Thursday, 31 October 2013

Loose Parts - in the Block Area

I am of the opinion that unit blocks (as a minimum) should be available to the children everyday, all day.  They should just be part of everyday play.  

Many children, I have noticed, don't know what to do with blocks at first.  But as they are invited with interesting provocations they learn to be curious.

I watched this little girl,  start her tower or stacking with a wedge piece.  Over and over again. And it would fall down over and over again.  Look at her structure this time.  Interesting.   She still started with a wedge piece, but learned how to balance the blocks so they didn't fall.  Resilience.  Perseverance.

Using all of the blocks available. 

See the pattern?

Using tiles to make a wall.

Then they got the idea to make a tunnel.

PVC ramp, cars, tin cans, tiles and blocks

Because we have loose parts in the room, children can bring things from other areas.

She made a beautiful bed for her puppy and bunny.

These photos are just a sampling.  Something amazing is created everyday.  

"For engaging children's hands, minds and imaginations, no tool surpasses blocks.  Engrossed in building with blocks the child is a mathematician, scientist, architect, stage designer and story-teller.  And as children build together, they stretch and grow as problem solvers and collaborators. "

The Block Book, by Elizabeth Hirsch

Monday, 28 October 2013

Owl Babies - A Story

One of my favorite fall stories.  A story, I think that little ones who go to daycare can identify with.  They wait for their Mommies (and Daddies) too.

You can enjoy the youtube version here.

I made a flannel story as well, for the children to use.

Bill - "I want my mommy!"

Sarah, Percy and Bill

And she came!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The World Serious.

My hubby D and I went over the baseball field to watch our son play ball today. It is the last week-end for games as the weather is getting colder and they will soon start winter training in the gym.   His team is divided into two and they play each other in an inter-squad series that they call "The World Serious".

It's fun, but they take it "seriously".  

We love watching our kid.  #17.  He's the one at bat.  

In between games, we went for a walk to get the circulation going.  Amongst all the baseball fields and soccer pitches are beautiful trees, and paths to walk on.

And lots of Canada geese.  These ones don't seem to fly south.  The climate here is moderate enough for them and they find enough food.

More geese.  They make walking around the park a little treacherous.  You have to watch out for the land mines, if you know what I mean.

I am wearing the team colors!  I like to be a supportive fan.

Back at the field I yell down to my kid and ask if he has enough food and tea.  He likes drinking tea.  I like that about him.

They ended the day by winning one and losing one.  The final will be tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

An Open Ended Toy - The Lowly Tin Can

Last year we collected an assortment of tin cans to use in the Toddler room. Large tomato cans, small tomato cans, tuna cans, and medium sized veggie cans.  About 25-30 in all.
I used a tool to squeeze the pokey-out bit at the top and for some cans I applied a little piece of duct tape to ensure that there were no sharp edges.

Easy and Free

We placed them in a wooden box and put them the block/construction area.

Here is list of things we saw the toddlers do with them.

*putting things into them
*putting things onto them
*sticking magnets onto them
*lining them up...biggest to smallest or just randomly
*in the kitchen area...for stirring and pretending 
*in the sensory bin...pouring and scooping
*in the art area...for holding scissors or crayons
*on the light table...for reflecting and for shininess
*on the loose parts table...for all of the above

and for creative art

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Loose Parts on the Light Table.

I found these photos I had taken last fall.  We were using "loose parts" in our toddler room.  Things that could be used in many ways and without many rules attached to them.   Some of the items in the pictures were set up on the light table as an invitation and some items the children gathered from other places throughout the room and placed them on the table themselves.

Yes, that is a dolly with a blue candle holder on its face.  We will likely never know the reason for that.

In and on and over 

After all that work, she took her dolly and left.


On and on and on


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Art of Mushrooms and such.

This past Thanksgiving week-end we travelled to the property we rent out, to do some winterizing there and generally check things over.  The property is a little more than seven acres and one of the borders of the property is a creek.  The creek is the water source for the house.

Looking down the creek.  The sun was shining through the branches creating mesmerising shadows.


Up the creek.

I never get tired of hanging out here.  There is something very soothing about water gurgling over and around the rocks.

As I walked the land I was struck, once again, by the beauty around me.

So much moss.  So much art.

And guess what?  So many mushrooms to be found.  I thought I might like to have a mushroom contest.  Which ones do you  think are the most beautiful?  

This one?

These cute little ones?

How about this guy?  I don't know why I think it's a guy?  

This one reminds me of a pancake.  Nice and toasty.  It's likely poisonous though, so wasn't tempted to take a bite!

I love these shiny beauties.


Tiny little white ones.  Growing out of a bed of moss.

I love the ruffly edges of this one.

I don't know....can't decide....loved them all.  

So glad I had a chance to be in nature.  Very thankful.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An Open Ended Toy - Grimm Rainbow Stacker.

A family once donated a little money to our toddler program.  It was Christmas time and, instead of giving chocolate, they gave money.  Money is always welcome in childcare, isn't it?  Yahoo!

This is what we bought.


A Large Grimm Rainbow Stacker.  Their website is here.

This picture is on the Grimm website.  I never actually saw our children use the toy this way but they did use it in many other creative ways.  This toy was bought in January and has been used ever since.  

The definition of open-ended.
o·pen-end·ed (pn-ndd)
1. Not restrained by definite limits, restrictions, or structure.
2. Allowing for or adaptable to change.
3. Inconclusive or indefinite: 
4. Allowing for a spontaneous, unstructured response: 

Before and behind?  Bridges? A bumpy road?

A ramp for the cars?

Enough pieces for more than one player.

A suspension bridge?  That works well when two work together.

A belt?  Very fashionable and matching, I think.

A colorful tower.  Balancing arches?

So much possible learning with this toy.  So if you get money, instead of one!  I highly recommend it.