Instead of taking it apart after the first week---remember it took a bit longer to build---I left it up for a second week. (I actually left it up for a third week, but I replaced the sand with corn to provide a different sensory experience.) I did change the apparatus a bit, though. I drilled holes in the boxes in various places and through the horizontal tubes. And, I added loose parts in the form of pvc pipes, cardboard tubes, and plastic tubes.
Because the nature of the apparatus changed and loose parts were added, the nature of the children's exploration changed. You get a glimpse of that change in the picture above in which the child is threading the pvc pipe through one of the holes in the box.
First, let's just look at some of the play fostered by holes. If we look at the picture above again, we can see the child investigating the hole with the pvc pipe. Maybe it is like an explorer probing a hole with a tool?
In the video below, you can see how one child utilizes a hole for his own ends. To set the stage, another child has poured corn on top of the box. This child has decided he will get every last kernel through the hole. The child is standing on a stool so he can reach the top of the box easily. Watch!
Sweeping the Corn in the Hole from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
At first he is able to use his hand to carefully sweep the kernels into the hole. At some point, he decides that the best way to finish the job is to use his thumb and index finger in a pincher grip to get the final kernels through the hole. There are two things to note. First, that is a meticulous task for this two-year-old who has the patience to see it through. Second, that pincher grip illustrates fine motor work that will serve him well when it is time to start writing.
Because we are a family program, we often have toddlers visit the pre-k room. Even toddlers find the holes an irresistible draw to explore.