Saturday, October 29, 2011

Broken Bricks

When I was around seven or so years old, we lived next door to two brothers, Tommy and David, who were the same age as my sister and I.  We played together--a lot--and there was a lot to do.  Hide-and-seek is the most memorable sport we played, along with trying to throw things on the roof.

I remember one day when the whole family was at our neighbor's house for a BBQ.  The adults were inside and I was goofing off outside with the kids. One of the boys showed me a hammer and how he could break a brick with the hammer.  Their shrubs were surrounded by a brick border.  It looked like good fun and, well, no red flags went off in my head about how inappropriate it would be to break all of their bricks.

And that's exactly what I did. I just hit one brick after another with the hammer until the game was over (ie. no brick left unhammered).  The boy disappeared, probably because he knew this was not a crime for which he wanted to be an accessory.

The thing is, I thought nothing of breaking the bricks. It was entirely an explorative process.  Yes, I was old enough to use common sense, but I guess you can say that my common sense was a late bloomer.  I didn't even realize I had done anything wrong until I saw the expression on the adults' faces when they saw what I had done.

I was acting on a very non-cognitive impulse.  I was seizing a new experience. I was following what felt like a natural sequence of events. There was a hammer available.  There I was. Hammer, bricks.  What was a girl to do?

I try to keep this experience in mind when I see children doing things that they "should" know is not okay, yet they do it anyway.  More often than not, they are just using a hammer to make broken bricks.

My Dream Vacation

As we were having a very Zen moment in the outdoor area today, I looked around at what the children were engaged in and realized that this is a place I would want to be if I were a child.  Even on our worst days, we have a lot of awesome stuff going on for children.  In fact, we offer exactly what I want for my dream vacation...


Places to relax...

Bike riding across rugged terrain...

All-you-can-swing swinging tree...

Things to hammer and squish...

Places for solitary time, and freedom wake up adequately before putting on shoes and walking out the door...

Freedom to walk and sound like any animal of choice...

Art areas looking out over flower gardens and big Halloween spider webs...

Come...stay a while!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Garden Fresh Produce

That's one of my little gardens. I planted it but the children tend to it when needed. Well, we noticed that our volunteer cantaloupe vine had dropped a couple of melons that were waiting to be eaten.

[and I had to look up how to spell the word 'cantaloupe' after five unsuccessful attempts at spelling it correctly!]

We threw the waste into the compost bin in hopes that we get more volunteers next year!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two very fun and crafty Halloween activities

These two activities are worth the labor! Both are borrowed from the interwebs...

At a loss for Halloween activities? I have a few on my Pinterest October board!

Felted Stones

Ever since I saw the post about felted stones on I'm a Teacher, Get Me Outside Here, I have wanted to make some for our classroom.  I found orange and green wool roving at the fabric store and the children who were interested helped me make soft wool covered stones. I thought these would make great pumpkins!

I am loving natural open-ended props in the classroom.  We do have lots of children, especially girls, with a gatherer instinct (you know the ones who like to gather and hoard lots of things in boxes or bags). I believe there is something innate about this drive because it seems to repeat itself with various groups of kids.

In the photo below, they were still wet three days later.  Why? Because the children, after we made them, thought that the way we use them is to get them wet and soapy. They took the felting activity very literally...and I must not have explained it very well!

Using a felting needle, I added the pumpkin leaf and vine on top, although they look more like persimmons to me!

(Notice the playdough-filled balloons in the background? These are a great focusing tool for the kids who are wiggly at circle time, and they are a great therapeutic tool in general.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Pumpkin Activities

Dry Erase Pumpkin Activity (I introduced this as a jack-o-lantern activity but they use it however they want...)

Felt Jack Tray 

My favorite: Pumpkins with Bling

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TP Roll Mummies

I've been seeing these all over the place but I was originally inspired by Dilly Dali's another cute one: Pumpkin Mummies from Hands On: As We Grow. The awesome thing is you can use glue but you don't have to (the gauze sticks to itself) so it can be a mess-free project. I also saw someone's post who used toilet paper...can't find it at the moment but it's a good alternative if you can't find gauze.

Projecting Halloween

Our overhead projector does not visit our classroom enough.  I wanted to include some aspect of light into our curriculum this week because of all of our Halloween talk.  Light vs. dark, day vs. night, and the whole idea of ghosts and ghouls.  Seemed appropriate.

These are all just laminated, roughly cut out pieces of jack-o-lantern faces and halloween shapes.  This was an engaging station for the children.

Linking up with:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Hey! We passed our 150th post! Since I tend to make a bigger deal than necessary about our blog milestones, I'll celebrate with a little reminiscing about past Halloween seasons...

Halloween 2010

 The Indoor Pumpkin Patch

Black sparkle paints on black bats

 Humongous coffee filter jack-o-lanterns

 Golf tees and pumpkins

 Discussions, in this case, what we're going to be for Halloween

 Ghosts and sequins

 A huge cardboard bat that hovered over our lunch tables in the patio for weeks!

 The maze (they've been asking for a maze since they heard the word Halloween)

 Halloween hats and simple props

 Pumpkin guts


 Orange playdough

 Orange paint

And, well, great facial expressions!

Halloween 2009
(notice how we like our traditions!)

 The day Br fell asleep with a pumpkin!
Part of our Halloween tradition has been just to have pumpkins laying around everywhere.

Halloween 2008 (Beansprouts' First Halloween!)

 Orange playdough

 Five Little Pumpkins felt set

 Pumpkin Potato Head
Our first maze!

Wrestling is good for children.

Originally published Sept 2010 Many of our parents seemed shocked when they came to pick up their children from Beansprouts and found the...