306 Plastic Bags, 78 Bottle Caps, 108 Yogurt Containers, 48 Assorted Plastic Lids, 16 Random Plastic Pieces (Straws, Embroidery Placards, Corks, etc.), 18 Bicycle Inner Tubes and Valves, 8 Fondant Buckets, and 73 1-liter Bottles. This is the children's best estimate for the plastics they used to make robots, mobiles, rocket launchers, purses, snack bags, coin purses, and assorted constructions. They all agreed that this was a good start in landlocking a batch of plastics. During the last week of the 5-week camp, the older children were able to present the introduction from the book, Moby Duck, by Donovan Hohn to the younger children, with dramatic pauses and explanation.
But, landlocking plastics was really the icing on the summertime cake. Our primary goal with our Tinkering at the Cooperative School is to allow plenty of room for the children to create their own community and follow their own pursuits. There were plenty of side projects including den building, creating their own mud kitchens and assorted restaurants, drawing, and building with a specially-selected assortment of loose parts both inside and outside. They learned the difference between and icepick and an awl. They learned how to fuse and sew plastics. They learned how to shim something. They learned how to build separate camps and also how to combine their forces to build "the biggest house ever" with every single piece of fabric, block, and board they could find. They learned how to help each other and who to go to when they wanted hot glue, nailing, or help drawing. They learned the difference between a center punch and a nail set. They found time to do nothing. They found time to read and seek out the quiet in a crowded room.
And most importantly, they found each other.