Open-Ended Literature

Simone reads one of her favorites to Henry: Pancakes for Breakfast.

If you’ve been following our adventures here at Abundant Life for very long now, you will know I am passionately devoted to open-ended play things for children: materials that spark creativity and imagination and leave the product wide open.  Our shelves are filled an odd assortment of wooden spools, ceramic tile samples, and wooden trim pieces that serve a variety of purposes throughout the day.  It was not until recently that I made the connection between my love for wordless picture books and my passion for open-ended materials.  With wordless picture books, the storyline is left to the reader.  And while there is one primary theme running throughout, the story can be retold thousands of different ways each time it is told.


Boats and Watercolor

We didn’t dilute our water color today.  We pulled out red, yellow, and blue, and armed with full-strength color, we painted strokes of beauty and creativity on thick, absorbent watercolor paper.  We used white crayons to create a color resist, we pressed down masking tape before adding color to protect some area of our pages for a striking white design, and we even soaked strips of paper in water first and then added color, watching the primary set bleed and then transform into the secondary.  (more…)

Not about the Product

Spend anytime around here, and you will discover that we are thoroughly process people.  Parents of the Abundant Life children are accustomed to picking up their children — proudly displaying their creations: envelopes full of tiny pieces cut confidently with scissors, a repurposed snack cracker box swimming in glue, or invisible paper holding layers of caked and cracking tempera paints.  Sometimes the work stays here, elegantly displayed to be revisited and admired in subsequent days and weeks.  Often it travels home, messages of love captured by the careful and inspired work of small hands.