Friday, May 24, 2013

When Inspiration Strikes...

Zilla is 5 years old
Mega is 2 years old
When the kids feel the inspiration to create I let them create. When the feel the inspiration to move I let them move. When the feel the inspiration to sing I let them sing.
However, sometimes it is not easy to encourage these things.

This evening I had a number of things which needed to get done but they both wanted my attention and help to follow two very different inspirations...

Mega wanted to be Hnady Manny, Zilla to be Mr. Lopart and me to be Kelly. She does make a pretty cute repair girl even though she is better at breaking things and making messes than fixing them and cleaning up!
Zilla had gym class at preschool today so he wanted to try to recreate what they did in class. If we had more space and a mat I wouldn't mind.
For someone who spent a few year spotting vault for gymnastics it was nearly painful to see his pitiful form but the joy he was oozing made up for it.
A stack of blocks made from milk cartons does not a horse make...
But with a bit of imagination and inspiration can make anything possible!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Favorite Zoo Books & Resources

This list is a work in progress...
I'll come back to add links later but need to get this up so I can get to the next post :-)
Here is a list of our favorite zoo related books:
Dear Zoo
Curious George Visits the Zoo
Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?
OldMacdonald Had A Farm
Down in the Jungle
Brown bear brown bear
Animal signs
All God's Critters
Reading books can be very interactive... especially when signing along!
Introductory Animal Research activity
Animal Tracks matching activity

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wiggles Inspired Cooking

Watching the Wiggles on a Saturday afternoon can be inspiring. The kids love to sing and dance along. They also take away various ideas. Recently Zilla was inspired to make some Fruit Salad. I didn't have much in the way of fruit salad fruits in the house but it still turned out well!
Here is a YouTube clip of the Wiggles Fruit Salad song.

Skip the Toy, Get Markers

Next time you take some kids out for fast food skip the kids meal and toy. Why? Because they are just as happy to play with the bag!
Add a marker to the mix and the possibilities are endless!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Work is Fun, Work as Play

One concept that is key to The Montessori approach to educating children is that the work of learning is enjoyable. It is enjoyable enough that children will choose to work in the same way they might choose to play. Even though I know this fundamental idea it still surprises me sometimes when my kids choose to do "homework"!
We have activity shelves set up and the kids each have a skills workbook to work on when they like. We try to do a page or two every couple of days but often once they get started they enjoy it so much they do 5-10 pages.
We also have some other workbooks - like cutting exercises - which they greatly enjoy. My enjoyment depends on the activity. Mega's cutting activities often make me nervous as she tries hard but her ability hasn't caught up yet!
Mega and Zilla are also easily inspired to create their own things. The recent art "boom" has been making books. Zilla created a very nice zoo book with drawings of various animals we saw on a recent visit. Mega's drawing skills still need to develop a bit to match the images in her mind but since her speaking/signing is pretty understandable she'll often as someone else to draw the things she is imagining :-)
Mega's body art in the first couple pictures is also a result of a recent artistic "inspiration" which struck while I was in a different room... Normally I can redirect the artistic moods into something a bit more constructive!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Backyard Beach

There is a show in Disney Channel called Phineas and Ferb.
When I first saw the show I couldn't get past the style of animation - it is not my preferred style.
Somehow, my kids got hooked on the show so I gave it a 2nd chance.

The basic story line of the show is that 2 brothers, Phineas and Ferb, try to find interesting ways to spend their summer vacation.  They have very active imaginations and are pretty intelligent so they have a number of adventures but each time they do something their sister, Candice, tries to catch them so she can tattle on them.

One thing the show has done is give my kids more inspiration for their play times.  They've also become fans of a few of the songs so we have them on the iPad to listen to.

Recently we had a few days at home (contagious sickness) when they felt good but we couldn't be around other people so when I let them out to play they were pretty bored as we don't have a yard and there is on so much you can do in our small "parking lot".

Then, inspiration struck.
If you look carefully you can see some palm trees drawn on the wall with chalk.  To the right of them is a sailboat and a sun.  On the ground we have an ocean tidal pool complete with starfish and other creatures.  With a bit of sand drawn on the kids decided they needed to all a blanket (which they are sitting on) and a picnic basket next to it.
Have you guessed what they created?
It's their very own Backyard Beach!

Since we'll have to wait a while before we can make it to a real beach this will have to do!