Equipment in the Early Childhood Classroom – Scarves

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 4 – 14 July 2005

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Inspirational Message of the Week

“The world can change in an instant.  So can the way you choose to see it.  Why not choose to see the good in yourself and others?”     Bob Perks

Equipment in the Early Childhood classroom – scarves

When conducting PDs I am often asked where I get my equipment from so I thought I’d do a series of articles on using equipment and also, where to access it or how to make it.  Since my scarf activities are always popular, I’ll start with those.

These can be purchased commercially specifically for use with children or made from any light fabric.  My preference is to buy them from Op shops or charity shops.  You are giving these shops custom for a start, so that’s a good thing, but more importantly, the scarves are incredibly cheap.  I usually pay $1.00 per scarf.  You might need to accumulate them over a period of time and shop at several places before your collection is complete. If you buy fabric to make scarves, each scarf will only be one colour.  That’s OK but why not have bright and beautifully designed scarves in a multitude of colours and patterns, thereby being able to discuss with the children colours, patterns, shapes, designs and the feel as well?  Don’t buy cotton.  Polyester is best.  It feels great, looks great, is light and durable. Ask the children what their scarf looks and feels like, thereby extending their language.

These recycled scarves are usually bigger than the commercial variety so can be used as magic carpets, lily pads, boats, horse’s tail etc.  Elicit from the children what they think it can be used for (tie in with what you’re teaching at the time).  Depending on what the scarf is being used as, tie in a song or activity based on this e.g. William Tell Overture is perfect for galloping – tuck the scarf into the back of pants/skirts.

If using equipment in your music and movement session, have the entire lesson based on this one piece of equipment.  It is a major exercise getting the equipment distributed so take advantage of having done so.

Scarves are perfect for throwing and catching because they are slower than balls and not as chaos-forming, or as frightening as balloons.  Have them throw and catch with both hands.  Then throw with one hand and catch with the other.  The catching hand now becomes the throwing hand so that both hands get practice at throwing and catching.  Try catching at waist level with an overhand grip.  Older children can try juggling.  Play relaxing music in the background.

Have them stand on one leg while tickling the other leg with the scarf.  Change legs. Use every opportunity to include balance activities – the key to motor co-ordination.  Children who have trouble crossing the midline will have a lot of trouble balancing on one leg as this requires shifting body weight.

Hold the scarf in one hand and pass it around the waist, allowing the other hand to retrieve it and bring it to the front again.  Reverse direction. 

Prior to collecting them and packing them away, ask the children to put them on the floor and tell you what shape it is.  Ask them if they can turn it into a triangle, a rectangle etc.  Have them turn the big square into a small square (ie a rectangle folded).  You now have a folded scarf ready to put away.

From using one piece of equipment you have incorporated a variety of movement skills, music, maths, language and social skills within a co-operative learning environment.  Leverage your limited time by integrating skills wherever possible.


A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.” Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

  1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
  1. Taj Mahal
  1. Grand Canyon
  1. Panama Canal
  1. Empire State Building
  1. St. Peter’s Basilica
  1. The Great Wall of China

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.

“The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ are:

  1. To See
  1. To Hear
  1. To Touch
  1. To Taste
  1. To Feel
  1. To Laugh
  1. … and to Love.”

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Sometimes the things we overlook as simple and ordinary are truly wondrous. The most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.

This piece comes from Ron Lee’s newsletter – ‘ 30/6/05 Ron Lee, The Corporate Ninja


“My kids love doing the relaxation activities.”   Jude Tupman, Geraldton

“They are always asking to do ‘Giants & Fairies’ – they love it.”  Donna Marwick-O’Brien, Perth

Many thanks for a great magazine.  We love reading it.  Janine Goldberg, Mt Sinai Pre-school NSW

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she has taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E:

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