Friday, March 26, 2010

We'll Just Have To Do It Again

A while back Sherry and Donna over at Irresistible Ideas For Play Based Learning posted about the miniature wooden house blocks they made from scraps of wood.

I found out about it from Jenny at Let The Children Play who took the idea, but added her own twist by letting the kids do (most) of the painting themselves.

I figured it was Woodland Park's turn to evolve our own version of the concept this week.

As you can see, I didn't wait to find or cut the wedge shapes that my Australian "sisters" used (what are they building down there anyway to come up with those specific scrap shapes?). Instead I pulled out one of our many boxes of (American?) rectangular scraps of plywood, a box of wooden bits and pieces, and a box of picture frame corners.

Every preschool should have a good relationship with local framing shops. Not only will they usually give you their scrap mat board, which is great for collage projects, but they periodically have to throw out their wall of frame samples to make room for the new models. These even have spots of velcro on the back so that they hold their position when placed on the rug.

We've had a sort of free-form painting station set up adjacent to our block area all week (where we are also adding to our mushroom collection) and the kids were encouraged to paint the "new blocks" any way they want. As you might guess, we have many, many more painted blocks by now than I'm showing in this picture.

After Jenny's blocks were finished, she then reported that "Pretty much anything that didn't move was painted." Now we were doing our painting indoors and while I strive to keep up with Jenny in her efforts to keep things child-centered, I couldn't just turn them loose on the classroom, so we took the paint cups outdoors.

Before long I spotted a gang of kids at the far end of the playground, gathered around the "horse stable" we built yesterday.

I've learned to not be surprised when Dennis' dad Terry
is in the middle of this kind of action.

First they had augmented the stable structurally, then took the concept of painting their own blocks (just as I had from Jenny and she had from Sherry and Donna) and were applying it in their own way:

Finn V. wanted to make sure I got pictures of his
number 10's

Then they took the idea a step beyond, painting "pretty much anything that didn't move."

If you can't tell from the photo, we now have "glitter" stairs . . .

. . . and a glitter table.

We're just using tempera paint and it rained pretty hard yesterday evening. I suspect we'll just have to do it again!

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Scott said...

Wow! I love the horse stable. And your painted blocks were pretty terrific, too.

Now where can I lay my hands on some scrap wood....

Deborah Stewart said...

You always just amaze me - and so do your students!

Play for Life said...

hee heee hee ... this is so cool ... and that is one funky looking rocking horse you have there!

Hmmm? Could this be a new challenge to rival the '"tape off's" we've been reading about on this blog and Jennys?

But seriously Tom it's so good to see that little Aussie children and little American children are all the same, that is, children who thrive on fun and learn best through play!!

Thanks again for sharing.

jenny said...

I can't tell you how much I'm loving this Tom! Your story had me lol-ing. When I read that bit about not painting anything that moved I thought to myself "ha, you just wait!" and then came the photos of the stairs and the table and the rest :)

And I have no idea what we are doing with our wood. Maybe our carpenters just can't cut straight!

A Magical Childhood said...

Is it just me, or did anyone else think that one kid was totally painting a code in binary? ;)

I loved this post and wrote about it...

Thanks for being such a wonderful source of smiles, ideas, and child-friendly goodness. :)


Eternal Lizdom said...

What a cool project!!

Teacher Tom said...

@Alicia . . . Actually yes, Terry pointed that it was binary code, so it's not just you. A secret message for the aliens to decode?

pamela Wallberg said...

I am in awe of the creative "permission" you allow - I wish more people would do this!

You posted about coffee in the sand table a long time would be cool to "paint" with coffee grounds on some wood and then see, when it rains, how the "henna like" stains remain...

what happened when it rained? were the kids happy? sad? didn't notice?

Molly Stewart said...

Teacher Tom, This is amazing.