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Den mania!


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Help. Today was the first day that we have had a den as our role play area inside for quite a while. It was set up as an explorers den with camp fire, cooking utensils, binoculars, maps and clipboards. (Following observed interests) But they just went crazy!! :blink: We were very boy orientated 12 older boys to 5 girls!! The play was rough, there was no purpose and just plain bedlam. What are we doing wrong??? I have observed this behaviour before when we have had dens or tents. But it does not happen in outside dens. Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just us? :mellow: Any advice would be most welcomed.

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Hi zigzag

Yes I have experienced this - now I would never dare to say this is the 'right' answer - but my method has been - the 'den' is gone the next day and when they ask why there is a detailed explanation - then ask if they would like to 'try again' :1b

My thinking is that if whatever has been set up to follow interests just results in 'rough' or very 'low level play' then it isn't useful after all.......

Sure lots of people will be along with other (and quite possibly much better!) ideas! :1b

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Last time we set our den up, it was 'trashed' twice and they were given a warning that if it happened again it would be put straight away it lasted all of another 10mins so we stood by our words and away it went!

 

To be honest nothing productive happened with it - the children don't want to make one if we just provide resources to make their own, so we've kind of given up until summer term when hopefully they'll be a bit more mature!

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We also tried not long ago and it was trashed about 4 times and put away within a day! Ours are the same with any types of pop up tent- rolling around in it, trying to move it and walk in it! Our children broke 3 pop up tents within a few months last year, laying down in them and then the poles snapped!

We have given up using them for a while :(

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Ours the same I am afraid....the whole next generation have no respect for resources.....they have their Ipads for company and entertainment. We too have dens...I love them... torches in there,,,etc but also have thrown away pop up tents endlessly even with the 4 at a time inside rule...And they dont seem able to think how to make one of their own....such a shame....

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We don't use pop ups we have tried a few years ago, but yes found they used to jump on them to flatten them - don't know where they learnt to do that!

 

We use fabric and bulldog clips or big clips we have from B&Q. and clip it up between our climbing frame and a corner Community Playthings combo we have - bit like a sheik's tent!! They really don't try to pull it down and are willing to help clip it up, but they don't have enough strength, they help with holding it in place while adults do the clipping.

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ours are the same....the children seem to want to play under the tables so like the good practitioner I am, I slide off to the cupboard to retrieve the large panels of fabric we have to try to rig up some tents or dens......I manage it and within seconds they pull it all down and roll about on the floor, not even being able to play in the tents or dens......so much for trying to follow their interests! and I get the " I told you so" looks from my fellow staff.....sigh....

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I get the " I told you so" looks from my fellow staff.....sigh....

Now where do they learn to do those looks - is there a special college do you think? :blink: xD

I get in first when one of my ideas turns out to be less than brilliant - and say "come on now, who thought of this then" :rolleyes:

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  • 10 months later...

Hi looking at old threads re behaviour etc. I am very boy heavy.. 16 boys 6 girls..some days only 2 girls!! Got lots of role modeling and re enforcing golden rules but we are observing lots of low level play trying to run inside due to monster chasing games...we have free flow but they actuallyvwant to stay inside?!! I have to insist they come out to release some of their energy. Not doing much focus work asconstantly monitoring behaviour. We give lots of praise when we see them following the rules..encourage them to think aboutvwhy we have certain rules..follow their interests so if wanting to play chase monsters I may get them to paint or draw me a picture..build a house or cage to keep the monster but still reverts back. Tent and dens out today and had to put it away as with two staff couldn't have one of us to monitor all the time...perhaps its the time of year too?

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I was lucky enough to attend one of Alistair Bryce Clegg's seminars on continuous provision and he looked specifically at this issue. What he said made perfect sense, children don't know what to do in so many of our role play areas or with different resources so use their knowledge gained from their own experiences, films and TV. He gave a brilliant (and very funny!) example of a pirate role play area and how we put swords out then become frustrated when the children use them. He talked about thinking of the skills we want children to develop rather than thinking in terms of activity/role play and said that every environment we set up should be based on the characteristics of effective learning. He recommended asking ourselves "what do we want the children to do when they get in there?" which I thought was a great way of looking at it.

His book "From vacant to engaged - putting child-led learning at the heart of your provision" explains it all in more details and gives some brilliant examples. His blog also touches in the issue, from the point of view of wheeled toys!

http://www.abcdoes.com/abc-does-a-blog/2014/11/3-little-words-i-am-longing-to-hear-thrill-will-skill/

If you get the chance to see him, snap it up, he's great and very funny!

 

 

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September we set up a camping area bringing the outside in , sheets , covered with leaves , conkers , sticks tied together with sheets to wrap around , a tunnel covered with green sheet , logs and some cuddly toys woodland animals hedgehogs , a camp fire , tuff spot became a pond with frogs and we made fishing rods , it was made to look like a real woodland and the children loved it , very little adult support as many things were hidden , conkers , insects etc and gave them an opportunity to explore and create,

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Probably what helped was that some of the children had an experience of this during the summer holidays.

Outside we have a log circle and set up a tripod yesterday with a hanging cauldron , we had a story too and found that some of our younger ones who will not focus attention indoors did so when we read outside all sitting on logs . I gave the children cards that were part of the story for Mr Wolfs Pancakes .

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