Loose Parts Play – Baskets of Fun

When children play with toys that self-define what they are… cars, castles, dolls, barns, … play is often limited to the boundaries of those objects.  Cars do what cars do.  Dolls do what dolls do.  But when children are exposed to lots of loose parts that can only really be defined by imagination, the boundaries of their play expands.  I only wish you could have heard the dialogue that went with this particular play moment.  The ingredients of the moment are all pictured.  The invitation to play is at the top.  It is followed by the ingredients of play.  It ends with one picture of play in progress.  Here’s a fairly succinct link to information about loose part play theory from Surrey County in England. HERE

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Horror vacui – Valentines 2014

On Sunday, February 9th we gathered up all of our art supplies and arranged them on the dining room table.  Aerie came with Juniper, Annie brought over Boone, Julie came with Bailey.  Ruby worked incessantly on one single valentine while everybody else worked on many.  Aerie reminded us of a term in art – horror vacui – an artistic style where all empty space is filled.  Here is Ruby’s horro vacui valentine.  She gave it to Juniper.

Horror Vacui Valentine - 2014

Puppet Prom 2014

I just love Squallis Puppeteers as an organization.  Love what they do.  Love how they do it. Love the community of folk that make it happen.  I had the great pleasure of serving on their board some years ago when the annual fund raising event was the Fools Day Bash on or around April 1.  Now it’s Puppet Prom.  I like the prom theme just as much.  We’ve been going to this for years now.  Ruby had a ball.  Erin said she was like a Will-O-The-Wisp. I thought it such a good term.  Here’s a few pictures taken in the photo booth at this years puppet prom.  I especially like the series of shots that Bailey and Ruby took together.  It would have been a hoot to have been in the booth with them. But then this wouldn’t have happened.  You can find out more about Squallis Puppeteers by clicking HERE.

Puppet Prom 2014 Ruby-Bailey 1 Puppet Prom 2014 Cl-Er-Ru

Cause I Can Eat Slowly

The other morning I was having breakfast with my five-year old when she said “I can’t wait for the weekend.” It was a Monday. I asked her what she especially liked about weekends. She thought things over for about half a minute while she was eating her oatmeal. Her response…”Cause on weekends I can eat lunch slowly.” I think, ultimately, that we are doing our children a disservice by over scheduling and tightly cramming their days with “time on task.” What is our ultimate goal with children? This kind of industrialized education will kill us. I agree with you my daughter…let’s eat slowly today.Ruby - Eat slowly

Birthday Cakes and July Portraits

Below are images of Ruby’s third, fourth and fifth birthday cakes. All of them homemade from scratch by Erin and decorated by Claude. It has become a “thing” for Erin and me to get totally into the process of a) chatting with Ruby before her birthday to see what kind of cake she wants, b) scheming about how we might accomplish her wishes, c) baking the cake – Erin is the point person on that, and d) decorating the cake – I’m the point person on that. We make a good team and we can’t wait to see what challenge she comes up with for her sixth birthday.  Here’s a collection of photos of her third, fourth and fifth birthday cakes followed by a July portrait of Ruby.  She wasn’t much into making cake decisions when she was one and two.

Ruby's third birthday cake - complete with caterpillar poop

Ruby’s third birthday cake – complete with caterpillar poop

Ruby and Erin - July 2011

Ruby and Erin – July 2011

A cake inspired by the carousel scene in Mary Poppins

A cake inspired by the carousel scene in Mary Poppins

Ruby and Claude - July 2012

Ruby and Claude – July 2012

For her fifth birthday Ruby wanted a "garden cake"

For her fifth birthday Ruby wanted a “garden cake”

Ruby and Henle - July 2013

Ruby and Henle – July 2013

Garden Cake – Ruby’s 5th birthday

Ruby wanted a "garden cake".

Ruby wanted a “garden cake”.

Ruby said she wanted a “garden cake” so Erin baked this four-layer cake and made bitter chocolate icing. Two large layers and two smaller ones. Last night I made beans, carrots, sunflowers and greens to add to it. Some edible flowers were donated by a friend that owns a restaurant and we added gummy worms, jordan almonds, green sugar crystals and some spiral candles. As I was creating the vegetable and sunflower “props” I reflected on that night five years ago when miss Ruby was born. Erin and I really get a kick out of throwing a big birthday party for her every year. Twas fun.
Ruby wanted “orange poles” for her birthday. We had no idea what she was talking about and she kept saying, “you know…those orange pole things.” Later, driving down the road she pointed out traffic cones and said “like those orange poles.” So for her birthday she got a lot of them from various family members. Now we are waiting to see what she wants to do with them. Here’s a few pics from the day.
Erin lights up five candles amid the five sunflowers.

Erin lights up five candles amid the five sunflowers.

Ruby wanted "orange poles" which we finally found out were traffic cones.

Ruby wanted “orange poles” which we finally found out were traffic cones.

Ruby went to a thrift store with Honey and picked out this hat.

Ruby went to a thrift store with Honey and picked out this hat.