Friday, November 16, 2018

Stone Soup, Pumpkin Bread and Sharing

We just celebrated Grandparents day and it was a huge success.  Let me tell you a little about the food the children made for the occasion. 
First, I joined the class at circle time to tell a story about a hidden forest where animals don't talk to each other, nor play together, nor really know one another at all.  An insightful dragonfly who happened upon this lonely wood had the brilliant idea of making stone soup.  He brought out a large pot with a flourish and he placed a stone and some water inside before placing it over a flame to cook.  Soon one indignant animal after another stepped out from their hiding places in the woods to say that stones and water weren't sufficient ingredients to make a soup and so they each added a new ingredient to the pot.  When they were done they had a delicious soup filled with shared ingredients.  
A great little reminder about the power of sharing.  Inspired by the story we decided to make stone soup for our grandparents.  I brought the stones and the pot and asked each child to choose a vegetable on their way into studio.  The children did their part washing and cutting every vegetable that became the soup.
Stone Soup
Cut up some garlic, onions, carrots, celery, snow peas and tomatoes.  Add to a pot with one stone (optional).  Add a bag of split peas.  Cover with water and cook in a crockpot on low overnight.  The next morning stir in salt and pepper to taste and some cumin.
Serve and Enjoy.
BJ joined the children and made The Best Pumpkin Loaf Ever (Gluten Free and Better than Starbucks).  Here's the recipe:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
11/2 cup gluten free flour (we used Pamelas)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking power
1/2 t. cinnamom
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. each of nutmeg, all spic and pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350... Line 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Beat together eggs, sugars and vanilla.
Add pumpkin, oil and beat some more.
Add dry ingredients.  Stir.
Spoon batter into lined pan.  Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
 And the children were so proud to share thier Yummy creations with grandparents and friends.
It was a lovely and festive occasion.

What is a line?

 Coco gave a wonderful circle-time lesson on LINE.  Of course a line is an recognizable path created by a point moving in space which can define or imply the edges of a form.  Lines come in a variety of styles, including: horizontal, wavy, vertical, diagonal, straight, curved, thick or thin.  But all of that can seem a little abstract.  Coco made the idea concrete in a fun filled activity with the children.

 First the children identified some lines in their environment.
Next, She handed out some strips of ribbon for the children to practice making different kinds of lines on their own and with their friends... vertical, horizontal and diagonal.
 Then Coco had them practice making lines with their bodies, standing up and laying down.
All of this was done in support of some work to be placed on the shelf that will extend our shared vocabulary of line and it's use in art, writing, constructing and more.
Isn't learning fun?!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Your weekly studio blink

What is play?

When people find out what I do in the studio, they often share a longing to experience more fun in their lives. When I ask them what this fun might look like they stare blankly at me for a few moments before admitting that they don't really know.  
I struggle with this problem myself.  
To the child play comes easily but for the adult it can be a bit of a conundrum.  
How do we make time for it?  What does play look like as a grown up?  How might we cultivate a sense of fun in our daily lives and experience all the heart-healthy, brain benefits of joy?  
Who better to ask than our resident play experts, the children?  So of course I asked.
Here is a transcription of our conversation:

Maisie             Play means to have fun.  I don’t know how to describe it.  I like to play animals, pretending like I’m an animal.  You can play with a friend if they want to play with you.

Garet               Play means…hmmm....its really, really hard to explain.  I wouldn’t explain it.  It’s something you have to show.  You can use toys when you play…

Maisie             …or  you can run around like we do at school.  But it’s only play when you are having fun.

Bennett          Play is like digging, running around, playing cheetah and other games.  I don’t know.  Play isn’t something you talk about.  It’s something you do.

Virginia           Yea and play can be a kind of show.

Addison          Well you can run around and climb.

Nora                 Yeah, you can play with friends or things.  I can’t tell you what play is.

Sonja               Grown ups are so old, maybe they just forget how to play.

Maisie             My mom and dad still know how to play because they have kids.  They forgot how to play, all grown ups forget how to play until they have a kid.   Kids help grown ups remember how to play.   

Angelina         Can kids teach everyone how to play?

Maisie             Kids can’t teach everyone how to play, just ones that are listening.

Luca                Play means FUN!  Working is inside and playing is outside.

Angelina         Do you ever play inside?  Like in the studio?

Maisie, Bennett, Sonja and Garet     Yes!

Maisie             You can play inside.  I do it all the time.

Luca                Yea I said so too.

Addison          But we are XP’ers and that means we do WORK.

Angelina         What is work?

Addison          Work has to be serious!  Play is fun.

Angelina         Can work ever be fun?

Addison, Luca, Maisie, Sonja and Garet         No!

That's a lot for each of us to consider.  Can work be fun?  Can play be work and work be play?  Do we value play as individuals?  As a culture?  Do we dismiss its importance?  Do we need play as adults as much as we needed it as children?