and Blocks and Building.
These are the most used toys on our playground. Every day the kids build something incredible with these blocks or just take a few and use their imagination in ways I would’ve never guessed like our friend pretending to snowboard above.
or this friend pretending to have “hiking sticks”. (B is also for Boulder, CO. where we are always doing something active).
B IS FOR THIS BLOGGER BEGGING YOU TO ADD BLOCKS, BLOCKS, AND MORE BLOCKS TO YOUR OUTDOOR SPACES!
When the kids were just starting to talk at 1 or 2 years of age, my co-teacher Nicole and I decided that one of their first phrases to learn should be “Cheers to Friday”. It’s really more than a phrase. It’s a happy, fun, life lesson. Today on the playground was a metaphorical Cheers to Friday…one of those days where all the kids were using all their social-emotional skills, playing so hard, and making me feel, once again, like I have the best job in the whole world.
A rare opportunity to build solo
Some great big body play
Upside down peek-a-boo never gets old
Close examination of the trees
Packed sandbox with no arguing
The perfect climbing tree
A supervisor’s perch
Watching the train go by
and always a leg to hold onto when you need it.
Chris has been on fire lately with the new products. Really simple, aesthetically enticing, and super fun stuff. What I love most about these new products is that they get kids physically working and using their muscles to create.
Here is a new mortar and wooden pestle that the kids went crazy for, mashing, dumping, mixing, and experimenting.
Here’s the catch though. As a teacher, you need to let them mix stuff! We are an organized, sometimes anal bunch us teachers. We like our caps on the markers, our paint colors and playdough separated. I am a freak about listing the kids in alphabetical order.
But they don’t learn anything unless they get to mix it all together and add more mud to it or change the color or dump more sand into it or pour more water. And then do it again. And then smash it all up with a big stick.
Let them mix it up!
The ratio between engaged children and good behavior = positive! Last week Kodo Chris brought in an awesome tube for us to experiment with….
A kids dream….blowing fan at one end, clear tube that could be angled in all different directions, and a pile of styrofoam peanuts.
We had a ball making a giant mess. Peanuts, scarves, leaves, you name it. It went in there.
But while Chris was snapping away with the camera and experimenting with the kiddos, I was reveling in the fact that we had eleven 3 and 4 year olds in a 4′ x 5′ foot square area and not one incident of screaming, pushing, hitting, or claims of turn-taking unfairness.
Do you notice how the more engaged they are, the less behavior issues you have? I try to remember that as I am thinking of activities or projects. If I spend my energy trying my best to keep their attention, and I mean REALLY keep their attention with something fun, I will spend proportionally less energy dealing with behavior issues.
So we discovered that the fan needed a screen of some sort to keep whatever you’re blowing out of the motor, that you really can’t have too much material to stick in there, and that you can involve a multitude of children in this activity with no fear of anything but happiness and complete engagement. A perfect ratio.