk is a good way of drawing out architects’ plans and marking where the building is going to take place.
- Children need to be able to access water, not only to mix the concrete, but to pretend to paint, clean etc.
- Provide the appropriate clothing e.g. hard hats, hi-vis vest or let them design their own.
- Ask the children what they want to build, then record each stage to completion, taking photographs along the way.
- Consider the different roles on a site e.g. carpenter plumber, inspectors, delivery vans etc. Provide access to wood, piping, a variety of tools etc to make the scene realistic.
- Design for a particular character – make a wolf proof house, a house for Elmer etc.
- Create reasons for children to write by providing clipboards.
- Count the cones as you cordon off the building site.
- How many bricks have been laid?