Thursday, October 23, 2014

Loose Parts Play

 Loose Parts

A few months back, I came across a link for Spielgaben: The Worlds Best Educational Toy. 
Looking closely, it was a marvelous mix of wooden toys and for lack of a better phrase 'odds & sods'. When I showed my husband, he commented, "Oh basically a mixture of what we played with as kids."

Essentially, you can create your own collection of 'loose parts', which is a reoccurring activity mentioned in many of the blogs I read. (or spend the $449US on the real deal, which includes activity cards and the lovely collection box.)

In fact, children collect these 'loose parts' on a regular basis, in their Nature Collections. O's 'Nature Sill' turned 'Nature Box' sits by the back door and hosts a variety of objects that can be used for craft, nature lessons, art or imaginary play. An Every Day Story

Number Stones

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Little Miss Monkey

Let's Make Mischief!

Early every morning, Baby C is awake and ready to start the day.
This is the only time that I can offer her true one-on-one; uninterrupted play time with mama.

The rest of the day, she is bombarded by two (sometimes three) of us, entertaining her, playing alongside her, often smothering her with wanted (and unwanted) attention! 
Her environment is rich with interactions, long before we leave the house!

With your first child, you get a load of individual playtime.
But your second is blessed with attention at the drop of a hat...

...from multiple sources!
She happily plops herself onto any lap in the vicinity!

She knows how to care for others, due to the amount of care she receives!

She's eager to be a helpful member of the unit.

In a rare moment of peace, she does her own thing.

Every once in a while, she retreats to her hiding spot behind the front door and another behind the shower curtain, that she thinks no one knows about.
She goes there to take a breath..and eat stickers or something else she has confiscated from us.

Some days I worry that I'm not planning enough activity for her, then I step back and realize, she is already a busy little girl!


Baby C Times Twenty

Baby C got a hold of our kaleidescope today. 
Mostly to chew on.
But she did let me take one little picture of her cute little face, many times over!

Bugs Night Out: Butterfly Day

 Home School Day

Today was the second series of our Home School Days at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.
I could easily rave about this program and it's enthusiastic team of facilitators!
The theme was "Bugs Night Out".
There was a focus on Day of the Dead festivities and symbolism surrounding the festival in Mexico. Specifically how monarch butterflies are considered to carry the souls of ancestors, in folklore.

 Day of the Dead

The theme coincided with our upcoming Samhain (All Hallow's Eve!). 
Facilitators begin the introduction with the large group, then split the children into two groups (Bats & Pumpkins); one for station studies and the other for outdoor activity (role-playing the butterflies journey from Canada to Mexico and possible obstacles).

 Wooly Bears
During Station Rotation, children were allowed to explore a collection of Wooly Bear Caterpillars, followed by entering them in a race!

 Caterpillar Race!

Another station was set-up to decorate a Day of the Dead skull mask.

And finally the children were welcomed into the conservatory for a Scavenger Hunt!
O was extremely intent to complete this, since there was promise of a prize.
As a rule, we don't offer incentives as parents (stickers, treats, excessive praise etc), but I saw the magic of incentives at work today, as O completed her entire worksheet and completely ignored the amazing butterflies floating around the conservatory!

Absolutely amazing ,cost-friendly program filled with fun facts and activities for learning people of all ages!

Textured Painting

Textured Paint

A big fan of the Playful Learning activities, we attempted Sense-ational Painting.
Since we only have watercolour, we used these as best we could to colour oats, flour and salt.

O was blindfolded and I encouraged her to use her sense of touch to remember which colour paint she was feeling.

The blindfold was a flop, but she was intent to keep her eyes closed.
As long as there is mess and gooping about, she remains game!

Parenting Picks: The Little Green House

 Seasonal Stories

Lavendar's Blue is one of my favourite sources for Waldorf -inspired activities.
Recently, my inbox was brimming with seasonal stories and versus, collaborated by the lovely Kelly Ehrman.
I chose the story of The Little Red House (and then realized we only had green apples at home!) so we altered our version!

A story with very few visuals is an amazing exercise for the imagination.