Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taking It Over The Top

A week ago, I shared with you about how we converted our "cookie tree" into a holiday tree using decorations made from CDs and unfurled cassette tapes, but in the spirit of preschool, and indeed the spirit of the season, that was a lily, apparently, that simply could not be left un-gilded.

Early last week, some of the kids were sporting the Mardi Gras beads from our costume collection and, quite naturally, they wound up on the tree along with more cassette tape (it's fun pulling those things apart).


As you may recall if you've been reading here regularly, I'd been disappointed in my original tree decorating plans by the sudden and unexpected turn of the weather. I'd braved the elements to string up holiday lights under our portable canopy, with the idea being that we were going to lower the whole thing down to a super cozy, rain and wind protected level, but the advent of glorious sunshine thwarted those plans. As the sun stubbornly hung around last week, however, I just lowered the damn thing anyway, moving the now be-beaded tree onto a platform near the sandpit to make room for another project inspired by Jenny from Let The Children Play.

This time, we were going to try making a woven "wall" from a scrap of mesh fencing and "ribbon," which the kids made from fabric by tearing it themselves. An adult uses scissors to start the tear, then holds one end while the kids get to hear and feel the satisfying sensation of pulling off a long, straight strip of fabric. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

The lowered canopy was as cozy as I'd hoped and was a perfect venue for making a ribbon wall.

I'd expected the whole ripping fabric concept to draw in both girls and boys, but it mostly appealed to our 3-year-old girls, who stayed engaged for the better part of an hour.

There is nothing more gratifying to me than the sight of young children cooperating creatively, especially when it's a full body, outdoor project.

Most of the boys stayed on the outside in their pirate ship, occasionally peering in threateningly. At one point they got the idea of "stealing" the ribbon, but the girls quickly put an end to that, forcefully reminding them of our rule "no stealing," even if you're a pirate. "But that's what pirates do!" "Not in preschool!"

Meanwhile, there was an "ornament making" project supposedly going on at the workbench that involved what I thought would be the exciting novelty of cutting metal, but there were few takers and the tree stood mostly neglected.

Although when I looked more closely I was pleased to see that a few of the hand made ribbons had made it over there. The next time I checked, she looked like this:

And by close of business last week, she stood like this:

Having finally taken it over the top in true Woodland Park style, it was time to break for the holidays leaving our friend to stand alone in the wind and rain that finally returned on Saturday.

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Juliet Robertson said...

I like the idea of fixing the mesh to the canopy. After your comments on my blog I was about to suggest to you that you hang nets or mesh along your wall with decorations and creative happenings - that way you wouldn't infringe your landlord's request for keeping an unblemished white wall but would add interest.

Another slightly more wacky idea is to put wooden trellis or lattice work on wheeled platforms that can be moved about the outdoor play area as screening but could live up against a white wall to be used as additional open-ended vertical space.

Scott said...

Nice. Over the top seems to be the preschool way.

Sherry and Donna said...

You guys always have such fun and I'd be a little disappointed if you didn't finish the year off without a bit of 'over the top' Tom. BTW "She" looks great!
Donna :) :)

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