Jul 28, 2018

Wild Rumpus Update: The Trailer!!

Last year, we received grant funding that allowed us to purchase a trailer to store and haul Anji Play materials in.  This was a huge upgrade from the previous year when materials had to be loaded and unloaded twice each time we did the program (loading at the storage site/unloading at the park, then vice versa).  Now all we had to do was unload at the beginning of the program and pack it back into the trailer at the end of the event, then drive it to our parking spot and it was ready to go for the next program.  Hurrah!  But it was plain white and gave no indication of the fun stored inside.

This year, we received grant funding from the Madison Public Library Foundation that allowed us to install a beautiful new trailer wrap!  We wanted to incorporate kids' artwork into the design, so we left some blank spaces (the monster's thought bubbles) for the kids to design.  We're working through a few different iterations of the best way to attach this rotating art collection onto the sides of our aluminum trailer, but the kids are making some AMAZING art and they're so proud to see their art on the trailer.

 "These are monsters and the round things are rocks.  They eat the rocks"

"sliding on slides" (sorry, I can't remember whether this artist told me if these were monsters or people, but I just love those ladders and slides!)
 (second artwork iteration: clear contact paper! lesson learned: dry erase wipes off really easily, especially when you have to smooth the contact paper down to the trailer surface.  sigh.)
I'm so excited that my little 2" tall sketches have grown into these huge monsters that work surprisingly well for so many different types of printed media.  Awwww!

Jul 27, 2018

Wild Rumpus Update: Making Signs

You may have noticed in the previous blog post about forts that there were a few signs hanging around the edges.  I've been totally fascinated by the signs (and other examples of written words) kids have been creating at the Wild Rumpus this summer.  Since Writing is one of the 5 Early Literacy Practices of Every Child Ready to Read-- this pattern of play is especially exciting to me!  I added these whiteboards last year, inspired by the play-planning boards that the kids in China were incorporating into their play, but right away, the kids at my programs deemed them perfect for signage.  That pattern has continued this year.  Here are some of my favorite examples:

Check out that amazing vocabulary!  The inventive spelling!  The complex group discussions that clearly happened around creating the fort rules! The thoughtfulness around risk! The desire for a kid-driven space (stay out, adults!)!  These signs bring me a deep sense of joy because I see the complexity behind making them.

p.s. I made these whiteboards by cutting 2x6' panels of whiteboard into three equal pieces and then using a hole saw + a jigsaw to cut a handle from the top.  They were inexpensive to make and have held up very well.

Jul 26, 2018

Podcasts for Families: The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

I'm a little late posting this one, but... here's my hilarious interview with Jonathan Messinger of The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian.

We were so excited to welcome him to Madison for a live show on June 30th of this year.  85 people came to the Memorial Union to see him, some even wore costumes!  He did a live, choose-your-own-adventure Finn Caspian story, then everyone got a chance to come try out a voice effect on his microphone and take home a Finn Caspian button or sticker. 

Jul 25, 2018

Wild Rumpus Update: Building Forts

One of the things we look for in Anji Play is patterns, so this is the first of a few blog posts about some patterns of play that I've noticed this summer.  Almost every Wild Rumpus that we've held this summer has some form of fort building (or house or club or similar).  Here's some examples of the wide variety that kids have created:

 There have also been some amazing play stories drawn (and written) about these forts.  Here are a few examples:

Why do kids build forts and other special places?  What are the benefits of building forts?  Here's a short blog post about it.  What about you?  Did you build forts when you were a child?  Leave a comment below -- I'd love to hear about it!

Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC; more resources at BlogXpertise