New ideas are being needed for schools as they want to develop certain skills for kids, so they can have brilliant skills when they are in the later side of primary and prepare them for learning new things. Building dens is a great answer to this demand as this blog will show.
There are several different types of play equipment for schools and this is just one type which you can use. Check out some of our top den building ideas for schools and get some information for new activities.
Skills Children Learn from Making Dens
Den building can give children loads of useful skills for the future. Building on physical, mental and social skills, this sort of activity should be encouraged a lot more throughout schools and homes to ensure a healthy development is occurring. Skills that are developed include:
- Independent/group work – Working on something like this is a great way to introduce children to what they can accomplish if they focus and work together. If they are building a den by themselves then they can understand what can be accomplished when a clear goal is set, and you work towards it. Helping children understand these two concepts at an early stage is a great way to build them into brilliant leaders and team players. See this post for more details on different outdoor learning ideas.
- Creative skills – Obviously, building a den is going to allow a child to be incredibly creative. They should be given full control over the construction of it and allowed to decide what the outcome is. Not just this, but decision making will be developed and improved as the kids will have to decide what materials to use, what colours to paint with, the dimensions of the den etc.
- Communication and social skills – Whether it’s being built or being used, a den is going to encourage children to talk and socialise with each other. Personally, I think this point is key as building a solid understanding of how to communicate and socialise properly will start to slowly introduce them to the world around them and of course, help them make friends.
- Role-playing – Linking strongly to the previous point, this skill will help the child be slowly introduced to how society and the world around them operates. Of course, it’s also a lot of fun for them as most of the time they will act as other influential figures in their lives (parents, family, friends, characters) and usually re-enact past or present events. Children will usually build their den to represent the chosen scenario (a hospital, shop, post office etc.).
- Problem-solving – Building dens won’t always go the way the child plans. Running into problems will be very common for them and they will be encouraged to think outside the box to solve the problem. Effective and a great skill to have, improving their problem solving will help children deal with issues in the future they may encounter.
With a wide range of skills being developed, many people can understand why den building is such a vital activity to include and encourage throughout the world. One key point to remember is that teachers and parents should have hardly any say over the development. Kids should be allowed to have full control over every step in the building process as this will allow them to learn all the skills without any being compromised.
Den Building Kits
There are many different types of den building kits available depending on the situation the kid wants to build in. By this, some kids might want to build theirs inside whilst others may find it more fun to build them outside.
You can usually buy or put together bundles of equipment to build a strong and vibrant structure. It’s important to always check the content of these kits as most of the time, they contain everyday items which you can find around your house/school. Keep in mind though, some kits are great as they will contain a lot more supplies and offer more variety for the kid to be creative and fully express themselves. These can be used for a range of National Curriculum play activities to help children learn vital skills.
Outside dens usually require a lot more supports as there is usually less furniture to use. Boxes, crates, buckets and other similar things can all be used to hold up the materials. Inside is slightly different as tables, chairs, beds etc. can be used as support. Usually, inside dens will have a lot more focus on decoration and looks whilst outside dens are more focused on stability and working well.
Building a Den on the Playground
On the playground, they’ll be a wide variety of different den building ideas as all children will want to have some sort of contribution towards it. In addition, with it being located on the playground, children will interact with this daily and will look at it as a mode of escapism. Children will associate this space with escapism since it’s located on the playground, which is where they are given free time to mess around and play games.
As the den is located on the playground, the materials used to construct it might have to be a lot stronger and more resistant to damage. Doing this would avoid the chance of it collapsing or becoming unsafe for the children to play on. This type of activity is promoted by the National Trust who encourage children to embrace nature and the outdoors.
Try to stay out of the construction process and let the kids have full control and if they need any help with anything, they will proactively seek it. Apart from that, let the kids have some fun with the design and construction. You could even use different floor markings like these to mark out the different areas to build on.
Equipment for Making Dens at School
The best bit about building dens at school is that all the equipment you need is right there! Ranging from the creation to the decorating, children have all the tools to fully create their dream den without the restrictions of lack of supplies and tools. As well as this, kids will be surrounded with their friends meaning that they can feel a lot more engaged with the activity and find it a lot more fun.
A good thing you could incorporate is a few competitions to build on their competitive spirits. Ask them to build a den with a certain object present in it, or only with objects that are a certain colour. Through this as well, you can teach kids about things in a fun and interesting way without them feeling pressured into learning about it.
Schools offer a great chance for kids to build dens and more importantly, improve the skills mentioned before. Slowly but surely, early years are starting to merge den building into their daily routines because of all the benefits and positive reception. Overall, whether at home or school, den building ideas are a great way to let the children enjoy themselves and fully express their ideas.