Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vermont, Snow Dinosaurs and Box Town

As a family, we have made a strong commitment to spending time in nature, so every chance we get we go to the country, the forest or the beach. We spent this past weekend in Vermont with some dear French Canadian friends. It was the perfect balance between family time, friendship, outdoors adventures, indoors time, language and culture.

 We spent most of our time outside sledding or playing with the snow. The children wanted to make snow people, but we soon discovered the snow was too fluffy. We then set our eyes on the two large piles left by the plow on the side of the driveway. They looked just like dinosaurs! So, given the children’s interest in these ancient creatures, we set to work.

Behind the brachiosaurus was a second pile. After much debate, the group decided to make a stegosaurus. Climbing on top of the dinosaurs meant great effort, and soon became the main purpose of the project. The children explored climbing, finding safe ways to come down and challenged themselves by walking into the deeper snow behind the dinosaurs. After a prolonged time of play, with exhausted bodies and satisfied minds, we went inside for some well deserved lunch.

The following day Mother Nature gifted us with some more snow; which meant we needed to find creative ways to play inside. Well, my friend is a crafty Momma, who has put some boxes to good use. With the help of her son, they have spent the past two years building a town by connecting all the boxes. They carved out windows, decided on where the doors should go, decorated with construction paper and glue, and even made some frescoes in the inside. It is the perfect place for dramatic play, painting, architectural design and wonder! Not to mention the amount of physical play the children enjoyed.

All of the planning, creative process and play were accompanied by much discussion. We talked about the animals that live in the area and the sounds we might hear at night. We also had many conversations about language, comparing words from the different languages we spoke. Our little ones did not blink an eye at the use of and fluid transition from French to Spanish to English. 

In our last conversation my friend asked me if her son would be well prepared for kindergarten after not attending preschool. With a little window into this boy’s life, what do you think?

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