Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Reminiscing Today.

I had some unexpected days off this week.  I was fully intending to go to work, but work called to say there were NO children!!  Well, okay then, time to regroup and figure out how to spend the next couple of days.

What I find myself doing today is debriefing 2013 in my mind.  It's that time of year when we do that, I guess.  Celebrating the good things, thinking of ways to improve the not so good, reminiscing, dreaming, making resolutions...maybe you are doing that yourself.

I thought I would share some of my highlights of the year with you, dear readers, whoever you are.  According to the blog stats you are from all over the world.  Thank-you for dropping by into my world for a few minutes to read some of my thoughts and ideas!!

The year started off with a delightful visit with my little grand-daughter and her Mama.  She was not quite two and flights are cheaper with an infant so they snuck in a quick visit before her birthday!

At work, in the toddler room, we started using more open-ended, natural, loose part toys.  We became more comfortable with the concept as we went along and saw the children respond with incredible creative and imaginative play.

Lots of baseball in 2013.  A lovely trip to Phoenix for spring training kick started the season.  I have never been there, so we enjoyed learning about some of the  history and the desert and definitely enjoyed the warmer temperatures!

Another visit from my little one in May.  Her family helped me create a beautiful garden!

From this.

To this.

To this!!

I enjoyed seeing these four hanging out together.

Hand-crafting (sewing doesn't come naturally to me, so I was proud of myself) while watching baseball.  I sewed four little birds that now hang from a branch in the daycare room. 

In May of 2013 I started this blog.  I wanted to share some of the things I have learned, and am learning, about childcare, some felting projects and storytelling ideas, and some personal anecdotes.  I also manage a Face Book page called....and the carrot came up.  You can check it out and LIKE it here if you are interested, or you can share it with young families or those working with young children.

In 2013 I looked for the beauty around me and took more pictures to document it!

My youngest got to fly out to visit his sisters in the summer!

I got to go out for a trip as well.  I love being with my girls.

I enjoyed a special dinner out with these two.

I enjoyed a week of holiday at the ocean which replenished me somewhat.  We had great visits with family and friends.

We moved my Mother, who is a young 76 year old, to the city where we live.

In the fall, in the infant room, we played with light.  We are learning more about light and how young children want to experience light.

My hubby D, and my son and I, went to our other home, the one with property, to work for a long week-end.  Being in nature was amazing.

We invested in a new couch this fall!!  Out with the Very old and in with the new!  When the old one was on its way out a light bright fell out, reminding me of how long we had owned the old couch.  And a toonie fell out as well...and a cracker.  Oooops.

We have been enjoying Iphone visits with this little girl.  I have learned to take pictures during the visit so I can document and remember our play times.

Papa enjoys reading to her via Iphone.  

My hubby D and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this year.  I'm still crazy about this guy. 

So ends my walk down memory lane.  I hope you enjoy thinking of all the lovely parts of Your year that brought you pleasure.

All the best in 2014.  Happy New Year!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Why Less could be More?

My oldest daughter drew my name this Christmas.  When she asked me what I would like I answered with my usual, "Oh, you know me....something homemade".  I have always told my kids that....draw me a picture, write a poem, make something.  I guess I always love the thought that is behind homemade gifts and the skill that goes into the making.  Don't get me wrong, while I love thoughtful bought gifts as well, there is just something about homemade that is is very special to me.

Well, this daughter did make something, with the help of the computer!  She created a photo album of her experience of implementing a Reggio inspired play environment and life style for her daughter.  It was filled with so many gorgeous pictures and was supported with a lot of documentation of her thoughts and observations.

If you have read my blog at all you know by know that I have a strong interest in the Reggio philosophy, but bits and pieces of other philosophy's as well.  Mostly I am into doing the very best I can at providing beautiful learning experiences for the children in my care.

One thing my daughter wrote, caught my eye, as I was reading through the album and it made me stop and think.

"Actually one thing they don't tell you about Reggio is just how annoying loose parts can be sometimes!  C's loose parts are rarely contained in a carefully designed invitation; they migrate organically over the whole house".

It is a constant challenge for parents and Educators alike to figure out what toys, how many toys, when to change them around, how to present them, and on and on it goes.

Challenging they may be, but I still go for open-ended, natural made and loose parts.  

I recently read an article that had a lot of good and thought provoking points in it.  Instead of linking it, I am copying the whole thing for your reading pleasure.

Thank-you Joshua Becker.

Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids

The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.” – Ray L. Wilbur
Toys are not merely playthings. Toys form the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves. They send messages and communicate values. And thus, wise parents think about what foundation is being laid by the toys that are given to their kids.
Wise parents also think about the number of toys that children are given. While most toy rooms and bedrooms today are filled to the ceiling with toys, intentional parents learn to limit the number of toys that kids have to play with.
They understand that fewer toys will actually benefit their children in the long-term:
  1. Kids learn to be more creative. Too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. Two German public health workers (Strick and Schubert) conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all of their toys for three months. Although boredom set in during the initial stages of the experiment, the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.
  2. Kids develop longer attention spans. When too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer. A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them.
  3. Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. They learn the give and take of a good conversation. And studies have attributed childhood friendships to a greater chance of success academically and in social situations during adulthood.
  4. Kids learn to take greater care of things. When kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. They will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand. If you have a child who is constantly damaging their toys, just take a bunch away. He will quickly learn.
  5. Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. Fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting. And a love for art will help them better appreciate beauty, emotion, and communication in their world.
  6. Kids become more resourceful. In education, students aren’t just given the answer to a problem; they are given the tools to find the answer. In entertainment and play, the same principle can be applied. Fewer toys causes children to become resourceful by solving problems with only the materials at hand. And resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited potential.
  7. Kids argue with each other less. This may seem counter-intuitive. Many parents believe that more toys will result in less fighting because there are more options available. However, the opposite is true far too often. Siblings argue about toys. And every time we introduce a new toy into the relationship, we give them another reason to establish their “territory” among the others. On the other hand, siblings with fewer toys are forced to share, collaborate, and work together.
  8. Kids learn perseverance. Children who have too many toys give up too quickly. If they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. Kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
  9. Kids become less selfish. Kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. This attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.
  10. Kids experience more of nature. Children who do not have a basement full of toys are more apt to play outside and develop a deep appreciation for nature. They are also more likely to be involved in physical exercise which results in healthier and happier bodies.
  11. Kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store. True joy and contentment will never be found in the aisles of a toy store. Kids who have been raised to think the answer to their desires can be bought with money have believed the same lie as their parents. Instead, children need encouragement to live counter-cultural lives finding joy in things that truly last.
  12. Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.
I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favor today and limit their number of toys. (Just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.)

Sunday, 29 December 2013

More on Penguins

I realize that not everyone is into Felting so here are a few more simple ways to create fun play scapes for the Penguins.

For this one I used a blue scarf that I found at the thrift store.  It made me think of ocean and ice flows.  I laid that down first  and added some cut-out felt pieces that can be moved around.

My son recently received computer parts in the mail and along with the parts came some packaging.  So I used some of that for the penguins to play on.

Papa Penguin looks like the King of the Castle.

And here is a slippery slide for Mama Penguin to use.

Depending on the age of your children you could add in a mirror, some snow and a scarf.

Freezing water in different size containers would be awesome as well. Add in a little food color and the children could enjoy making their own ice sculptures for the Penguins.

Have fun!  Feel free to share your ideas in a comment!!

Some Penguin songs to sing.

Have You Ever Seen A Penguin? (Tune: Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?)

Have you ever seen a penguin? A penguin? A penguin?
Have you ever seen a penguin swim this way and that?
Swim this way and that way? And this way and that way?
Have you ever seen a penguin swim this way and that? (make swimming motions with arms)
. . . slide this way and that (make sliding motion with arms) . . . waddle this way and that (feet close together, tiny waddling steps) . . . flap this way and that (arms close to sides, flap little "wings")

Three little penguins 
Dressed in black
Waddle, waddle forward
Waddle right back
They stand on the ice and they look so neat
As they waddle along on their little flat feet

I'm a Little Penguin
(sung to tune of "I'm a Little teapot.")

I'm a little penguin black and white,
I waddle to the left and I waddle to the right.
I cannot fly but I can swim, 
So I waddle to the water and jump right in!

Needle-Felted Play Scape - for Penguins

I decided to needle felt a play scape for my Penguin family.  It didn't take very long as I used batting with a little white roving on the top.  Because the batting has not been combed like roving, the fibres are already somewhat intertwined and it takes very little needle work to get a firm piece of felt.

I used a pretty piece of silk for water on the play scape.

To make the little snow cave, I felted a seperate piece of batting and then attached it to the play scape by needling the edges securely.

Welcome, little Schleich  Penguin family.

I found a lovely scarf in different shades of blue that reminded me of ocean and ice.  I used that to place under the felted play scape for an added invitation.  Orca whales and seals live in the Antarctica also, so add them in if you have them.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

One Cool Kid.

One lovely thing about winter holidays is that my Hubby D and I get to visit almost everyday, via Iphone, with my girls and with my grand-daughter.  That makes my day, no two ways about it.

Today as I was visiting, my grand-daughter and I realized that we both got Penguins for Christmas!!  She got two and I got two.  One of mine has a baby at it's feet just like the poster that reads "One cool family".

So, we got talking about penguins.  I showed her what I was making for my penguins.  I plan to  post some more about this tomorrow.

We talked about the South Pole and the ice and cold.  She wanted a snow cave for her penguins too, but then we got talking about different ways we could make ice for them to play on.  Her Mama plans to freeze some water to make real ice.....fun, fun, fun.  And then I reminded her of how when I visit with her she often wants to go skating with me.  She puts a square of fabric on the floor, she calls it her "ice piece" and places one foot on the fabric, along with the Iphone, and the other foot on the floor and we skate along together.  

Just then the Iphone ran out of battery and needed to be plugged in.  The plug is right by the coffee table, so she brought her penquins there along with a gold mardi gras necklace.  She propped up the Iphone on the puzzle box, and all of a sudden the penquins skated by.  Back and forth they went.

Brilliant.  One cool kid.