What can you do with a giant tube?


Several months ago I was given a very long cardboard tube.  I knew it was too good to throw away, but had no idea how to introduce it – it was simply too big for indoors.  I cut it into two smaller tubes (each more than 7ft long) and stored them away.

Last week we were using a cardboard box as a prop for dramatic play (making an outdoor store, like in the Alfie & Annie Rose story).  At the end of the week I decided it would be an interesting time to introduce the tubes.


It is just so inspiring when you get to see kids exploration and imagination at work.  It was like, with the right props, they were able to take off, and soar.  It was such fun to observe – and I took so many photos and notes on their discussions.  We have now had two days of outdoor tube exploration and here are some of the ideas that have come so far….

The tube is a slide, something to climb on and slide down.

When someone is sitting on it, can you lift them up by lifting up the tube? (this resulted in some safety conversations!)

What happens when you talk into the tube?  Someone at the other end can have a lot of fun listening.

What things roll down the tube?  Can we prop the tube up to make things roll down better?  Why do some things get stuck? (rocks roll down nicely, but sticks get stuck)

The tubes are different lengths.  Do things travel faster down one tube rather than the other?

The tubes make a “whooooing” noise when rocks are rolled down it.

When you bang each tube they make a “boom” noise, but the noises are different from each other.

Can we decorate the tube?  The children found some ricks that made marks o the outside of the tube.

So, what next?  I am now interested in what materials I can offer to further the children’s exploration of the tubes.  My first thought was water, which I think would be so much fun.  But that will destroy the tubes, so I will save that for last!

Do you have any other ideas?


5 responses »

  1. Do you read Teacher Tom? He has some giant tubes that have been doing the rounds of his playground for ages now. Loose materials like these just have so much potential for open ended play don’t they?

  2. The large tube perfectly fit floor to ceiling. After we read Jack and the Beanstalk the kids decided to decorate the beanstalk and they created a castle for the top (on the ceiling).

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