Add a bucket and a rope to your outdoor play space for hours of open-ended, imaginative fun.
Forget about fancy, high-tech gadgets. Keeping it simple is what it’s all about for us – especially in our outdoor play space. Check out our play-logs and our sandbox to see what I mean. But, when I put this activity together for the hooligans, even I (lover of basic, inexpensive toys and activities), never in a million years, would have dreamed that this simple bucket and rope would quickly become one of the most popular pieces of play equipment in our backyard.
Despite its simplicity, this “pulley-system” has provided hundreds of hours of open-ended, imaginative play since I rigged it up a couple of years ago.
It’s a very simple contraption: a rope tied to a bucket, the rope tossed up and over the branch of a tree, and tied to something at ground level. For us it’s either the clothesline pole or the base of the tree.
The hooligans fill the bucket with whatever treasures they can find: pinecones, sticks, stones, mud, dirt, water, you name it; if it’s not tied down, it’s likely found itself in the bucket at one time or another.
Occasionally a single hooligan can be found playing at the bucket, experimenting with the mechanics of it all, but most often, two children will gather there, collaborating over a joint task,
It’s amazing really, the bucket doesn’t lead to anywhere, and it doesn’t do anything particularly exciting. In fact it does the same thing every single time someone decides to operate it. And yet, every single day,
every single time we’re outside, summer, spring, winter or fall, they come back to that bucket time and time again.
I’m not sure that the children would consider that a drawback though. They just have to put a little more muscle into their work than they did before, and that’s half the fun of it.
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