Building Dens in the playground??
Where is the learning in that??



Well you are about to find out!


Susan and Claire from OutLET: Play Resource joined P2/3 from East Milton Primary School in East Kilbride for a morning they will NEVER forget!




” I need a really long stick, the longest that we have.” he said as he laid the poles side by side measuring to find the perfect size for the den.



“This cover is too short, but if we add another to the bottom we could make it fit.” said a girl from another team.


We all have to work together to build this.

“we need a plan.”



Once they were shown the safe way of carrying long sticks around, they were set the challenge of building a den that their whole team (of 4 or 5) could fit inside.



They chose where to build it – on the grass or on the playground and with very little help (mostly with knots to stop their dens falling on their heads!) they got busy constructing.

They were estimating, measuring, negotiating, communicating, balancing, working out angles and hights and widths, checking, planning, altering and reviewing. They were bending strethching, carrying, running and crawling. And what a variety of shelters they came up with!


There was the “party den” with more bunting than wassl. There were dens made out of the picnic tables and there were teepees. Some had all the home comforts – there were televisions, there were phones, there was a conservatory, and there were landscaped gardens.


Their teachers watched as children who sometimes struggled with their behaviour, were deeply engrossed with the challenge.


Towards the end of the session children were invited to use the chalk and without any prompting creativity broke out onto the playground!


Names – children’s, dads, dens, drawings – fish (and chips!), maps, numbers and “hard” sums, faces, hearts decorated the tarmac.




The saddest question from a child was “Can you come back next year?”




The best comment from a teacher was “I could do this!”




So we’ve left the poles – just add old bedding, and please don’t leave it till next year.




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