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Construction Play Building the Yangtze River

Construction Game

Building the Yangtze River is a construction game where children use tools to 'dig' a river and then fill it with water.


At School 17

Building the 'Yangtze River' has, according to School 17 staff, been a tradition in the school since the 1940s. Apparently there has always been a river in the 5s area, and for many years also one in the 6s 7s play area, however the latter river was filled in by well-meaning parents during a working bee. Students are well aware of the tradition and it has been handed down from student to student, although teachers have had to discourage the activity due to drought and water restrictions. The river begins under a tap outside the 5s classroom and students dig its path underneath play structures and classroom stairs. At the time research was conducted it was approximately 8 metres in length and fairly deep. Students were filling up buckets of water and pouring it into the river. Part of the interest in the activity is finding objects in the soil while digging and also the extended play with mud, such as making mud cakes and mud sculptures.

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