Jan 17, 2017

Anji Play Date: the first one!

Indoor, self-determined play is surprisingly engaging!

Today was the first day of the new AnjiPlayDate program.  This is the same program I did a trial run of in December under the name Winter Wild Rumpus, but I thought I'd try this new name since more people around town seem to have heard of Anji Play now.  Interestingly, most of the people who attended today did NOT come to the Winter Wild Rumpuses and (also interestingly) the ages seemed to skew a little older than the kids who had attended the Winter Wild Rumpuses.  Granted, both of those facts may be due to the terrible "wintry mix" weather we were experiencing today, but I'll be curious to see who attends next week!

The one "big" change I made to the set-up was that instead of putting out rocks + water, I put out clay (plastilina) with some smaller wooden blocks (cylinders, triangles and wedges), some PVC pipes (short, 3" diameter) and some popsicle sticks.  The clay was very firm and not easy to work with, but the kids seemed to really love the challenge working with it (this is a form of "heavy work" and is awesome for kids' development, both physical and emotional).

 This young person was using his popsicle sticks like tweezers to pinch pieces of clay off the block.
 This player made a hammer and was rhythmically whacking the table over and over.
Anji Play Date, Jan 2017  
Stacks were satisfying to build because they blocks of clay were so heavy but they were also slightly lopsided and also a little bit sticky, all of which lead to interesting stacking potential.

Anji Play Date, Jan 2017
I think this was supposed to be a dumbbell?

Because a few homeschool kids attended who were a little on the older side (hooray!) we saw some really intricate building projects going on in the block area:

 (notice the step spool right outside the wall for ease of entry)

And I'm loving the board-across-two-spools action going on here!
More fun with spools (note the different ways different aged kids interact with this open-ended toy):
Anji Play Date, Jan 2017  
Stacking on top of the top:
 and swimming in scarves.
 Many parents were impressed that their kids were fully engaged for the full length of the program and many stayed through until the end.

One more minor change I made (from the Winter Wild Rumpus) was that instead of the single page for play stories, I brought back the mini-notebook format from the summer's Wild Rumpus program.  Each kid who comes in writes their name on the front of a notebook, then hangs the notebook on a clothesline along one of the walls.  At the end of class, they found their notebook and drew their "play story" or a picture of their play that day.

Jan 3, 2017

A Winter Wild Rumpus: Week 3

A final week of this pilot program!

I added a few new items this week.  First, smaller spray bottles for water!  This sprayer mechanism is much more challenging for small hands, so the kids tried lots of ways to work around the challenge (again, VERY engaged for the entire session!).  The favorite method?  Just unscrew the top, silly.

 Of course, that led to lots more water puddles on the table.  I appreciated this young person's ingenuity as he refilled his bottle from the drips coming off the edge of the table.
 And clean-up was fun too!
I also added two Gonge Tops.  The older kids (and parents, sigh) played with them more than the younger children this week.

 But the boxes that the tops came in?  Those were (of course) GOLD!
This young person was leading this spool around like a pet on a leash.
 This spool was great for wrapping tulle around
 And hanging two spools from the ends of a bungee cord worked well too!
 There was some nice balancing action going on with blocks this week:

 And, of course, a few play stories.

Next week, we start back in with this same program (more or less) but a new name: AnjiPlayDate!

Dec 15, 2016

WonderWorks on the Road: Ramps

A very portable, take-along project, perfect for preschoolers!

Today's Topic: Ramps
cove molding (See details here)
blocks (from the classroom's own collection)


cover art Two little chicks / Gorbachev, Valeri
(older version of this book are titled "Chicken Chickens")

Dec 14, 2016

Winter Wild Rumpus, Week 2

What changes and new adventures did we see in week 2 of the Winter Wild Rumpus?  Read on!

Almost immediately, as soon as we were done with the opening activities, the same child who put a pool on top of the carts last week to make a "house" went to try it again.  Unfortunately, we'd placed the carts a little wider than last time and the pool didn't span the gap. Instead, she propped the pool up on the side of the carts to make a "lean-to" kitchen, then she developed a new plan for the roof:

 Bedsheet + clamps!  Plus, check out the "hardwood floor" she laid this week, complete with a carefully crafted front edge that lines up despite offset planks!
A tour of the inside reveals curtains (with extra fancy tulle swoops at the top) that provide "privacy" for the "bedroom" (bottom shelf of the cart).
More play after the jump!

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