What’s in the brown box?

The children are curious…… “What’s in the brown box ?”     We have received a brown box in the mail and it is sitting on the table……… As a group we sit down and begin to open the box, to discover a number of brown paper bags inside! 

We open the bags one at time, placing the contents into small containers so as to see them more clearly. After much discussion between the children, the decision is made……”Let’s build things with all this stuff!”

The question is asked “Where shall we build with all our stuff?”

It is such a beautiful day so we decide to carry a table down to the deck, the long thin table so as to allow the children to work side by side and use the whole table.

The children spend a short while walking around the table, simply looking at and picking up the ‘stuff’ in the bowls. Three of our five year old children soon begin to create while the younger children are happy to observe, unsure of how to use the ‘stuff’. Zac soon gathers a variety of things and takes them across to the long thin table. Educator asks “What are you building?”  “It’s a doghouse and this is where they go,see” answers Zac pointing to under the roof of his creation. The children are also encouraged to use anything that they may see around them and to also ask for items that they may know that we have within our environment. This is not unusual as the children are always encouraged to ask for extra resources if they have the need for them. Zac ventures into the garden and comes back with some pebbles from the dry creek and some mulch which he uses as his path and grass around the path. Zac has then chosen a key off a keyboard and very carefully placed this in his dog house. “This is the T.V.”

Zac has created his doghouse with intention and care and is extremely proud of his efforts. He has begun and finished his creation with a definite vision. 

Meanwhile Phoebe has begun to place green cup cake cases along the edge of the table. “I am making grass”, and Ella is creating beside Zac.”We want to build a house with wood and stuff”. A gust of wind suddenly blows through sending Phoebes cup cake cases everywhere and knocking the rods over that Ella was using to build her house. “Oh no!” is the cry as everyone scrambles to pick up the objects that have blown to the ground. Everyone joins in and helps pick up the objects and the question is asked “Why do you think some of the objects fell over or blew off and others didn’t?” “Because some of the things are really light and the wind can blow them!” This led to a conversation on why the wind can blow some things over and not others, how strong the wind has be in order to blow heavier objects over and ultimately how we could stop the wind from blowing certain objects and parts of the creations over or into the garden. The children observed the wind only blowing the lighter objects away or knocking over the tall thin objects which had been stood on their ends. Phoebe asked if she could use some blue tac to stick her cases to the table as did Ella who used them to stabalise her upright rods in order to place the roof on for her house. Lacey decided to place a number of buttons in her small plastic cups in order to make them heavier, this solution and the use of blue tac worked well with the creations remaining fixed and in place. 


  The children move away as they complete their creations, while other children join the experience. Not all children decide to create, some ask to thread the beads so some recycled string is provided, while others simply enjoy looking at, touching and talking about the varied objects.

Our children have experimented and created all morning and we leave the table undisturbed while we have our morning tea. With this finished we ask  the children to move to the table where the children who have engaged in the experience throughout the morning describe to their friends what they have made and the steps taken to complete their creations. Again questions are asked and the children proudly answer these in great detail and with pride.

The table is very carefully moved into a room where the children’s creations are admired for the next few days. We have 38-39 children on most days and it has been beautiful to notice the respect given to the children’s creations by all our children as they look and touch gently without disturbing anything!

Our children embraced the challenge in making a collaborative decision between themselves and their educators as to how and where we would use the contents of the brown paper bags within the box. Outcome One : 1.1 Children feel safe, secure and supported 1.2 Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency.

As the children opened the bags and discussed the contents, “are they recycled or new, hard, soft and where have they come from?” are some of the questions asked and answered. Again the children engaged in positive and constructive communication, the contents of the bags providing opportunities to extend their curiosity and sense of enquiry. Outcome One : 1.3 Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities. Outcome Two : 2.1 Children develop a sense of belonging to a group 2.4 Children become socially responsible and show respect for their environment.  Outcome Three : 3.1 Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing. Outcome Four : 4.1 Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence. Outcome Five : 5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes.


Our children enjoy an indoor/outdoor learning environment where they are encouraged to make choices and involve themselves in any number of experiences throughout the day. These experiences are often open ended and are extended and enhanced through the curiosity and questions asked by our children. As a service within a rich rural community we, the children and educators, would like to share with you some of the crops grown and harvested on the surrounding farmland and wool which is produced on our grazing country. We hope this will inspire the curiosity within the children at your service!