A couple weeks ago I asked for help in figuring out what to do with these belts.
More specifically, what to do with 200+ of these vinyl-ly, child-sized belts. I promised to keep you updated on how they were used.
Amyahola, proprietor of the terrific blog Child Central Station, suggested weaving them into a mat.
On the Wednesday after that post, I tossed a couple bundles of belts into our construction area, mostly as a reminder to try things out if I had the chance. Both B.J. and Thomas asked the exact same question, "Why are these belts here?" When I answered, "To play with," they both tugged a belt from the bundle and walked around the beach shack, hanging them or balancing them from various protruding parts, but ultimately giving them up for things that looked like more fun.
At the same time, I'm having trouble getting the kids interested in sanding. We even made our own sanding blocks using a staple gun (a tool, I now know, that really ought not be used by young children) Still, danger and all, it didn't motivate much more than a couple sanding swipes before more exciting things called.
Ella's mom Jaimee was the adult in charge of my most recent effort to interest the kids in sanding. I tried providing mineral oil to stain their sanded wood. This is not much fun as it turns out, which left Jaimee with time on her hands to create this addition to the structure the kids refer to as "the castle."
There is a lot of potential here. I'm looking at this as a prototype for larger things.
(In case you were wondering, my next step in the sanding effort is to bring in my vibrating "mouse" hand sander. I know they'll like using that.)
Amy Woidtke, a brilliant interior decorator and owner of EcoKind Design suggested looping them together into a chain.
That, translated into a preschool classroom, is a chain ladder, right? Wrong. It's a rope swing.
I have to say that I'm blown away by how they were looking
out for each other's safety when there was no obvious adult
around to "protect" them. Those hands are ready to help.
This daredevil awaits her turn. In a multi-aged classroom the older
kids teach the younger ones about things like taking turns.
One very important lesson we learned is that the belts break if you try swinging two at once. I don't know if I'm more pleased that they learned this lesson or that they managed the cooperation necessary to both get their full weight on it at once. I'm thinking it might be fun to loop a whole bunch together to make a "mat" of hoops to hang on a wall for the kids to climb on -- one at a time, naturally.
The third use we've found for the belts so far is an invention of our own. The belt in the picture is a key component in a "trap."
Tune in tomorrow for a tutorial on building traps.