Toy Resource Boxes:

a playful way to teach Global Dimension and Recycling in the school

The Toy Resource Boxes (TRB) are a set of compact playful boxes with their lids containing resources. They have been designed to involve pupils of Primary schools, supporting the teaching and learning of the Global Dimension (GD) and Recydifferences in playingcling via toy-making activities. . The TRB takes in consideration the different issues of the GD such as Global Citizenship, Sustainability and Recycling, Conflict resolution, Interdependency, Values and Perceptions, respect and beauty for Diversity, and of course the "Children's right to play" within the Participation issue.
These TRB have been tested in different schools of Westminster - during 2006/8, gaining a popular success amongst pupils, teachers and parents. The project received financial, organizational and evaluative support from different bodies: LaSER (London and SE England Regions - Global Dimension), Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) and the local Recycling Team, HEC (Tower Hamlets). During the following years the TRB has been also adapted to the Recycling issues specifically, providing children's suitable books about recycling and a board-games.differences in playing

CONTENTS of the Toys Resource Boxes - GLOBAL DIMENSION:
- 10 different types of traditional handmade toys, each with more than one sample. They have been made using recyclable materials and everyday unwanted items, simple/safe technologies - which are available to children and parents without the need of particular manual skills.
With their unique design, these toys are really “tools to play” and involve children in having fun. Some have been ondisplay for a while at the Museum of Childhood.
- Toys and Games Website Directories to facilitate pupils’ researches on the multicultural issue.
- A Teachers’ Guide to support the Teachers Training and their autonomous leading activities with the students, linking practical activities with formal learning. Additionally, on this website have been recently added some animations, allowing a deeper understanding of the link between Toy-making and GD.
- Two copies of “Playing on the Line” book. The book explores many aspects of play, such as how children play, why they play, how they can grow through play and try out new ideas. The book is illustrated by children's drawings, words and photographs, with big text.
- A small plastic box containing some simple hand-tools used to make the toys.
- A set of cards with coloured pictures, showing different types of the same traditional handmade toy, with a sheet-guide to recognise their countries of origin.
- finally, a list of contents. .........................LINK TO SEE THE IMAGE OF THE Global Dimension BOX's CONTENTS - image

The focus of the activities of the TRB project is the discovery of the link between Global Education and World Play Culture, via toy-making activities.
The TRBoxes can be lent to classes. On request, accompany to the hands-on activities there are some tasks, which have been designed to channel pupils’ attention toward more formal learning, related to their curricula.

CONTENTS of the Toys Resource Boxes - RECYCLING:
These are seven plastic containers full of ready made items and to be freely lent to the classes involved in the project. Each one of them has been provided with suitable core equipment to support the learning of the Recycling issues via the hands-on approach to the matter. In each of the seven containers there are ten handmade toys that students (adults are welcome too!) will make during the toy-making workshops. They are made using plastic bottles as the main part of the their structures: these toys can be organised by their ladder of making difficulties - from the simplest to the most complex plaything to make. For these reasons, the toys are largely accessible and simple to everyone - they do not require additional costs or special manual skills to make them. The design of these toys includes also elements of durability, health and safety measures.
Together with the "bottle-toys" there are some other components: a smaller box with basic technology useful to make the toys; 10/12 books for children, which are focused on the recycling issues; a guide for the teacher; the equipment to play a board-game and the additional "The Strange Bottle Story" book; and finally, a list of contents.....LINK TO SEE THE IMAGE OF THE Contents

I usually launch the Toy Resource Box during the morning school assembly, 20 minutes are sufficient to display some of the contents of the box and to involve students and teachers interest.
After that, a meeting can be arranged with single or a group of teachers to explain the idea and activities, to plan workshops with the classes and to tie the active learning with the curricula.
At the end of the project, a series of installations can be provided to facilitate the organising of a final display of pupils' works-creations.
Links can be built with local Library Services or other local educational bodies, adding more resources.