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Long have I heard of the magic of the Plunger as a play utensil for children.   At many a conference or workshop but for some reason, I never picked any up.   Recently, I changed that situation in a big way :)

Once you have begun to view your supplies and equipment through the Loose Parts lens, you no longer shop at merely Educational Supplies stores or department stores, you think of any place, any place at all as a bounty of potential.   So therefore....   I headed to the Plumbing Warehouse near our program.   I requested an order of 40 plungers and struck a great price!    I also suspected that behind the doors to the largest section of the warehouse was a mecca of loose parts delight!   I must chat them up for an opportunity to get a peek some other time.   They told me our plungers would be in in about a week and so I headed back to work to patiently wait.
 
A phone call came less then 7 days later.  The plungers were in!  I was super excited! Thankfully, the plumbing warehouse was directly across the street from our program.   The street we are situated on is not a busy one so while I wanted to dash over and get the plungers ASAP, I thought "wouldn't the preschoolers love to go over there, visit and get our plungers?" ....   so I strolled down to one of our preschool rooms and asked the children.  They were gung-ho to go!
 
They headed over that afternoon and had the most wonderful time imaginable.  The people that worked there were enthralled with the visit and let the children wander around and examine everything.   All of the children that went had a grand time! They even squished together in a stand up shower (not on) and laughed with abandon.   They gathered up the 40 plungers and headed back across the road to our place all the while trying to plunge the road and the snow and rocks etc.  
 
One of the things that I have heard loudly and clearly at the workshops where plunger play has been recommended was that it is POWERFUL.   Children having the opportunity to engage with powerful play is both vital and necessary.  It requires quite a few skills to use a plunger.  You make a decision about where to apply it, you use your arms to direct it to the location, you grip it with your hands and then you apply force to accomplish it's adherence.  If it is successful, which with these ones it is pretty much right away, then the children pick up the item then have stuck it to or if it is stuck to a surface such as a window or door or wall, then they begin tugging at it in true marvel.   This play most certainly works both large and small muscles developing small and gross motor skills but far more importantly it works the brain!   How can I make it stick?  To what shall I stick it?   How does it do the sticking?   Can I pick the thing up that it is stuck to?   How do I get it off?   Did I really make this happen?   Hypothesizing, problem solving,  negotiating, wondering, planning etc.   The play magic and the engagement with power is off the charts!
 
The plungers were divided up into all of our rooms but I knew very quickly that 40 is NOT ENOUGH.   The usages and activities the children have created have been most diverse.  Our infants and toddlers have been as fascinated and excited as our preschoolers.   They have been used to carry, to transport, to stir, to stick, to balance, to paint, to vacuum, and so much more.   The only negative that we experienced was that the preschoolers became so attached and invested right away that they thought they owned the plungers and wanted to take them home.  The promise of using them every day barely assuaged their sorrow but some parents are planning to buy them their own plungers ASAP.   We may well buy some for them as a gift.   Looking forward to them every day has become a bright spot in any arrival challenges too!
 
 
The Power of Plungers at KrK ELC
 
We are going to have to purchase some more for sure!  More for us and more for them.   We highly recommend plungers in your learning environment ASAP.
 
What do you think?  Can you see these in your environment?   Share your thoughts please!  
 
I would love to hear from you!
Blogfully Yours,
Heather
 
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 4/1/15 ON PLAY EMPOWERS BLOGSPOT