Girls Build, Boys Draw

Here at Acorn, we pride ourselves on our encouragement of gender neutral skill building. Because we create environments that inspire independent, curiosity-building play, our girls create tall towers and play with airplanes and our boys draw pictures and love to paint.

As the parent of two girls myself, I’m not sure which makes me happier….

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When I see a girl making a model of the planet Saturn or

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one of my most rambunctious boys contentedly drawing for almost an hour. But I actually know the answer to that already – it’s the fact that all the kids, no matter what their gender, are engaged, content, challenged, inspired, and learning.

photo 1Girls in Rapunzel hats building cool towers =DisneyIrony:)

Mad Scientists:)

As many of you know, over the last 3 years we have forged an amazing partnership with KodoKids, a local toy company that makes fantastic, open-ended, inspiring, scientific, and creative toys. They come by and test their ideas and we reap all the benefits in my opinion:) But in this video, what really blew me away, was not only the cool products, but also how intelligent, imaginative, and experimental our students are at the Acorn School. Take a few minutes to watch the video and I think you’ll see that The Acorn School and it’s use of The Creative Curriculum’s play-based learning style are producing some pretty amazing children!!

Loose, Movable Parts

We have a ton of rocks on our playground. Just big enough to be heavy and solid. Just small enough for 4 and 5 year olds to pick up and build with. We love them. Polaroid

We love them because they make great habitats for dinosaurs….


MLS trophy stands……


Campfire pits….


and road blocks.

These rocks require some strong muscles and the kids work tirelessly carrying them and piling them up. It’s great exercise and inspires lots of teamwork. We love all that too.

B is for Beg

and Blocks and Building.


and Boarding.


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).



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.

Ask Santa

Chris and I have so many pictures from our last post that it makes me want to stress again how important it is to have enough materials for your kids to use. On our playground right now, we do NOT have a lot of different materials to use….BUT what we do have, we have TONS of. Look closely at these pictures and you’ll notice enough metal cans for filling and pouring, enough half pipes to make a super long water transporter, and enough wooden pieces to make extra-long tunnels.  All the kids that wanted to contribute to that construction were able to, no one had to fight or negotiate for a turn, and those spontaneous, amazing moments where everyone is completely engaged are absolutely priceless.



So ask Santa for more stuff!!!