Discovery Box 13: Coloured Stacking Cups

We’ve been exploring coloured light and shadows, along with some fun construction, with our latest Discovery Box
This was one of those typical you-know-you’re-an-early-years-teacher-when moments. If you work with young children, you will know exactly what I mean! I was walking the aisles of Sainsburys and stopped with two eager girls to browse the Valentine’s chocolates, when what should I spy but this wonderful packet of fluorescent plastic cups (disposable shot glasses I think!) Of course, I just HAD to have them, knowing they would be good for something, although I had no idea what! 

 So, as is always best with these things, I popped them in a Discovery Box and presented them to the girls to play with at home one day, to see what wonderfully creative, open-ended play ideas they would have.

 If you haven’t read about heuristic play or the idea behind these Discovery Boxes, please look at the tab at the top of the blog or click here to read more.

 C immediately set to work trying to make them into a “tower.” To do this she stacked them inside each other, so that she became quickly disappointed as they didn’t amount to much. I started to play with a few on the table, turning them face down instead of face up and she copied, quickly realising that she could make patterns, lines and shapes with them this way around.

 We then started to build them on top of each other by making “bridges” between them and she was very keen to see how tall she could make the construction become.

 As we played, the light through the living room window moved and started to create the most beautiful “light shadows” on the table. She was fascinated by these and loved making them move and changing their appearance by moving the cups.

 She lined them up so that the colour shadows touched the cups in front of them and tried moving the cups together to see what would happen when the shadows overlapped. In a couple of instances it was even possible to mix the colours this way and that was a big WOW moment!

The light didn’t last long and she was disappointed that the shadows disappeared, but it was a great opportunity for explaining about sunlight and how the Earth moves!
These cups have since been used in play dough play, role play cooking and a treasure hunt game! No doubt they will feature plenty of times in future open-ended play sessions too.
Learning Links:
science (KUW): explore light and shadows through experimenting and play, begin to ask questions about why/ who/ what/ where and when, investigate the world using all senses, build structures and models
physical development: use care and control to build structures
creativity: build in 3Dimensions

If you liked this post you may also like to see all the other Discovery Boxes we have put together so far:

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