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Everyday Play with Four or Five Real Bandages

Everyday Play With Four or Five Real Bandages

BY SUKIE JACKSON

Every Day Play with Four or Five Real Bandages

The Housekeeping Area is the part of the classroom that Ruth Washburn teachers transform into grocery stores, flower shops, beauty salons, bike repair shops and pizzerias (among other places!) allowing children many options for role playing. A favorite set up among teachers and children is the pediatric hospital. With some minor adaptations, a parent could easily create a hospital (or doctor’s office) environment at home to offer children the opportunity for rich, imaginative pay. Our Ruth Washburn pediatric hospital has these props:

Bandages1

  • “Open” and “Closed” and other signs for the office (these can be made by children).
  • Clipboard with a checklist and blank paper for writing prescriptions.
  • X-rays taped on windows.
  • Doctor’s Kits with stethoscopes, aspirators and blood pressure gauges.
  • Real bandages and gauze. Children love to bandage dolls, stuffed animals, themselves, friends and willing adults.
  • Facial tissues, tape, scraps of fabric and bandanas are other materials that can be used for bandaging.
  • A couch, long pillow or sheet on the floor works too.
  • Health and Human Body Books. The 610 section of your library will have many non-fiction books from which to choose. Don’t miss Tedd Arnold’s three humorous books, Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts. Children seem to love these.

Bandages3 Thanks to the good imaginations of the children in the classroom, we improvise when it comes to props that we don’t have. Check out Haleyn’s makeshift crutches in the photo!

From my experience  every child has something to say about a time he or she was hurt or when he/she visited the doctor. The pretend pediatric hospital is the perfect setting in which a parent can talk to a child about doctor visits, injuries and/or the importance of good health. Bandages2

I’m all for simple.  While we have all many great props at our school for our pediatric hospital, all you need at home is a couch and four or five real bandages to inspire opportunities for role play.

Next time you are feeling exhausted, give your child four or five real bandages, lie down on the couch and tell your child that you need a doctor or a nurse! Let your child take care of you for a change. Well timed moans and groans and newly “hurting” body parts while acting as pretend patient can extend the play. If only you can keep from snoozing I’m pretty sure you are in for some fun!

 

Stay well. Sincerely,

Sukie Jackson, Older 4s teacher

Everyday Play With Boxes

Everyday Play With Boxes

BY SUKIE JACKSON

It’s Not A Cardboard Box.

Box1 Box2

It’s a….flying tent, an elevator, a book shelf, a doll’s bed,  a race car called “Thunderbolt,” a playhouse, a hospital, an airplane.

Box3 Box4

It’s a process to give a child a plain and simple cardboard box and offer him/her  the opportunity to use planning, imaginative, artistic and building skills to create his/her very own box project. The steps are simple for facilitating this activity.

  • Find an empty box, preferably one without writing and graphics leaving plenty of space for children’s decorations. A box big enough for the child to sit in is especially fun.
  • Brainstorm with your child some of the things the box could potentially become. By rotating the box into different positions you and your child can come up with a variety of possibilities. A jack-in-the-box, a vending machine, a pet’s cage, a cave, a table, a garbage truck and so on.
  • During this brainstorming session, show your child a variety of ways you can support this project.
    • An adult can cut a door, window, circle, coin slot, skylight, windshield or whatever might need cutting.
    • Fabric scraps can be supplied for possible use as carpeting, curtains, wallpaper, cushions, blankets, and more.
    • A supply of recycled items including plates, plastic lids, aluminum foil, colored paper and old CDs can be glued on as buttons, wheels, house siding , dashboards and other uses dreamed by a child.
    • Paint, markers, crayons and colored pencils can add details and “finishing touches” to  the box.
  • Give the child the box and support him/her with what he/she needs from you. Sometimes it’s as easy as cutting open a door or helping with glue. Children may want you want you to write a name or number on the box. I encourage children to do as much independently as they can.
  • Finally, enjoy watching a creative process at work. Your child will bring ideas and a plan to the project demonstrating his/her ability to think symbolically. And they will work to make their plan a reality.

“Tell me what you need,” “tell me about your plan,” and “tell me about your box” are perfect questions to support your child throughout the process.  Your children will enjoy reading the book It’s Not A Box, by Antoinette Portis before, during and after the process of making his/her own cardboard box project. Both the book and the activity are celebrations of children’s imaginations.

Not a Box

I’d love to hear about your child’s cardboard box creation.

Sincerely,

Sukie  Jackson  04 Teacher

Help Your Child to Wonder

Help Your Child to Wonder

BY SUKIE JACKSON

I have always loved an article written by environmentalist Rachel Wonder1 Carson entitled, “Help Your Child to Wonder” which tells about how Ms. Carson shared the beauty and mystery of life with her nephew.

“One stormy autumn night when my nephew Roger was about twenty months old, I wrapped him in blanket and carried him down to the beach in the rainy darkness. Out there, just at the edge of where-we-couldn’t-see, big waves were thundering in, dimly seen white shapes that boomed and shouted and threw great handfuls of froth at us. Together we laughed for pure joy….”

Wonder2 It was hardly a conventional way to entertain one so young, I suppose, but now with Roger a little past his fourth birthday, we are continuing that sharing of adventures in the world of nature that we began in his babyhood, and I think there results are good. That sharing includes nature in storm as well as calm, by night as well as day, and is based on having fun together rather than on teaching.”

The article inspired our family to take “night walks” each year in December (these are some of my children’s fondest memories from childhood) and make visits throughout the year to a shallow stream where bridge building, stick floating and river watercolor painting happened in a spontaneous way. Rachel Carson’s gift of a magnifying glass to her nephew broadened my thinking about age-appropriate gifts for children. Small tackle boxes for collecting natural treasures, folding shovels that invited digging projects, flashlights for indoor and outdoor exploration and  a simple pulley and rope set were gifts that encouraged involvement in the natural world.

I have also grown to appreciate that Rachel Carson based her adventures on “having fun together.” In this same article she writes “I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.” Wonder3
If you are wondering about outdoor education at Ruth Washburn, please join us  on January 21 at 6:00 PM in Minnow’s Room for a presentation and discussion about Outdoors 4s and 5s, a new class that will be offered in the fall. We would love to hear your thoughts about sharing the outdoors with young children.

Sincerely,

Sukie Jacksone, Older 4s teacher

Everyday Play with September-May Baskets

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Everyday Play with september-may baskets

by Sukie Jackson

One cold September morning my four-year-old daughter Kimi had nothing to do. Her older siblings were happily occupied and I was happily reading. “Mom, there’s nothing to do,” Kimi said more than once.

I now know from experience that some of the best activities and ideas can come out of a time when there is “nothing to do.”  This was one of those times. Kimi came up with the idea herself to make a May Day basket.

Her brother and sister thought this plan was hilarious due to the cold weather and the fact that it was September. That didn’t stop  Kimi from getting large piece of pink construction paper. I helped to make a cone shape for the basket. She cut a paper strip for a handle and pushed the stapler to connect it to the basket.

Kimi put on her jacket, I got mine and outside we went. Still wishing I was back inside reading, I couldn’t help but notice how how good the cold wind felt.  My daughter made me laugh seeing her outside with her pink May Day basket. I sat on the steps and watched as she picked dried mint, pine needles, some of the last crab apples, pine cones and oregano.

Back inside Kimi showed her basket to her brother and sister who complimented her on the colors and the good smelling mint. She proudly hung it on her bedroom door knob and we decided to call it a September-May Day basket.

I remember this day fondly. I felt grateful that my daughter reminded me of the wonder, beauty and excitement in my own life with the activity of making a September May Day basket with her.

I will be the first to admit that not every time Kimi was “bored” (how do they learn that word so young?) or with nothing to do resulted in such a creative, constructive activity. But many times it did. I was delighted to support her efforts to help herself with her bored, nothing-to-do state.

In our Ruth Washburn garden, so lovingly tended for by Cecelia and the Garden Committee, Ruth Washburn is the perfect place for children to enjoy the opportunity to explore and gather treasures making September-May Day baskets. Give it a try at home or in a local park and send us a picture of your version of a September May-Day basket!

Kate and Lio

Lio and his mom Kate in the RW Garden

Sincerely,

Sukie Jackson, Older 4s teacher

Note— Illustration by Karen Dugan from September-May Day Basket in Ladybug Magazine.