Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Hand Made with Love.

A long, long time ago, I mean a really long, long time ago, a few of my co-workers and I talked about putting on a crafting workshop for the rest of our co-workers.  We wanted to share some of our interests with others.  We wanted the girls to be able to make some of their own accessories for story telling, for felted play scape's, or for children's play.  We wanted everyone to be able to have a choice of what they wanted to create. 

 So finally it happened!  I think the hardest part about it was coming up with a suitable day and time that worked for most.  

We brought in our tubs of crafting supplies, books and examples.  Several tables were heavy laden with supplies.  Everyone found a spot to start and there was no holding them back.  Wow, these ladies were intense, capable crafter's.   Everyone walked out with a number of awesome treasures!

Making felted trees, doll clothes or mushrooms.

Two different kinds of trees to sew.  One that can stand alone and one with a wood dowel.

Learning to needle felt.

This is Handa.  For more of her story check out this post.  Isn't she just adorable? 

Painted dowel family.  Grandma, Grandpa and little Mr. G.

Little Red Riding Hood.  The big, bad wolf will surely have compassion on this little cutie?

Julianne: all ready for the story of the stinky, slimy mud puddle.  She even got a nice yellow rain poncho to wear.

A little Korean doll.  With the cape on she is ready for one story and with the cape off she jumps into another one!

This is Tsonquah.  She was born out of this Legend  but I think my co-worker will modify the story so the children don't get terrified!  

Stone painting...frogs and mice!

I noticed at times the room was hushed as everyone concentrated on their work.  There was also a lot of chit, chat at times as everyone connected and enjoyed one another's company.

We borrowed a few favorite crafts from Susan Munzer.  Did any of you get to enjoy her amazing workshops on story telling and prop/toy making?  Wow, what a wonderful, authentic lady she was.  And so generous.  Remember how we all left her workshops with gorgeous beach shells?

Making Susan Munzer paper flowers.

Susan Munzer felt flowers.

This little flower stars in the story of "The Happy Day, when all the animals awake from their long winter snooze and "smell" spring!

Quietly, busily felting a ball.

Everyone got to take home a freebie....a tree cookie with a small hole drilled in the center, just the right size for a little tree.

I just think we might do this again.  It was a good time!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Slippery Fish and other Ocean Life.

I found this flannel board at the Thrift Store the other day for 2.99.  So we set up a bit of an ocean exploration in the toddler room.  

 That big shark in the fore front is hollow and has teeth, so they have been shoving things down it's throat because of course it's hungry. The hungry fish idea comes directly out of the song, Slippery Fish.  I love how toddlers connect dots.  They used their knowledge of the Slippery Fish song and built upon it and played hungry fish games. 

 They have also loved the turtle family.  Two big ones, a medium size one and the well loved baby one. I also put out a Mother duck and some babies along with Eric Carle's book, 10 Little Rubber Ducks.

 My challenge as an educator is to not place any agenda on the invitation.  I wanted to include a mix of toys, books, loose parts and nature and allow the children to do whatever they want with the items.  If the items end up in another area in the room, at clean up time we re-invite using the materials that are in that area.  This is working for the toddlers and for us as staff.  It's a good, low stress system for programming and clean-up!

For more reading on Loose Parts check out this blog post.  

For me the theory of loose parts is an attitude to how children play.  It is an acceptance that children may use what is in their environment and make their own choices about what to do with it.  Materials do not have to be displayed or stored beautifully, they simply need to be there. -quote by Rachel McClary

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Here Come the Dinosaurs.

Do you have a big tire and are not sure how to use it?  In one of our 3- programs the Educators and children designed a dinosaur world.

Combining a huge interest of the 3-5's with nature makes a beautiful place for them to play and use their imagination.

Boards can be made available for bridges.

Stumps, rocks and plants all have a place in this world.

Chunks of bark make a perfect home for dinosaurs.

Add in some succulents.

Guaranteed hours of fun and enjoyment.

Here is a link to more great Dinosaur World Ideas.