Jun 29, 2016

Wild Rumpus: Week 3

This week, we saw a jump in attendance from about 80 people to about 130 people, woot!  So exciting to see so many new families coming out to the park to play! 

The only "new" element that I added to the play this week was an invitation to explore the wooded area along one edge of the park.  There's a creek within this woods (often dry, but it had some standing water this week!) and it's cool and shady and all of the kids who ventured in wanted to stay a looooong time. (way more photos and details after the jump!)


There was this little girl whose grandmother gave her permission to remove her shoes and socks and roll up her leggings to get into the water (yay!).

 "The mud is squishy!"
 These stepping stones made a perfectly challenging "bridge" across the water.
 "Look!  There's a water worm!"
 "I'm going into deeper water!"
 This little guy was struggling to get past this branch. He asked me several times for help, but I asked him what he might be able to do differently to get past this obstacle.
 He put his finger on his chin to think about it.
 And finally, after much deliberation, he chose to go UNDER the branch.  Excellent solution!
 Later, he figured out on his own that going down a steep, muddy embankment might be easier if he went down feet first, facing forward.
 Even babies can have fun at the Rumpus!
 The parallel ropes were a big hit again.  I love that the picnic table bench became the waiting line location!
And some entrepreneurs decided to try making their own tightrope:

 
 There was a little bit of building going on (at least one boy had been here for week 1 and wanted to re-create something he had seen that week).

 They're creating a "domino run" of towers of boxes
 And knocking down the towers with other boxes:
 And check out this sweet car!
And yes, there was still lots of paint!

 "Mustard and ketchup macaroni!"  I think it was this same kiddo who later rolled this wet painted tube up and down his belly shouting "tie-dye shirt!"
The volleyball net-based fort made another appearance:
 but the tulle was also pressed into use in another way!
"These are my wings!"
Even clean-up time was fun:
 These three friends worked together:
 "Bulldozer! Bulldozer!"
 The bouncy balls kept rolling off of the cart and so I casually challenged the girls "What could you do to help them stay on the cart?" They took my question quite seriously and after much inventive discussion, this was their final solution.  It worked GREAT!
This week, we decided to try something new with the Play Stories and we recorded a few kids telling us their story after they had drawn it.  Here's one story:
and here's the illustrated Play Story that goes along with their adventure:



We also asked parents to write down some observations as they watched their child play.  The questions were provided by AnjiPlay.  Here are the questions, followed by a few sample responses:

1. What materials do you notice your child playing with?
Balls, boxes, forest, paint, mud, sticks

2.  Why do you believe they are attracted to those particular materials?
-- These are interesting materials that we might not have at home.
--he saw some friends playing with the ... materials
--they love the outdoors and doing things with their hands that are messy
--they are free to explore. Every kid loves color and freedom to do whatever they like.

3. In what ways do you notice your child being inventive and/or solving problems?
--he climbed through the forest with very little help
-- he used a stick to get up a hill that is slippery
-- throwing boxes in an attempt to stack higher
--turning boxes into dominoes
--Unfortunately, as long as there is mom, my son does not like to solve problems on his own.

4. In what ways is your child playing.... 
...independently?
--getting their own materials, add their own touches to the fort
--figuring out what materials are there and how they function or are used
--imagining, make-believe

....in collaboration with other children?
--helping each other hold pieces to attach them, handing supplies to each other
--building cardboard box city
--creating a second tight-rope element

5. Are there differences you notice between how your child is playing today versus how he or she typically interacts with materials and/or other children?  Similarities?
--[his play is] typical, but a little more extreme because of the access to the messy stuff! Lots of fun!
--Doesnt' usually like  to get messy, but tolerated the messiness better today.  He repeated what he played and saw last time.

A HUGE thanks to all of the parents who took the time to fill out these observation pages and who smiled bravely as their children became covered in paint, mud and huge smiles.  Another huge thank you to UW Professor, Rebekah Willett who had the brilliant idea to collect play stories via video.  Can't wait to see where the Rumpus goes next week!

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