Nothing beats the real thing, of course, but sometimes being able to use a more cohesive (less messy) “potting soil” is just the thing. This is coffee play dough and some old seed packets filled with beans and other goods from the pantry.
Yesterday we had a small crafting “party” for some of Little R’s friends. (smaller even than we had hoped, due to illness) Little R is fortunate to have a number of “big kid” friends so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do something for them. Plus, it gave me a chance to come up with something for older children which is nice for a change. I do so love just sitting around a table and making things together. Little R participated happily and was also very interested in watching the others.
We made these wood sewing card valentines out of shingles. Originally I was going to do a printing activity with the shingles but when G saw the inked up wood he suggested that the kids would probably also just like keeping the wood which, I then remembered, is true. So I thought I’d go in that direction and just decorate the wood. (Maybe avoiding the mess of printing was a wise move.) I pre-drilled the holes in heart formation because I was anticipating a larger crew, but it would also be fun to drill according to each child’s design. We decorated them with markers and pencil crayons and then stitched them up. I enjoyed this and see potential in exploring this further, so I’m glad there’s a stack of shingles in the barn!
And then there was snack and heart cookies and strawberries dipped in chocolate and pink juice. What more does a Valentine Party need??
For Little R’s increasing interest in drawing, a new little set up. Her increasing interest in sewing and my sewing machine making my “studio” off-limits (unless she is sewing with me) and therefore her previous desk is no longer convenient.
I have plans and schemes for an overhaul of Little R’s various corners but meanwhile….(oh “meanwhile”, it’s always meanwhile, isn’t it?) I’m trying to make things appealing and inspiring, even in just the tiniest ways.
Ahem. There is hardly room for ONE in the studio but as Little R begins exploring painting and drawing she needs a space to work. So I reorganized and moved some things around to give her a spot. Of course, the idea that we could both work peacefully at our respective desks for very long is a bit of a dream. Still, having adjacent creative spaces pleases me. I have this notion that the areas that are set up for her to play and work should in some way fit with the way we use the house.
And, as a handy bonus, the bench (yep, I built that) I have set up as her table is perfect for me to stand on and reach the high shelves in the cupboard/closet.
I have felt a shift. Little R seems to have moved, imperceptibly and at the same time all at once, from baby to toddler, or almost toddler. And this shift me thinking about how we do things, about space, and our days. The teacher in me, or my experience as a teacher, at any rate, is stirring a little, as I remember thoughts and ideas. At the same time, this is new to me as a mother, so I feel certain I will be learning, changing things, discovering things. When she first learned to crawl, the modus operandi was EXPLORE, and I knew that traveling through the house (and roaming over the grass) was exactly what she need. And she was always very engrossed in her work as she took the house apart! But with this “shift” I’m talking about, the curious taking apart became a little bit more repetitive and I sensed that she might enjoy something with…how to put it…a little more meaning.
I’ve gathered up all the toys and in their place have been focusing on creating some “areas” for Little R. At various points so far, I’ve tried something similar, but now that Little R is older it seems to make even more sense. Nature table, block area, book corner, and some low tables that can serve as her “work stations”. I have various other ideas, which I may post about later as I complete them. And then, while she is sleeping, I put together a few activities or baskets for her to explore. A bowl and lid full of feathers, a piggybank and change. Yesterday I set up a little table of three vases, with some branches we picked up on a walk for arranging.
I feel I could write a long untidy post (getting there already) about my thoughts on this. I could discuss philosophies. But I’ll try to hold off. These are just first steps.