Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three New Works

So, I've come to the conclusion that I can't say "children" anymore! It's driving me crazy! I re-read some of my blog entries, and they sound so formal and boring...not like how I would talk at all. So, I'm turning over a new leaf and just writing "kids". That's how I refer to them, and it doesn't seem like slang to me. It makes them seem more personable. "Children" are very well-behaved and intelligent..."kids" are fun and cute and I love 'em!

So...back to what I was writing about. Here are a few new things on the shelves for the kids:

Shelling peanuts has been a VERY popular work (and also very messy!) Above is how it's laid out on the tray. And this is how it is laid out on the table:

A close-up of the nutcracker. I got it from Montessori Services- they said it was easy for kids to use, and it really is. Just keep twisting, and voila- a nice snack! Here's a close-up:

It has been messy, but everyone is learning to hold the nut-cracker OVER the bowl to crack the peanuts. A hard concept, I'm realizing...but they learn when they have to sweep both the table and the floor afterwards. At least, I hope they learn. I would welcome any suggestions on making it easier for kids to clean up this kind of mess after themselves. What if they don't know how to sweep a floor yet? It's easy for me to get frustrated when there's a huge mess, and I have to mostly clean it myself. We have to work on sweeping lessons, I guess...

Here's another work that has been fun, and produced nice results: pasting! Or gluing, or whatever. We started calling it pasting in the fall, so that's what it's remained. I cut a bunch of circles with the help of a wonderful friend's die-cutting machine (thank you!), and this is the tray on the shelf:

When someone wants to paste a collage, they bring the shot glass to me and I put a little glue in the bottom. It really takes just a little (maybe just covering the bottom, or even less). Then they can lay it out on an art mat:

The brush and shot glass are great. It took me a few tries to figure out the best method for us, but so far this is a winner. We don't have any painting works out (and I don't know if we ever will...maybe!), so this gives them a chance to practice using a paintbrush. It's easy to control, and doesn't waste glue. Here are some of the pictures that we've made so far. They're hanging up on our front door where I see them every day, and I really like them! They actually make me smile when I look at them, and I can't say that with the average kids' art project!

Here's one more, sorting nuts and bolts.

The pieces of felt give the kids a place to put the nuts and the bolts, and then the trickiest part is matching them up again. And then getting the nut on the bolt. Just the right challenge, so far.

We have school tomorrow...maybe I'll remember to take pictures of the kids actually using some of these materials. I do like to do that...the problem is remembering. And then not getting distracted by a crying toddler, someone needing more toilet paper in the bathroom, or someone begging for a sandpaper letter lesson. We'll see...the chances are slim.

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