Starting a Natural Collection

NaturalMaterials

  Starting a collection of natural materials sounds easy enough. Take a walk, pick up a few things . . .  I figured I’d have a buckets of things in no time. I didn’t realize that 95% of the time the treasures the girls gathered were rocks. Rocks are great, they just did not make […]

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A Recipe for Sensory Play

adventure

We’ve had some warm days here in California. All other plans have been put on hold so that we can spend some time by the river.  Our only agenda was to have an adventure. Okay, and maybe enjoy some sensory play.   Natural things like water, mud, sand, and flowers in limitless amounts. Only hands, […]

Play is Enough

Play

A teacher friend that I just told about the blog shared with me that she knew what to do with preschool aged children, but was wondering if she was doing enough with her infant son.   It was such a touching moment in an otherwise rushed conversation. Z’s mama was essentially telling me that she […]

How Sensory Play is Different Than Art

SensoryPlayArt

When I think of sensory play and art, I don’t think of them interchangeably because each is so uniquely valuable. I guess that this distinction is not really an important one to make in most circumstances. I do think it is useful for adults to consider the two separately because the expectations of the two […]

The Nature of Great Toys

NatureColor

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn around here.  The triple-digit heat has gone, and in its place rain has showered our desperately dry yard.  Recently on an afternoon walk, we gathered up leaves along the way.  We passed over apples left to rot on the sidewalk, dry browned leaves, and stopped to inspect bark […]

Natural Materials Table

NaturalMaterialsTable

  I recently attended an educators workshop. The first lecture, titled “Creating Mathematics and Scientific Environments,” was outstanding and inspiring. After a brief lecture the teachers/presenters, Michele and Christina, invited us adults to play with a trove of materials that they had lugged up from their school in southern California.   They invited us to […]

Preserving Time for Children to Observe Their World

Observation

  Last week, we went on a hike with a few friends. While we were getting ready to start our walk, a couple of children played nearby, greeting each other and chatting. A friend offhandedly mentioned that her son ” . . .  is an observer”  after he declined an invitation to play with a […]

A Park Journal

Nature walk collecting

  At the beginning of summer, our county produced a pamphlet designed to get the public to visit all the parks, or at least some, in the area. Children are encouraged to photograph or draw something at each park and share it with the parks’ office.  I decided to use this invitation to more deeply […]

Autumn Toys

whitepumpkin

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.    – Oscar Wilde Children are drawn to nature. Whether its running through a pile of rakes leaves or splashing in a rain puddle, nature is undeniably irresistible. Despite this widely agreed upon phenomenon, many children’s spaces […]