Jul 26, 2017

Wild Rumpus: Week 5, in which I think about abundance and scarcity.

Finally some great weather and an incredible turnout (185 people)!  And with a large group, comes.... waiting lines. (Check out the kid lying on the ground at the end.  It's so hard to WAIT!) This is hard for me to watch because I  know that one of the central concepts of AnjiPlay is "plenty" or even "abundance" so that a limitation in equipment never gets in the way of play and is less likely to cause conflict between kids fighting over a scarcity of equipment.  That being said, the kids this week did an incredible job of doing their own line management and taking turns and that was impressive to watch.
 Or sometimes, they just all piled up the ladder at the same time.
(continue reading after the jump)

Jul 19, 2017

A Wild Rumpus, week 4: Wet sand is the BEST!

It may not have rained during the program, but whoooooeeee was it WET!  But do you know what?  That means there's tons of water and you know what's fun?  WATER!  You can dip plenty of water out of puddles:

 And water plus SAND? Possibly one of the best combinations ever.

 I didn't quite catch it on film, but this young person had just been asking his dad to help him dig this trench and when dad suggested instead that he try to figure out how to dig the trench himself, he poured water on it from this watering can and... bingo!  The level of the sand lowered!
Of course, there was still lots of "cooking and baking" going on as well:

and some kids got really into the water.
 REALLY into the water!

Outside of the sandbox, we saw:
Some excellent balancing action--

 An infinity-loop tunnel--
 Some tree climbing (can you see the person way up there?)--
 and some deep engagement with creating play stories.  Check out that tongue!
Here are some of the fantastic play stories from this week:

Jul 12, 2017

Wild Rumpus, Week 3: More rain?

Normally, I try to avoid talking too much about the weather because honestly, it's not very interesting conversation usually, BUT... weather is a HUGE factor in this program, not only in how the play unfolds, but also in attendance.  This week, the weather was gorgeous all day long until right about the time we pulled up to the park with all the materials.  Then, these dark clouds rolled in and by the time we were unpacked, it looked like this:
It was too late to change location plans and the forecast said it would clear up, so we decided to stick it out.  (spoiler alert: we ended up with slightly more people this week than last week at the Lussier Center but not a huge increase.)

The first kiddo to show up was delighted that we were okay with him getting wet in the rain.  He stood for quite awhile below a strong drip off of the eaves of the pavilion putting his hand in the stream of water -- sometimes with sand on his hand, sometimes without.

The water below splashed into a plastic tub and he enjoyed playing with that too.

The "zipline" was built again this week, along with the ticket booth and ticketing system and signage.

 (see that black velcro strip?  That's the ticket.)
 Here the zipline is being demonstrated.
I introduced some wooden frames I built with the help of my dad over the holiday weekend into the sandbox.

Watch this video to find out how Thomas the Tank Engine makes an appearance in this imaginative play.

This young sand sculptor worked on getting the sand to stay in columns like the one on the right over and over and over. Such patience!  Such persistence!
This young builder liked building tall skinny columns and then when he decided to get rid of one to build something different he'd knock down the first one to get it out of his way, not seeming to mind the loud, startling noise or the bother of re-building.
And check out this great "racetrack" (also an excellent vocabulary word)


Lots of great writing and drawing happening on the white boards this week!
 (this one is a picture of lilypads, according to the artist)
 Aaaaaand on hands.
 Aaaaaaaaaand on super cute faces....
We did have a rather small turnout at the park today, but the families who came seemed to be having a good time.  Here's hoping that next week's weather will (SURELY!) be better?

Here's the East Side Rumpus Report from week 3.

Jul 10, 2017

Wild Rumpus, week 2: In which the forecast is .... somewhat misleading. Or is it?

The forecast this morning said 70-80% chance of thunderstorms all afternoon and evening and I was so relieved to have such a clear-cut choice!  I noted on the library's online calendar that we'd be meeting at our rain location and put up signs in the park to reflect that location choice as well.  Then, 4:00 rolled around and the sky looked like this (see above). Sigh.

Nevertheless, we had a chance to try out our indoor space -- the gym at the nearby Lussier Community Center where we'll also be hosting our fall indoor AnjiPlayDate programs -- and we learned that there's actually very easy access to an amazing large lawn space, so, weather permitting, we can always spill outside if we need to!  Hooray!

The crowds were smaller today, but we saw a number of new families, so that was great!  Here's some pictures from the play:

Love this elaborate structure!

These tubes and sheets were the basis of the coziest most comfy hideout ever, apparently.  This little one stayed inside this structure for at least 10-15 minutes, usually with the sheet completely covering her head.  

This little guy found lots of fun things to do with the tubes -- drumming on them... 

using them to break his fall.....

and peeking through to say hello to Jane!

This tiny fort has some impressive engineering going on with long blocks balanced on their smallest ends:

we were informed that the stack of white tubes on the top was the "smokestack" -- not the chimney, a smokestack. What an excellent and rare piece of vocabulary!  

These girls started off with just pushing each other on the giant spools,  

but they later upgraded by adding a rope to pull instead.  They tried a few different ways of attaching the rope:
1. to the spool.

2. to the rider.

We also did some play outdoors since the weather was still nice for the first 2/3rds of our time there:
To help bring these innertubes in quickly in case of inclement weather, Jane had loosely strung them, like beads on a necklace, on a piece of purple tulle.  When this kiddo found that, she knew just what to do!  She pulled them around the yard for quite some time!

The yard just outside of the Lussier Center gym has a lovely sloping grassy ditch that is just perfect for rolling things.

One very observant 8 year old looked at the materials we'd brought outside and asked, "Why is everything round?" I looked around and realized that he was absolutely right!  Everything we'd brought outside WAS round!  I asked him why he thought everything was round and he chose to ponder his response in silence.  Perhaps he thought my question was rhetorical?

The hill provided some excellent opportunities for "heavy work" such as pushing these wooden spools up the slope:

and then letting it roll quite satisfyingly back down the hill again!


Here's a little peek at our current poll-taking system.  Each day, when people arrive at the Wild Rumpus, everyone gets a painted clothespin.  They are asked to pin it somewhere conspicuous so that they'll remember at the END of the program, to take it off and drop it in a box marked "yes" or the box marked "no" to answer the question of the week.  Kids also get a question and two yes/no boxes to drop their clothespins into.  This is not only a quick and painless way to get some feedback about the program's outcomes, it's also is a great way to tally attendance each week!

 By the end of this week's program, the sky had turned to this (with an accompanying tornado watch) and buckets of rain fell, so I felt much better about the decision to go inside despite the fact that our attendance numbers were so low.  We did see some new faces as people discovered us as they stopped in at the Lussier Commuity Center.

Let's hope next week has better weather!

Here's the East Side Rumpus Report for week 2.

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