Freedom To Create: Open Ended Material

Knowing your materials is the absolute basis for both science and art. You have to use your hands and your eyes and your whole body to make judgements and see potential.” The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning by Eleanor Duckworth.

Children were presented with many different natural or manufactured material found in the home or outside, such as sea shells, pine cones, bubble wrap, pipe cleaners, and toilet paper rolls. Uncertainty of these materials provide children with freedom or unlimited possibility of building things. And because of these uncertainty, children really have to play with materials and understand what each materials can be used. Playing around with these materials, children becomes like scientists who are constantly conducting experiments, testing ideas, and building their understanding of the world according to National Creative Center for Aging.


Children develop power when they build individual relationships with materials. When children have the chance to notice, collect, and sort materials, and when teachers respond to their ideas, the children become artists, designers, and engineers.” Weismann Topal, coauthor with Lella Gandini of Beautiful Staff.


Many of the children came up with various creations of their own. Often these creations inspired each other and they would copy or come up with something that worked even better. There were collaboration among students where they worked together on create somthing or help each other to provide feedback or physical help.


Musical Instruments:

  1. Drums: Students discovered that different materials resonate different sound when you hit them.


2.  String instrument: Students discovered that different rubber bands have different tension which creates different sound.


Colorful Panels



Ribbons: A Beautiful Head Piece or Handsome Bow Tie


Meet Robots


Stylish Handbags


Working Together to Create A Marble Run



Providing Tips On How To Make A Platform More Stable



Providing Feedback On How To Create An Opening


Unique Individual Creations



  1. Beautiful Stuff by Weismann Topal and Lella Gandini
  2. Ashley Bryan’s Puppets: Making Something from Everything
  3. The having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning by Eleanor Duckworth