Suggested age: 3-5

The Magic Carpet is a tool that can be used to engage young children in conversations about their environments (see Clark, 2017). The facilitator takes photographs of landmarks in the area from a child’s perspective (child’s height), e.g. parks, playgrounds or other public spaces. These can be supplemented by photos taken by the children themselves of spaces they use, or by photographs of parks and play spaces in other locations.

The room where the consultations take place is converted into a ‘Magic Carpet’, where children are invited to sit to be transported to different places as the images are projected onto a wall. Conversations are then encouraged about the children’s perceptions of these places, their likes and dislikes, and their use of them. This provides insights into children’s knowledge of their wider environment and the different elements of the environment that are important to them. The photos of parks and public spaces from other locations allow for comparisons to be made and for children to point out the aspects of these photos that they like or do not like. This tool can be extended by allowing the children to take the facilitator on a tour of their favourite places.

The ‘Magic Carpet’ can help address the following questions:

  • What spaces within their environment are young children aware of?
  • What are young children’s perspectives of the spaces available to them?
  • How do young children experience these places?
  • What aspects of their environments do children like or not like?
  • What spaces are not accessible or available to young children and why?

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