If your students are bored, hand them a bucket!

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Even with the best playground equipment, young children can start to get bored outside and boredom leads to the kind of play that can drive you nutty. You know, the kind of play that ultimately leads someone to tears.

Anytime I see a bored kid on my playground, I hand them a bucket. An empty bucket naturally invites children to fill it up with something. They just can’t help themselves.

A bucket is my number one go-to outdoor play tool

In fact, the number one outdoor tool I recommend having available for your children to play with is a bucket.

I don’t have any swings, slides, or monkey bars on my outdoor playscape but what I do have is a stock pile of little metal buckets. Every day, the children head outside and the first thing they grab on their way out to play is a bucket.

Collections bring satisfaction

They use the buckets to gather up acorns, rocks, snails, dirt, flowers, leaves, or as many worms as they can find or dig up.

Young children love to collect items from nature but not because they have any actual plan for those items. They just like to stock pile up their found treasures because it feels satisfying to do so.


  1. Without the right tools for play, young children can get bored, even outdoors.
  2. Boredom often results in the kind of play the ends in tears.
  3. A small bucket helps promote constructive play and exploration.

P.S. I recommend small buckets rather than big buckets. A small bucket is easier for them to fill up and carry around. The bigger the bucket, the less interested the children tend to be and the less time they will stick with their treasure hunting adventures.

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Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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