Monday, 29 September 2014

Calling all Fairies!

We spent some time this week-end in our grand-daughter's garden.  The guys were working on a wood working project.  The girls were playing and lounging in the warm Autumn sun.  It was late afternoon and the sun was low and casting long shadows across the grass.  

We got out the tree blocks that we had recently sanded and treated with a lovely beeswax finish.  You can read more about the process we used HERE.

We set up a little table and chairs and prepared it for the garden fairies who might like to come for a visit.  

Our little girl scampered around the garden gathering bits and pieces to add to the invitation.

She had on her own set of fairy wings, except she called them dragon fly wings.

So energetic and carefree!

And then all of a sudden she was done with the wings and it was time for a bike ride.

I wonder if the fairies will come for their snack?

Are you interested in Fairy books for children?   Check this one out!
I think I could seriously get hooked on creating Fairy homes....

Friday, 19 September 2014

Don't cut the Dinosaur Legs!

My grand-daughter is quite an artist.  She is 3.5 and has a little art room of her own at home. Just to be clear, she does share the space with a freezer and a photocopier and other things, but it is her space where she can spread out and create! Her mama has put a lot of materials at her height so she can be quite self sufficient with scissors, paper, crayons, glue, collage materials, paint and more.

Just a side note: It is really great in a daycare setting, if there is a designated art area where children can access art materials everyday and learn to use them whenever they need to.

Now back to my story...When she used paint a few months ago, she was really into mixing the colors and wondering, "What will happen?"

Then she was really into painting in each corner as she began her work.

Now it seems as if her art is becoming more representational.  "This is a calendula," she might say,  or, "This is a dinosaur family."

(The painting of the Dinosaur Family photo credit goes to the fabulous daycare she attends, complete with an inspiring art room)

My daughter likes to frame a few of this young artists projects and they have several "art galleries" at home.  She recently found two matching frames at the thrift store and brought them home to showcase some of her latest work.

My daughter wanted to include her in the whole process of framing her art.  After all, it's hers!  First they had to clean the frames.  Then they talked for a long time about what pictures to put in the frames.  Some were too big and would require some cutting.  They agreed they couldn't cut the dinosaur family painting because as little girl pointed out "The dinosaurs wouldn't be together with their family."

So they decided together on two paintings that she had but might require just a little cutting to fit the frames.  They decided together where to cut and Mama double checked before she actually cut anything.  This is how they turned out!

The one on the left is a stop sign.  The one on the right is a dinosaur island.

The bombshell announcement came after all the deciding and discussing and cutting....Little girl said, "It's okay Mommy, that dinosaur didn't need his legs."

See the blue on the bottom right of the dinosaur island picture?  That's the poor dinosaur with no legs.


Peter H. Reynolds has written three amazing children's books about children doing art.  He is clearly very sensitive about promoting children's confidence and freedom as they experience art.  His books are called, The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color.  You can buy them as a boxed set or individually.  I highly recommend them. They are gorgeous books, worth having on your shelf.

I also came across this blog called the Artful Parent.  She has lots of helpful tips for parents and educators.  You can check out more by clicking on this LINK

Here's to many artful adventures with your children, whether at home or in the classroom!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Un-Toys are the Most Fun?

In our toddler yard we acquired a couple of traffic marker thingys.  You know the tall, plastic, bright orange tubes on a rubber base.  Those things.  I did not steal them from the highways department.  I did not.  But someone might have.  I don't know the history, but I do know that they have been in our yard for as long as I have been there.  And I do know that they provide the toddlers with a really great challenge.  We like to tip them over and then they are a fun tilted tunnel to throw things down.  Like balls, and pinecones and cars.

Today it was cars.

They put the cars in this end,

And then retrieve them from this end.

Toddlers are still developing Object Permanence.  So they had to trust that when they put their car in, they would get it back again.  

object permanence,
a capacity to perceive that something exists even when it is not seen.

There was a lot of learning that took place.  Turn taking for one.  Always a challenge for our ego-centric toddlers.  With a little support they could take turns really well.

Thinking, imagining, practising, experimenting...

They had to learn to make sure the car didn't flip over when they put it into the tunnel.  

They also had to learn to give it a little push.

Physics 101.

Watching it go down.

Then, RUNNING to the other end to get it out!

Sometimes it took its time rolling down the tube.

Where's my car?

And sometimes they don't care about driving cars down the tube.  Sometimes it is just as much fun to use the un-toy another way.

What kind of Un-toys do you have in your program or home? 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Days to Savour.

We were over at my daughter's place yesterday, picking pears and plums.  The place they are renting this year has many fruit trees and they are a little overwhelmed to say the least.  They have 3 large cherry trees, three or four apricot trees, an apple, pear and plum tree, plus their garden.  There is a lot of harvesting going on these days.  My daughter invested in a food dehydrator and that has been a really helpful way to store food for the coming winter.

I invited my mom to come and pick fruit as well.  Fruit is an important part of her low-no fat diet and she appreciates the family time as well.  

My daughter and I were busy picking pears and then we moved along to where the plum tree is and there was Nana up in the tree.

I say, life is short, if you want to climb a tree when you are 75 and 1/2, go for it!
I had a turn climbing the tree as well, to pick a few plums!  It brought back some fond memories of childhood for me.  Times when I climbed to the very top of our plum tree and sat up there, alone with my thoughts, feasting on plums, with a great view of the village I grew up in.

When we were done picking fruit, we went to lay on the picnic blanket and bask in the lovely, late summer sun.  

All except for little girl who was playing with water and making soup for Nana.
Her Great -Nana that is.

We could hear them chattering away to each other and I tried to sneak in to snap a few pictures without interrupting.

I grew up without any extended family nearby at all, so, when family gets together, it is something I really value.  Young ones learning from older ones.  Listening to stories and advice and wisdom and things learned.

She is telling the little girl the story of Stone Soup.

Our tender hearted little girl wanted to know, "Why didn't the old woman want to share?"

If you haven't heard the story of Stone Soup you can read the Original tale HERE.
There are numerous versions of the same story.

In case any of you are wondering....Nana is wearing a little beanie hat she bought when she was on holiday in Saudi Arabia.  It is a hat that a little Saudi boy would typically wear.  It caught her fancy and there you have it.  

Relationship building, memory making, sharing thoughts and ideas.  Asking questions and wondering why? and what? and tell me.

Days to savour, days to enjoy, days to  remember.