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A basket of trash? Nah! It's my CREATION STATION!

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As an Occupational Therapist I’m always looking for ideas that are simple, easy to implement and cost effective. Without a doubt, my favourite and most well used version of this is a Creation Station.

Get yourself a big bucket, basket or tub and fill it with a range of different items from your recycling bin – toothpaste boxes, vegetable trays, bits of ribbon, bubble wrap, wrapping paper and old tissue paper – whatever you would otherwise be throwing out.

Then top it up with some rolls of tape, a couple of hole punches, a glue stick, a few pairs of scissors and you’re ready to go!

The idea behind the Creation Station is that you let the children explore and experience the different items in their own way, with their own agenda. Let them snip, tear, squash, and stick as they fancy.

Sit back and watch as they learn from each other and their own growing experience. As they cut different textures and become more adept at cutting. As they learn to tear with force regulation and control. As they master using their two hands together to unroll and break or cut the masking tape.

You will be amazed at what they come up with and how their skills progress. The combination of developing fine motor skills and growing motor planning skills is astounding when they are left to their own devices with the right space, time and resources.

Position your station in the corner of your classroom and have it as an option that children can go to in small groups or as they finish their work. All it takes is a regular clear out of cut up and torn things and consistently remembering to top it up with any new packaging, wrappings or cards that are appropriate. Other than this, it pretty much runs and sustains itself.

For the teacher, a great thing about the Creation Station is that as the children develop their skills the way in which they play, manipulate and explore the items changes. There is no need to grade it for different aged kids – they will play with it as is age and skill appropriate and be working at the level that is just right for them.

You can see initially they may only be interested in tearing or cutting up items but as they get older and more experienced, they may start cutting specifically around pictures on the boxes or sticking boxes together to build representation things: a rocket, a car, a submarine.

What is key to remember is that you are there to help but not to instruct. Let them use their own initiative, volition and drive to play. You may help them stick two items together if they ask. Or cut them pieces of tape if they are not yet able. They, however, must decide what and how they are playing, building or even breaking down.

So, an idea that is simple, easy to implement and cost-effective? I think so!

And the best thing about the Creation Station aside from all the developmental perks for the children? It’s a whole heap of fun!

We loved this idea so much that we asked Rachel to put together a video explaining it in more detail. She did more than that, she gave us a video of her own CREATION STATION in action. Click here to check it out on TEACHERS TV. 

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Blogger Profiles

  • Heleen Johnson

    Heleen Johnson is an Occupational Therapist with over 35 years of experience in the field of Education. Read more here.

  • Karen Leigh Benkenstein

    Karen Leigh Benkenstein is a fully qualified Foundation Phase Teacher, specializing in Special Needs children. She has taught children with a variety of educational and emotional barriers. Read more here.

  • Rachel Carey

    Rachel Carey has been working as a children's Occupational Therapist for the past 10 years. she has worked in both special needs and mainstream settings with children with a range of challenges and difficulties. Read more here.

  • Carla Kuhlmey

    Carla Kuhlmey taught in the Foundation Phase for 12 years before discovering a passion for helping learners with specific difficulties. She is currently working at a well known KZN Prep school as the Academic Support Teacher. She has been supporting parents and children at the school for the past 5 years.  

  • Charmaine Kendal

    With over 40 years of teaching and management experience, Charmaine Kendal has a wealth of wisdom to offer teachers.  The valuable lessons she has learned in the classroom and as deputy principal have equipped her with the skills to mentor and guide newly qualified teachers as well as to support more experienced staff. She is a published author, publishing youth literature and contributing to a number of textbooks. Charmaine has lectured education at tertiary level and has designed learning modules for education students. 

  • Lee Louw

    Lee Louw is a qualified pre-primary teacher with more than 20 years of experience. She has taught children from age 3 up to 8 as well as lecturing adults. She combines her work with Educanda with teaching ECD at a college. She has written 4 textbooks and 2 lecturers’ guides in the Educare field.