Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Play Baby Care

Our camera is broken, but our imaginations are working just fine here at Jammies School.  And, much of that imagination centers around something that is very real in our household: Baby Care!

While Mama-Educator is still trying to get the hang of how to care for baby, while attending to home, school and sundry other responsibilities, Luke and Nina do so with ease -- at least with their  own "babies". 

Witness some snippets from last month:

Both kids would love to feed Jack if only they could.  Since they can't, they often abscond with Boppies and My Brest Friends to play Mama and Papa to dollies.  Here's Nina gleefully nursing"Gemma" - a dollie she re-named when we realized we were having a boy (and the name of the child she says she is going to have when she is big!)

Now, to save Luke some future embarrassment, I won't post nursing photos.  But, I will admit that I had a chat I never thought I would with our four year old boy - all about anatomy and why boys cannot nurse babies.  And, I will say that Luke (even if he still sometimes plays at nursing) was happy to become "The Burper" for all the kids' dollies, including "Gianna".  (When a neighbor gave the kids bizarre Mickeys, they named them "Luke" and "Gianna".)

Luke and Nina don't just play at nursing and burping their "babies" though.  Regularly, they abscond with diapers, rifle through closets and pillage tucked away toys in order to keep their kids dry, clothed and entertained.  They also make them special "rooms" and "houses" for them and ensure their safety in "buckle seats" for imaginary trips to  Papa's.  Here, they were doing both:
And, yes, that is the real baby Jack in the middle there, happily sleeping while big brother and sister built a house around him and then "took him to Papa's".  (And, most certainly, Mama directed Luke and Nina to keep Baby Jack safe even as I let their imaginations lead the construction and play.)

However, sometimes imaginary trips just won't due.  So, Luke and Nina take their kids for stroller rides around our cul de sac and, when going further afield, make slings to carry them in.
 Here they are going off to the playground with Mama and Baby Jack right behind them.  Oh what fun "Gianna" and "Luke" had that day hiking through the woods with us to the playground and doing all the things our "real baby" (Jack) cannot do yet, such as whizzing down the slides and getting pushed on the swings.

Playing (and honestly working at) at baby care is an everyday adventure around here!  How about at your home?

We Play
This post is being shared at Childhood 101.  Check out all the fun We Play links there!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Freebie Friday - Flannel Board Sets

I just had a minute to check emails and found one from Itsy Bitsy Learners that offered free flannel board sets through Sunday, so I wanted to pass the offer on to others.  It is  Free on Fridays.

Luke and Nina love sets like these.  They are great for imaginative storytelling, learning songs and rhymes, encouraging language skills and, of course, offering a multi-sensory approach to teaching.  Time to go enjoy!

Prayer Pegs, Giveaways and Life, Oh My!

"Life is what happens when you are making other plans."

This was written on a Salada tea bag years ago and seemed to sum up the way I was feeling so well that I had it taped to my desk for years on end.  Well, I am remembering it right now as I realize I missed posting the next part of our Prayer Pegs series on Wednesday and have not had the kids draw a winner from the Giveaway yet.  Why?  Life is what has been happening, and my plans for posting and blogging have had to take a brief back seat.

So, in case anyone actually checked back here this week for the prayer post or to see if they had won, I wanted to jump on for a moment to say - news of both IS coming, just not today!  Thank you for understanding.

And, P.S.:  Our camera broke, so no new pics to include with posts for now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goop-Pud Gone Wild

One day last week, we invited a friend over to experiment with two recipes:  Goop (with a recipe found here) and Pud from Bonnie Arwine's wonderful book, Starting Sensory Integration. (More about that book here.)

Before our friend came over, we prepared by writing the two recipes on our outdoor easel; setting out cornstarch, water, measuring cups, mixing pans and spoons; making up a washing table with two tubs of water, some soap in dish and a towel; putting out a few dino props to encourage play for our sometimes tactile defensive boys (both Luke and his friend) and, of course, changing into clothes that could get messy.  That done, we were all set for a messy, fun activity!  (Little did we imagine just how messy and fun it would get!)

No sooner did our friend arrive, than did we all get straight to our exploration.  Following the recipes, the kids negotiated who would be the corn starch measurer, the water measurer and the mixture stirrer.

Then, once we got the okay from our friend's mom, I ran in to get some food coloring and we dyed our goop red and out pud blue.

Nina started digging right into both, while the boys remained reluctant to put their hands in.  So, I joined in, making a big deal about asking Nina about how each mixture felt and commenting how cool it was how they looked so wet, but seemed to feel more hard and powdery when rubbed between fingers.  Soon, the boys began to get into the tactile fun a bit more, using the dinos and agreeing that we should mix the Goop and Pud together.

So, we predicted what would happen (color change and texture change) and went to it.  Within minutes, the fun really began!  Hands in!  Dinos in!  Even, upon the kids' request, ingredients to adjust the texture in!

The kids were so excited by their Goop-Pud mixture.  They began circling the table to dig into it at different angles.  And, it was at this point, I was soooo thankful that we had chosen to try these recipes out outside, because the mixture started dripping off their hands onto the deck!  Plus, silly me, had put the washing table too far from the playing one.  So, every time the kids went to clean a dino or their hands a bit, the deck got a little more decorated!

To save a bit of clean up (or so we thought),  the kids helped us move the playing table a bit closer to the washing one and, then, extended their play to include more hand dipping -- thoroughly enjoying all the tactile experiences of water, goop and pud!

The experimentation got a bit exuberant, with the kids noting how the goop-pud-water mixture made gooey string when lifted up.  And, before long, the kids asked if they could simply dump it on the deck.  why not?  We had deck cleaning to do anyway?

And, how about feet in?  Sure!

Who would have thought it would leave footprints in the mixture, but not really on the deck?  Cool!

So much laughter!  So much fun!  So much mess!  before long, it was time to clan up.  So, we secured safe place just inside the door for the camera, Jack (who had been happily snoozing on a corner of the deck) and our friend's shoes and, then, the kids tried some cleaning with rags and water from the washing bucket.  (We Moms knew that wouldn't work well, but it was fun and provided some good proprioception work!)

When the kids had used all the water from the clean up buckets, they asked for more, so we broke out the spray bottles.  (Think finger strength with those little fingers pinching the spray trigger!)  And, finally, with as much cleaned up that way as we could, Luke helped me take out the "big guns" -- we connected hoses together and sprayed the whole porch down. (Love that corn starch pretty much dissolves with lots of water.  Toys beneath the porch, however, did not love all the drippings that did not -- a fun toy wash awaits on another day!)

All the hose spraying had the kids giggling so hard, they didn't want the spraying to stop.  So, the activity ended with an all out spray bottle war!

Truly, it was a Goop-Pud gone wild afternoon, full of experimentation, sensory exploration and just plain old fun!

As we understand, our friend has already persuaded his mum to make goop again at home this week!

Now, we are wondering, what sensory fun have you had recently?  Any favorite recipes?  Do share!  And, for more play ideas, check out the We Play links at Childhood 101!  (And, by the way, thank you so much Amanda and Christie for honoring our post from last week with a special mention!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not Me Monday in the Unprepared Environment

Today, I fully intended to start easing the kids into a more formal Montessori-inspired homeschool year.  To that end, on Thursday, I set up a little corner of shelves in our living room to serve as our temporary Montessori learning space since our prior play-and-learning space does not look like this right now:

and our future basement classroom and family room space is not suffering the repercussions, mice, uncorralled clutter and the like.

Montessori corner in place, on Friday, the kids and I hit the Dollar Tree, Ocean State Joblot and the Family Dollar to buy work mat rugs, trays and a few other supplies.  (At the Dollar Tree, Luke did not pick out a purple unicorn on a stick as his special start-of-school learning treat and Nina did not select a red and blue mini plastic trashcan.  Likewise, I did not actually purchase these, agreeing that the unicorn could be used for some proprioception breaks and the trashcan, although plastic, could fit into a classroom and it is always improtant to care for our environment.)

Supplies bought, over the weekend, in between a fun graduation party for a cousin on Saturday and Mass and a church anniversary family fun day celebration on Sunday, the kids and I practiced how to carry, unroll and re-roll the rugs and carry trays.  (And, they did not already feed the beans from one of their pouring works to their dinosaur figurines and I did not find a little puddle on the floor in front of a funneling work.)

Which brings us to today, when my intentions to ease into a schedule for a more Montessori-inspired year did not go awry.  I did not find myself crying prior to 9 a.m. over my own failings.  And, I did not later throw in the figurative towel on salvaging the morning's school schedule when my kids jumped up and down in excitement over the pouring rain while I tried to shush them as I finished up a phone with our health insurance company.  Likewise, I did not throw a literal towel by the door to run outside to puddle jump with the kids.

Once outside, I did not splash up and down rain-rivers in bare feet and I certainly did not let my children lay down in the middle of the street when they wanted to see if they would float away on a current as the little plastic thing they were playing with did.  Moreover, I did not let them do it again when Luke recalled a theory from one of his books that one purpose of T-rex arms is to keep t-rexes from falling flat on their faces.  No, I did not laugh and watch as Luke curled his arms up to play T-rexes, falling in the rain water with his sister.  And, I definitely did not take a perfectly good camera out in the rain to capture some of this for Daddy (and post them here as things turn out) as we got soaked to the skin.

After coming inside, I did not let the hang out in various forms of undress playing with playdough and Duplo blocks while I did a few chores and whatnot.  And, still later, I did not find them in the kitchen doing a self-designed "experient" (Luke for "experiment") with water, ice, salt, pans, spoons, dish soap and - yikes- food coloring.  And they did not, by the way, scavenge for these items by dragging chairs oh-so-quietly about the kitchen and climbing to top shelves of cupboards.  (They did, at least, think to grab the cheap salt we use for making playdough and not the sea salt for cooking.)

Instead of using the opportunity to teach some obviously needed lessons in boundaries and expectations, I did not let Luke and Nina continue their explorations until their inquisitive nature was satisfied for the moment.  And, I was not actually proud when they initiated their own clean up, during which they did not tie-dye one of our kitchen towels as well as Nina's dress.  Nor was I pleased to discover that the reason Luke was undressed to his underwear was because he didn't want to get dye on it.

Then, I did not find myself smiling at two-something in the afternoon as I recognized that despite my failings for preparing a good environment and training my kids with some sense of order and boundaries, they are learning, exploring, experimenting and synthesizing with or without my guidance.

No, today, was hardly the Montessori Monday I desired it to be, but it was the day the Lord (and my own doing and not doing) has made and so now I am no longer crying (or yelling - because I did not yell on one too many occasions today) any longer, but rejoicing and be glad in it.  Yes, perhaps my home environment remains unprepared and "following the child" need not mean into uncontrolled activities, but, learning (and some positive) is happening.

PS  It is not 4:16 now and this is not the second time I have attempted to type this, since after I typed Version 1, I did not make the mistake of lecaving the computer open and out, with file unsaved,while getting the kdis snack and, as a consequence, I did not come back to the computer to find the entire document replaced by:

0o1swost82cxnu 1e,j

Mckmama- Not Me Monday 

This has definitely been more of a Not Me Monday than a Montessori Monday.  So, I am sharing it at MckMama, as well as at One Hook Wonder and Mommy Moment.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Award and A Giveaway

What a treat!  This morning, when I opened my mailbox, I found a comment from Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now, as well as a Sunshine Award from her.  It truly makes me smile to receive this award again since its premise - honoring bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world - is something I constantly aim to experience and share.  So, thank you, Deb for making my morning and thank you all who keep the positivity and creative inspiration flowing over the Net!

Now, onto the rules of accepting this award:
  1. Post the logo on blog. (Done) Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers.  (See below)
  2. Link the nominees.  (Also below.) 
  3. Let nominees know they have won this award by commenting on their blog. (Will do!) 
  4. Share the love and link to the person you received this award from. (Done above.)
So, what 12 blogs have I recently discovered that inspire creativity and positivity?

- Step-by-Step at Home with Montessori:  I am so excited that Karen Tyler, whose wonderful online Montessori course I have taken, has just begin a blog.  She is a fantastically helpful and positive person, and I know her will be rich in Montessori resources as it takes shape!

- Itsy Bitsy Learners, written by Allison, is a helpful preschooling blog with great stuff for workboxers and others who want run printable work.  Want a taste of the printables Allison offers?  See the second half of this post about the GIVEAWAY of Allison's great stuff I am offering.

- This and That is all about crafts, photos and blogging.  I want to explore it more, after seeing Tonya's cute post about making a teeth felt board set.

- The Learning Ark is a Montessori at home blog I want to explore more after seeing the creative, helpful post about pin maps there!

- A Litte of This, A Little of That is not updated much by the busy, Catholic, home educating mom of eight that writes it, but I found the children's Eucharistic adoration post there so inspiring I wanted to include it.  Adoration is something I want to start, and reading that post made me realize I CAN do it with my kids!

- The Well-Rounded Mama is a blog I bookmarked for its helpful homeschool classroom post as well as workboxing and organizational ideas.  Scrapbooking, cooking, parenting, homeschooling... There is a little bit of everything there.

-Barefoot in Suburbia offered a post on scheduling the school year with concrete ideas and examples of how she fits in Montessori, nature Studies, art, Music and more.  It inspires me, as do some of the other posts of this stay-at-home mom of three kids, who is also into allergy-free cooking and versed in Autism.

-Coming Home Catholic offers not only a blog, but a truly rich in resources website that is a wonderful resource for cradle Catholics, converts and reverts alike.

- The Write Start is a blog I was happy to run acorss when looking up mudpies of all things.  (Oh, where my mind takes me.)  Written by an upbeat and  resourceful Mom and a pediatric occupational therapist, the blog offers ideas about the "hows" and "whys" of getting young children ready to write, as well as a visual and textual feast of other goodies.

- The Artful Parent is a blog I found when looking for photos of Reggio-inspired home spaces.  I think I am one of the last people to find this very helpful blog that encourages creative expression, imagination, joyfulness and a love of learning. Now, i just have to make time to dig into it!

- Rhythm of the Home has a great mudpie kitchen post.  Not sure if you would call the site a blog or a site, but either way, I call it inspiring with ideas for seasonal celebration, play and connection with a Waldorf-y flair.

- Teacher Tom is a blog I found by chance that I LOVE for its preschool teaching ideas -- on nature, true creativity, etc. all written by a man who obviously has found the nexus of where his great loves meet the (children of the) world's needs.  I cannot wait to try some of his gutter ideas with our kiddos with the piece of gutter I tripped over in our garage the other day!

- Filfth Wizardry is a blog I found recently and bookmarked for its DIY spellers with Duplo bricks post.  I want to explore more of the messy art and creative craft and preschool fun ideas there.

Oops!  I listed 13 while reviewing my recent bookmarked links before I realized I had reached the award "rules" amount.  That's okay!  More sunshine to spread with one extra.

And, now, onto the GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a set of Circus Printables from Itsy Bitsy Printables* that includes:

       - Lowercase Alphabet Tracers
       - Uppercase Alphabet Tracers
       - Clothespin Counting
       - Shadow Match
       - Simple 2 Piece Puzzles
       - Uppercase to Uppercase matching Game
       - Magnet Sheet
       - Workbox Numbers 1 - 6

Then, by Wednesday the 25th, enter to win up to five times!

1st Entry Chance:  Head on over to Itsy Bitsy Printables and take a look around,  Then, come back here and, in a comment, let me know what your favorite printable is.  (Everyone who enters must do this!)  And, as a bonus for you, if you see something at Itsy Bitsy Printables that you love, simply use the coupon code ITSYGIVES1 when ordering to receive $5.00 off a minimum purchase of $7.50!  Whoo hoo!

2nd Entry Chance:  Subscribe to Training Happy Hearts via email.  (Look at the top of the right column!)  Then, leave a comment saying you have.  If you already subscribe, just say so!

3rd Entry Chance: Become a Training Happy Hearts follower (Again, look right!).  Then, leave a comment saying you have.  And, of course, if you already are a follower, just say so.

4th Entry Chance:  In a comment, answer the question:  what makes your heart happy today?

5th Entry Chance:  In a comment, explain how someone has spread a little sunshine in your world this week.

Each entry will get your name in a box next Wednesday that my kiddos will draw a winner at random from.  The winner will be announced by next Saturday and will later receive their Giveaway package directly from Itsy Bitsy Printables.

Good luck and have a blessed day!

*Itsy Bitsy Printables ... and more, is dedicated to providing you with affordable, quality, downloadable printables for children aged 2 to 6.  You simply order, download, print and use!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Assumption of Mary: No Cake Nor Juice Boxes, Just Some Drama

Yesterday, I wrote about our Assumption of Mary art project.  Today, I wanted to share a little background about how the kids, at but three and four, even know anything about Mary’s Assumption.

Last Saturday night, I realized that I had been remiss in planning a way to celebrate the Assumption of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation, in a way that would be accessible to Luke and Nina (since, to be honest, Mass alone does very little for them at this point, but provide a way for them to push parental buttons!)  With no related picture book at hand, no Liturgical Tea menu ingredients in the cupboards and no real idea about how to recognize the occasion since doing such things was beyond the scope of my own 70’s and 80’s Catholic upbringing, I thought, simplicity and spontaneity are best.  So, after reading bedtime stories, I asked Luke and Nina if they remembered what day the following day would be.  “Sunday.”  And what do we do on Sundays?  “Go to church.”  And do you know tomorrow is a very special day at church?  “The celebration!” (Luke has been looking forward to a church family day that is coming up in honor of our parish’s 125th anniversary.)  No, that is next week.  This week we are going to honor someone.  “Jesus?”  No, Jesus’ Mommy.  “Mary?”   Yes.  Let me tell you a story about Mary…

At that point, I began telling the kids a brief story about Mary from when the angel Gabriel came to tell her she was to have Baby Jesus to when she was assumed into Heaven.  To keep the kids engaged, I paused at the parts they already knew from Christmas and Easter time studies so they could co-tell the story.  And, to help with he “joyful obedience” theme I have been trying to stress in our home, I continually emphasized how Mary said, “Yes!”

By the time I got to Mary being assumed into Heaven, Luke was excited and said that since Sunday was to be a celebration, we should make something.  He suggested a cake “to share with everyone there (at church).”  Pleased with his wish to be so generous, but knowing his idea was not one I was ready to follow through on this year, I gently said, “Luke, what a great thought.  I think everyone would like some cake.  But, Mommy is alone with you all this weekend.  I don’t think I can help you make enough cake for everyone, while taking care of you, Nina and Jack, and getting us all ready for church.”  Luke accepted this and began to wonder what else we might offer.  Nina piped up with an idea: We could bring a “juice box to give Mary at the church.”  (Juice boxes are a treat in our home.)  This was sweet, I thought, and doable, but by morning, both Nina and Like had forgotten the idea.

Instead, during our picnic breakfast, as I told Luke, Nina and Jack the Assumption story once again, Luke and Nina decided they wanted to act it out.  “I can be Mary,” Nina offered.  “And, Jack is young Jesus and I am old Jesus,” Luke leapt aboard.  “And who can be the apostles?  And the…” and so the planning began. 

As things unfolded, the planning was a lot more promising than the play ended up being.  The kids decided to skip the beginning and middle of story of Mary, choosing to go straight to the Assumption instead.  (So much for baby Jack’s role in the drama!) 

In need of a tomb, the kids re-named a dinosaur cave of bricks and sticks that they had built a few days earlier “Mary’s tomb”.  Nina stood in this and Luke, as Jesus, came from the heavens (the light post in our yard) to carry her to Heaven, body and soul.  But, being human, and not the real Jesus, he tripped Nina, who fell and began to cry.  So, the dramatic play ended and the three-year-old drama began…

Drama aside, with just a few story tellings and one somewhat failed enactment of the Assumption, Luke and Nina understood enough to create their Assumption Art.  Then, when Daddy got home from drill later that evening, Nina eagerly brought him to the hallway to see their artwork.  Luke followed, happily explaining the story behind it.

Simple?  Perhaps.  Inspired?  Indeed!  Even though my knowledge and preparation for the Assumption was limited, my kiddoes seemed to gain from our experiences.  All things are possible with God!    

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Assumption of Mary: It’s the Process (and the Aim) Not the Product

(Note:  I know I had promised to continue our Prayer Peg series yesterday, but life happened and  priorities took me away from the computer.  I will pick the series up again next week.  In the meantime, I want to share how thankful I am for the process of fun and learning we experienced here at Jammies school last Sunday!)

Often when we approach arts and crafts as a part of learning we have the product in mind instead of the aim:  a pretty little something we can give as a gift or hang proudly on our walls.  In Jammies School this past Sunday, we took a more process-minded approach.

Our aim was three-fold:

(1)   To synthesize some of what the children have learned about the Assumption.
(2)   To enjoy some (mostly) child-led art time together, using only materials we had on hand.
(3)   To get some sensory input and skills practice.

This is how things unfolded:

We decided we would capture the idea that Mary went from Earth to Heaven during the Assumption through art by changing something that was an earthly dirt brown to a heavenly sky blue.

For the Earth, the kids each cut open a brown paper bag to use as a canvas.  (Check for Goal  #3 - fine motor skills practice!)

For Heaven, since the kids wanted to paint, I rummaged about to find the only blue paint we had left in the house – one nearly empty squeeze bottle and one small jar of finger paint. (Check for Goal #2 – using only what we had on hand for art.)

We brought these outside and set to work symbolically changing our earthly bag canvas to a heavenly blue one.

Initially, we decided to use cotton balls to spread the paint, symbolizing clouds (and offering some additional tactile input for Goal #3).  But, Luke didn’t like how the cotton “dragged too much” and “got sticky” on the paper.  So, the kids decided to simply pull the cotton apart to dry, sticking in the paint as clouds.

Then, they found other ways to spread the heavenly blue medium:

Nina, though not on the SPD scale a sensory seeker nonetheless, joyfully dug all five of her fingers and her palm into the finger paint jar and then, intently, spread it about her canvas.

Luke, who is sometimes tactile defensive, was not as keen on actual finger (or whole hand, as Nina’s case may have been) painting.  Instead, when the paint got on his hands,  he ran to wash them, and, then, opted to use an empty paint bottle as a brush of sorts, dabbing and dragging it through globs of paint to spread them.

As a result of their chosen paint-spreading techniques, Luke ended up far cleaner than Nina when the painting was done.  Luke didn’t really have paint anywhere on him. Well, that is, until he accidentally stepped on his painting when trying to step over it.  So, into a dishpan footbath he went, while Nina, who had managed to paint tummy, legs and all, requested to go splash in the big tubby.

Luke wanted nothing to do with a mid-day bath.  He wanted to continue his project, making Mary to put in the sky.  When I asked him how we should make her, he said he’d just color her.  But, I reminded him that he’d lost his privilege to use crayons that day (another story there…).  He, then, thought aloud that we could print out a Mary from the computer, but nixed the idea as soon as he came up with it, determining that he wanted to draw her with pencils instead.

So, with Nina happily in the tub, I helped Luke collect and sharpen some colored pencils.  Then, he busied himself at the kitchen table drawing Mary and other characters while I went back and forth between him and our bathing Nina. 

Each time I checked on Luke, I smiled wider and wider:

“Mary is saying Yes to God in Heaven,” Luke told me as I saw him coloring Mary with halo, beautiful colors and all.

“Jesus is bigger than Mary.  He has a halo, too,” he informed me as he drew a depiction of Jesus, “since Jesus took his mother to Heaven.”

Then, later, “The angel is singing ‘Hail Mary’ because there is a new Queen,” he described as he drew wavy lines (to depict sound) around an angel he was creating.

And, finally, “I’m drawing the apostle who was late Mommy…that only got to saw the flowers…Does he look sad?... He’s crying because he didn’t get to see Mary…(He became happy because he saw the flowers and knew) Mary went to Heaven.  Right, Mommy?  She went to Heaven…  I am taking away his tears…” Luke chattered on as he finished his last drawing.

Later, after Nina’s tubby, Luke decided that since Nina had not drawn any figures, we should put her Heaven and his together to be one Heaven for the figures he had drawn to go in.  “You tape them (the Heavens) together, Mommy.  Give me scissors to cut out Mary.”  I followed Luke’s suggestion on this and when he said, “You put the glue on and I will put them on Heaven.”  Likewise, I complied when Luke and Nina, together, decided we should hang their work in our hallway so, “We can see it when we wake up in the morning,” and, “we can pray here at night.”

And, indeed, they have been doing this.  Nina ran out to the hall last night when it was time for bedtime prayers to say the “Hail Mary”, joined by Luke, and to thank Jesus for dragonflies (another story there, too…)

Truly, our Sunday afternoon mini-project was a blessed one!  The kids both got to exercise their fine motor skills, explore the medium of finger paint and enjoy some focused attention.  Luke also did some problem solving (deciding how best to add Mary to the work) and displayed some synthesis of his knowledge of the Assumption through drawing and storytelling. (Check on Goal #1.)

The process helped us meet our aims.  And, hey, the product still ended up decorating our walls! 

Perhaps if we seek to emulate Mary, with our greater process and aims here on Earth through loving Jesus and saying yes to God, we might end up with a grand fantastic “finished product” – time with God, through his grace, in Heaven for eternity.  (Okay, not assumed, but radiantly joy-filled nonetheless).  Now, that is something to be grateful for!

This post is shared at Women Taking a Stand.  Please enjoy the other Thankful Thursday links there. 
It is also shared at Sunrise Learning Lab Reggio Emilia Wednesday.  Reggio is an approach that interests us, and, though this was not a 100% Reggio project, for many reasons, it is  a step towards more Reggio learning for us.  Check out sunrise learning Lab for a brief explanation and resource list for Reggio learning, as well links to other Reggio-inspired posts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time Machine to the Dinos!

What is this?

Some may say, "a mess".  But, Luke and Nina shout excitedly, "It's our time machine!" They go on to tell me all about it:

The jug with water in it that is hooked up to the rest by a plastic hangar is the gas.  The box is Nina's buckle seat.  The couch is the second floor, where the dinos will be kept.  The fan near the couch (not in the picture) is the "electric" and will help blow the dinos.  The toy dinos (not viewable as Luke is blocking them) tell our little explorers where to find real dinos.  The Leap Frog fridge farm (behind Nina's head on a small chair, somewhat obscured by a hat -- which is to keep them cool as they explore Dino World) is also "electricity" and will help attract dinos, because dinos like songs.  And, the balls on the couch (not in the picture) are snow that fell on the time machine as it zoomed through space...

The explanation kept on coming and my amazement at it did, too.  For,  yesterday morning, as I attended to my morning chores, Luke and Nina busily scavenged the living room, bedroom, front closet and kitchen for parts for their creation -- a time machine! Then, once the chores were done and their machine was built, they asked if I would join them for breakfast as they made their voyage to Dino World.  Since part of our Rule of Seven here at Jammies School is to "love playing", I replied with an enthusiastic "of course", and so our adventure commenced.

Dinos, dinos everywhere, real to the kids as play synthesized past learning and experiences.  Past books, museum visits, learning games, etc. all wove their way into our morning play.  Then, in the evening, when Daddy got home from work, the play was revisited.  The kids engineered a mini-version of their time machine to bring daddy aboard to Dino World.

(By the way, this play was inspired, I think, by Robert and the Dinosaurs by Leesa Waldron, a short, silly, but imaginative read that Luke picked up from the library as one of his prizes for the loads of Summer reading hours we have logged.  It's not on my Top Ten of Dinosaur Picture Book Fiction, but at a mere penny on Amazon, it is definitely worth a look for dino-loving kids and dino-unit creating teachers.  The time machine concept certainly caught on here...)

We Play
Have you been loving play, too. Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up.  And if you are interested in seeing more ideas for crafts, activities, recipes, tips and educational resources for Toddlers, check out the links at Delicious Ambiguity Tot Tuesdays.



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