A few weeks ago, we were walking home from the park when it started to rain – one of those spring rains with large drops and still visible blue sky and sunshine. Rainbows! Look for the rainbows! The crew and I started looking, but couldn’t find one that day. When we got home, we started talking about rainbows – where they are, what colors they are made of, what letters are in the word, how to create rainbows from primary colors…all of the logical extensions of a near rainbow sighting. I was inspired by some of the pictures posted by For the Children during preschool tours to create some rainbow art, and we ended up with a masterpiece! (more…)
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…)
On Saturday, I will be traveling to Ottumwa, Iowa to teach at the Southeast Iowa Early Care and Education Symposium, a conference I am very much looking forward to! I will be unveiling a brand new workshop titled, “Climbing up the Slide: How Honoring a Child’s Innate Desires Nurtures their Body, Mind, and Spirit” and I feel giddy with excitement. Each time I deliver new content, I anticipate how the material will be received, the way time will unfold and if I allotted it correctly in my mind, and what pieces participants will embrace most strongly. In addition to this class, I will also be teaching “One Big Family! How Rivalry Surfaces in Early Childhood Settings, and What to do about it!” and “Time on the Floor: How Entering a Child’s World Fosters Lifelong Learning.” Needless to say, my unclaimed time (typically reserved for writing) will largely go toward laminating, cutting, tying, packing, printing, stapling, photocopying, ironing, coloring, taping, and counting. Curious about what might be happening in Saturday’s workshops? Join us!
Do you spend time foraging for materials that would be the pièce de résistance of any given sensory activity only to find those materials collecting dust on your art shelves months (or years!) later? Me? Guilty. Majorly guilty. I attend conferences and write feverishly as presenters give out suggestions for supplies that extend the learning of children in their programs, and then spend hours in the days following hunting them down online or locally only to set them on the shelf and look at them. Look. At. Them. What part of looking at a bottle of glitter glue, or staring at box of glow sticks, or creating in the presence of a wonderful bag of metallic balloons does any child any good? It doesn’t even matter how expensive the materials were! Often, the dust collectors set me back a couple of dollars at most! Yet I typically fall into the trap of hoarding “my” supplies (who are they for again?) and doling them out sparingly – preferring to stick with safer and more known materials like play dough and paint. And I even tend to guard those materials with the sharp eyes of a hawk. (more…)
The idea that children should be spending more time in nature is gaining momentum in early childhood circles. Culturally, our lifestyles have shifted dramatically over the last fifty or so years keeping more and more of us inside and sedentary. Scientists and researchers are just now beginning to understand the implications of that shift, and consequently, early childhood programs are being charged with cultivating a love of active, outdoor play in children. Research is showing that prolonged, unstructured time in nature is linked with a whole host of positive outcomes: reduced incidence of mental health problems, increase in problem solving and critical thinking skills, better physical health, and higher cognitive function. Basically, we are discovering that kids who spend lots of time outside are healthier, happier, and smarter.
Looking for experiences to enrich the play at Abundant Life is one of my favorite past times. The crew is my source of direction, then I go looking for experiences that might enrich their internal drive. I blog-surf, I Amazon-surf, I email myself with ideas so I don’t forget them, and most recently, I “pin” the fantastic inspirations I read about. (Who knew we needed another social networking platform? Turns out that a handy online organizational tool for all of the cool ideas I run across isn’t such a bad idea!) But one of my favorite ways to be inspired is to pull out my books and page-surf: looking for the portions of the book that fall open from heavy use and reading, finding the sticky notes that have lost their stick but still manage to hold a spot in my books, and turning to the back where I have penned my ideas and shopping lists while I go. (more…)