Bridge Building At Scouts

Yesterday evening at scouts our task was to build a bridge – Maya wasn’t in my specific group – but I wanted to share with you the task, because it was just so much fun!
The scouts were shown how to tie, in several ways, two branches together to make a basis for a bridge – and then, after a big box of thin rope pieces was brought out – they were told to go off and make a bridge for the stream.
Yes, real stream. Real water!

Collecting of the branches took a while – the kids had to drag heavy branches from various areas around the forest, and think of ways to get them over to their bridge area.
The kids were amazing! They organised a way of working together to transport the branches – one dragging them from the pile and throwing them across, in to the stream, and another two dragging up the branches from the stream, and transporting them to others who were at the place of building the bridge.

They also used their initiative to tie some rope between two trees as a ‘handle’ to help themselves across another part of the stream….

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Of course, the risk of falling in the water made it even more exciting….

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And yes – we had quite a few who got wet feet! 😉
But in the end, after over an hours work, most kids got together a bridge that was crossable..!

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There are two things that I found fascinating about this task….
1) That the kids (mine was a group of 5 boys, between 8 – 10 years old), were able to work together, organise themselves, come up with ideas, and succeed, in a task that was potentially quite difficult – all on their own! I made sure to mostly just observe, and only help when really necessary.
2) That we allowed the kids to do some ‘heavy’ work, over a real stream, at huge risk of falling in – and it all turned out ok. I wonder how many children get this chance to take such risks these days? And you know, the kids loved it!

I think the fact that the kids had time and space to wonder about, and complete this task, without an adult standing over them and telling them exactly what to do, and without anyone telling them to be careful, and not to do this or do that, made it such a successful evening….Again, how often do we make time for such risk taking, problem solving tasks, without constantly worrying and warning children about the risks? Just a thought. 🙂

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