As we moved from our school year to the Summer's Tink camp, I realized there was a chance to reconfigure the spaces the children would use. Some of this was called for because of the environment -- our building responds to the Washington DC Summer heat in a very visceral way. As the day wears on the front of the school becomes warmer even with the air conditioning chugging along. Even though we spend a lot of time outdoors, we wanted to use the areas that stayed cooler throughout the day and would provide respite from air quality warnings.
In the end, what led the transformation are the reflections we gathered after running a few of our Tinks. Each season, we saw the older children, just finished with the latest elementary school year, gravitate towards the loose parts we use with the nursery school children. Many of the campers attended our school, but others have only attended camp sessions and some, this will be their first purple school experience -- all of them want to play.
This year, we are providing not only the repurposing of plastics (the theme of #Tink2013), we are also offering a variety of new and familiar loose parts, all consistent with our vision of play to use both inside and outside. Then it made sense to use the rooms differently than we do during the school year. Using what is our largest room (the blue Imagination Station) for the loose parts play will keep the children in cooler air AND give them more room. With my sons' help, I rearranged the rooms to better feature the materials and give the children wiggle room to use them in the cool spots!