Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cornmeal Play Dough (Week 3)

I think that as adults we sometimes suffer from childhood amnesia 

I believe it mostly occurs because we have so many responsibilities or "adult duties" that we forget how to let go and have fun.  We don't take time to run barefoot in the grass, make up silly songs and sing them out loud, or remember how exhilarating and relaxing it is to play in the mud.

(note to self: don't forget to schedule that spa day you've been promising)

Instead we spend time trying to avoid the "fun stuff" so that we can get work done.  We promise ourselves that once the work is finished, then we'll relax and enjoy life, but then just MORE work just gets piled up on top of that, and we find ourselves buried in work, and then now of course we know that we should take a break, but we ask ourselves... what if someone walks in and sees me playing surrounded by all this work?  They won't know that I have been working ALL THIS TIME and that I am only on a much deserved break. 

Oh no.  They'll think that I'm a goofball and that the reason why I have so much work piled up is because I have been playing all along.  And they'll be wondering... didn't my mother teach me the value of hard work and responsibility, and that it is better to take care of business first, and then pleasure?  Or maybe she didn't teach me these things because she is a goofball too... 

"And now oh no, they did NOT just bring my momma into this?!" 
(did you notice how that suddenly changed from "we" to "me"?)

And you thought that this was just a blog?

Silly me!  I forgot to properly introduce myself...

Hi, my name is Tondra Denise, and this is my online therapy group!!

One of the greatest benefits that I have had as a child care provider is having the daily opportunity to watch children at work.  The beautiful thing about this experience is that the "students have become the teacher". 

I am so willing to learn from them because to them life is still fresh! 

They havn't learned the "rules" yet, so they are not bound by them. 
For the most part, they are not all stressed out like most of the adults in their lives.
They are not rushing about, and they certainly do not feel the need to try and "balance it all". 

They simply "go with the flow"

and I am glad

that I have had the opportunity to re-learn from them
(that thing that Jesus was trying to teach Martha)

Slow DOWN girl... those things will be here, but I am right here in THIS moment. 

"Will you see me, or will you miss it?"

So here's what happened...

Activity #11- Cornmeal Play Dough

What I did:  I found a homemade cornmeal play dough recipe, set out rolling pins, cookie cutters, and play dough scissors for the kids to finally open their bake shop!  I planned to read "Everybody Bakes Bread" by Norah Dooley that afternoon during snack.  I was excited because the kids LOVE play dough, play dough meets almost all of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, and I knew that this would be a hit... (Social- Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development).

What they did:  To my surprise, no one showed up for the activity.  Do you hear me?  NO ONE!  I called, "We have play dough!  Who wants play dough?"  "Not now" they answered.  What were they doing instead?  Two of the older girls (ages 7&8) had set up a nail spa with a foot soak tub, towels, and the promise of pretty polish!  Even the one little guy in my care was waiting in line to soak his feet in the warm, soapy water!

Lesson Learned:  Don't anticipate... relax, be free, and live in the moment.

Helpful Tip:  Homemade play dough that is properly stored (in a sealed container, in a dry/cool location) can last quite a while.

Activity #12- Cornmeal Footscrub

What I did: I've heard it said if you can't beat 'em... join 'em.  So I made a cornmeal foot scrub for the nail spa customers!!  I mixed a tiny amount of dry of cornmeal with baby powder and baby oil.  The kids LOVED it and said it left their feet silky and smooth, and smelled great too.  (Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts, Health).

I see more: I have found that learning how to go with the flow means learning how to meet people where they are. If they want a manicure/pedicure party, then party it is. Join them and supplement THEIR ideas! Build upon what they are interested in and support their vision. 

Helpful Tip: Just realizing that I should have made this clear on day 1, but in order to make the most of your cornmeal, start off by separating it into 3 to 4 small zippered bags.  That way you can bring it out as needed for your different activities.  For instance, once you use a bag to do wet activities, or make play dough, you can not get that cornmeal back.  If you later decide to do more dry cornmeal activities, (like this one) you will still have some in a CLEAN bag. 

Same cornmeal, but in different bags...make sense?

Activity #13- Cornmeal Play Dough (Cheerios)

What I did:   Put out the play dough again with a variety of play dough tools. (Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development, Health).

What they did:  Used items to cut and poke the play dough.  We ended up with something that looked very similar to Cheerios.

Lesson Learned:  Don't be afraid to revisit activities.  The children rejected the play dough on Monday, but they enjoyed it the following day, and every day thereafter.  Part of "going with the flow" is knowing when to try again!

Activity #14- Cornmeal Play Dough (Necklaces)

What we did:   The night before I baked the cornmeal "cheerios" in the oven and let them cool/harden overnight.  The following day I set out paint and brushes and let the children paint them.  After drying we used them for stringing. (Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development).

Helpful Tip:  You want to make sure that your children are old enough to know that these are not for eating!  If your children want to explore in this type of way, you must make sure that all of your materials are clean/edible.  Our cornmeal had already fallen to the floor, so this was not an option for us.  Edible play dough recipes can be found online, however, along with "natural dyes" that can be used to color your cheerio beads.

Activity #15- Cornmeal Play Dough and Paint Dotters

What we did: Spread a thin layer of cornmeal play dough onto a tray, gave them paint dotters, and let them at it! (Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development).

(Click here to see Week 4 activities)

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