Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fun with Tires

A few months ago, a parent donated 30 tires to our center. I was ecstatic! Finally, large loose parts for the children to move and manipulate!

The children built a tunnel:

The tires kept either falling or rolling, so one brilliant child decided to use the tires as a prop to support the tunnel.
Look at how they formed a line, and took turns with little help!

Tires are the perfect size for little bodies to squeeze through.

Later, on a different days, they built an obstacle course:

Tires are a perfect way to test balance. Each tire is a slightly different each tire provides another problem to solve.
Imagine the team work that took place to move these tires into position. I heard things like, "This is heavy. Can you help me move it over there, please?" and "Lets work together!" The children who said, "I can't move it," were encouraged to try...and they found out they COULD!
They left a large space that became a perfect "jump" point. Look at Robert's "superhero" pose! :)
They also have used the tires to roll around, sit in,  and build "houses" (by stacking two or three tires on top of each other).

I wish I could say that the tires have created an enthusiastic response among fellow teachers and even some parents. I understand the concerns...
  • Tires are dirty. (We did wash them within the first few weeks of having them...I took pictures with another teacher's camera, and still don't have them to post! I will email her for them, because that was a great morning!)
          I also bought primer to paint the tires with. This will cover the black, and keep it from rubbing off on clothes. We can paint over them with tempura. Yes, the tempura will wash away, but I like the idea of having unusual easels outdoors to revisit over and over again.
  • Empty tires are a great spot for spiders and snakes to hide in. I proposed that we use them for gardening.
  • In the Arizona summer, these babies will be off-limits! With temps that reach 110 degrees, black tires are not the best idea. That's okay. We can put them away during our hot months, and bring them out in cooler temperatures!
  • And then, there's licensing...We can't keep the tires within 6 feet of a wall or any other play structure. If we keep them near a fence, the fence has to be 4 and 1/2 feet higher than the tire (ours is 4 and 1/2 ft tall exactly).
I really wasn't expecting all the red tape! Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

I do know this: If no one else wants them, I will use them ALL. Also, the tires support physical as well as socioemotional growth and development. Big muscles are being used, and there is problem solving happening!

I will keep using them, until instructed not to. Stay tuned! 

Happy playing! :)


  1. I love this! Moveable parts are amazing and tires are great!

  2. Gina- I would love to have you guest post sometime :). You can come up with something new OR you could use a post from your archives. Drop me an email and we can discuss the details!

  3. Gina

    I'm an outdoor learning consultant based in Scotland. I blogged about tyres last year which may provide useful reading - including the comments received. Here we include tyres in our risk benefit assessments about how we maintain and store the tyres.

    Oh and my current post is about tyres and impromptu literacy!

    Great work getting them in your pre-school. One of the best resources you can have.

  4. Paint the inside of the tires white so black widows won't want to live in them...Drill holes on side walls so water will not collect in them to avoid mosquito babies...Paint them BRIGHT colors with the kids so that they wont attract as much heat...Cut them in half and stick them in the ground so it looks like 1/2 is underground, they can climb on or crawl through...use some as planters...

  5. Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!

    Tires in Florida

  6. Gina, thanks for putting me onto this post. it is amazing how similiar we are in our approach! What I found great with all our new tyres is that when the new children saw them on Thursday, they all just started to climb around them like an obstacle course, they are going to provide hours of endless challenges! Luckily I'll never have to worry about them getting too hot!!


Thanks for you comment! Happy playing!

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