Friday, August 19, 2011

Nature and creativity intertwined

This summer we've visited farms, ponds and the ocean as much as possible. In our daily trips, I have loved observing the little one and her friends invested in their free play. Story telling, inventing, negotiations and creating (spaces, structures, scenarios, characters...) often reach a peak while outdoors, while most quarrels are avoided or die out pretty quickly.

Paths to get lost in... Codman Farm. dance..
...or just to be a chicken.

Making forts at the Boston Nature Center

Takes teamwork!
Feeding the chickens at Natick Cooperative Farm
Working together...
and feeding the pig.
Running through a field of flowers,
And taking a big leap!
Creating an island... at  Walden Pond,  
after complaining that they had no buckets or shovels to play with!
All they needed were some sticks to create trees, surrounded by a large ocean
and an island made of rocks, in the shape of a flower.
Finding these places has been at times a matter of living in the area and knowing what is available, finding out through friends or just spending a little time on the internet. It has been definitely worth providing as many opportunities for the little one and her friends to play freely in the great outdoors. They have expanded their horizons, getting to know about farm and animal life, our food sources, wild life and habitats, or just about how to explore creativity in nature, with no need for a shovel or a bucket.

I continue to work on learning from observing their play, keeping my distance and trying not to interfere, or to keep my interjections to a minimum. I see my role as the one who does the listening, planning, food preparation and chauffeuring... In return, I get to practice mindfulness. Being in the moment is the gift these children bring to me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Drawing and Writing Caddy

I bought this utensil caddy as an impulse buy for my little one's birthday party this past spring. After the party was over I was going to put it away, knowing it would probably not get much use... but as it sat on our kitchen table I remembered being inspired by a beautiful Writing Caddy on the blog Playful Learning.
So I filled the utensil caddy with some basic drawing and writing tools and ever since, the little one has used it non-stop. It has visited the coffee table, the kitchen table and even our patio table. The time she spends drawing and practicing her letters has increased greatly. And she is loving her independence!

Some materials I've included:
Paper, in basic white, as well as other colors and in an array of sizes
A small notebook
Colored Pencils
Thin and thick markers
Hole Puncher (much loved item after this activity)
Letter Stickers

The possibilities are endless!

So, if you have a utensil caddy laying around, or if you find one on sale in these futile summer days, give it a try!