This Week…7/52

How has your week been? What a week we’ve had. This week was our last as a defence family; my husband has a new job, a civilian job. It feels like such a momentous change for us. The defence force has been such a huge part of our lives for so many years now, and now that has all come to an end. No more long deployments overseas, no more moving every two years, it’s all done.

I am thankful for our time as a defence family though, I have made the most incredible friends, and all of the hardships have brought us to where we are now; happy and hopeful for what the future holds for us.

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A snapshot of our week, our everyday story

If you feel inspired to share a moment from your week please leave a comment with your link below or pop over to Instragram and use the hashtag #p52thisweek.

Project 52 This Week from An Everyday Story

A Reggio-twist on Gel Sensory Bags

Don’t you just love playing with colour and light? This activity turned out so much more beautifully than I imagined; the whole wall was lit with blue light, speckled by tiny rainbows.

Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself to think a little differently; to see materials in a different way, present them differently in order to encourage Jack (3.5yrs) and Sarah (18mths) to engage in new ways.

We have a couple of glittery gel sensory bags which the kids have been enjoying playing with over the last couple of months. They were using them to make marks in the gel, but what if you added projected light? How would Jack and Sarah approach them then?

The different thicknesses of gel made for different shades of colour. It was really beautiful. Jack started making stars, while Sarah marvelled in the colour that filled the room. She hasn’t yet made the connection between what she does on the OHP and the projection on the wall. Sarah mostly engages with one or the other. But Jack can see the connection.  

While Sarah played on the OHP, Jack was transfixed on the wall; watching the colours move.

A twist of the handle and the colours blur, creating beautiful spectrums of light. Jack wanted to ‘swim in the colours’.

Irresistibly beautiful.

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Thinking differently is challenging. What do we usually put together? Playdough and cutters, paint and paper, water and funnels… but what else could they be used for? How could we encourage our children to explore more deeply and creatively?

This is how I am challenging myself; to think differently, to put aside my notions, to see no proper purpose in a material, no proper use, in the hope that it opens up space for new discoveries. It is difficult, but we will see how we go.

{Project 52} This Week…

Project 52 This Week from An Everyday Story

Our life is full of little moments, snapshots which make up our days ….. {Project 52} This Week is my way of documenting these simple pleasures. Every Sunday I post a photo journal of our week. If you feel inspired … Continue reading

Reggio at Home: Inspiration on Pinterest

Is there anyone else out there blogging about implementing Reggio-inspired principles at home? I’ve searched and searched and haven’t really come up with much. There are plenty of Reggio-inspired preschools but what about at home? There has to be….

** UPDATED 16/08: Ok major omission folks! (that’s what I get for blogging past midnight while I wait for the painting smocks to wash). 

How could I forget about Lori?!? She is my absolute go-to person for all things project-based learning. She is very welcoming and loves a good discussion, plus no question is too silly or too difficult, she’ll help you out. She also has a great forum, not a boring old ‘look how wonderful we are’ forum, but a really inspiring one full of practical ideas for implementing project-based learning. Definitely pop on over.

I’m reading (and loving) her book at the moment: Project-based Homeschooling. It is the BEST book I have read for practical  ideas and inspiring thoughts for homeschooling, and anyone who knows me knows I read a LOT of homeschooling books. I think I may do a review of it when I finish. ** 

So please, introduce yourself so we can all share and learn together. In the meantime, I’ve organised my Pinterest boards to include Reggio activities / spaces / ideas that I think can be easily transferred to the home. So if you wanted to pop over and have a look, please do. I have a Reggio Materials board which I’m adding materials as I get them and recommend. I have a package arriving tomorrow with some magnets and prisms which I’m looking forward to.

Also I have been speaking with a friend recently about how to go about recognising a potential project and the difference between a project and a theme. It was a really interesting discussion, I love geeky-educational discussions. I think I’ll put my thoughts together and post something; especially about starting a project at home with young (3-5yr olds) children. I should have that up by the end of the week. If you have any thoughts please leave a comment and we can discuss.

‘Til then, night all. I have ‘work’ tomorrow, well if you can call facilitating our Reggio-inspired playgroup ‘work’. I have glittery ‘space’ playdough, nuts & bolts, large-scale drawing and large-scale bubble wrap painting (outside of course) planned. Should get very messy and very fun. Nothing like the joy of exploring different materials. Hope the parents packed a change of clothes!

Reggio: A Colour and Light Collage

Now that the days are getting shorter our usually bright and sunny playroom  is quite dark by mid-afternoon. Gloomy? Not at all, it means that we can light up the walls with the OHP.

Jack usually takes a bit of time to wake up from his nap and settle into the afternoon. So to help with the transition I usually set up a simple activity on his art table. Nothing too elaborate, something he is familiar with and enjoys; something he can sit down and do by himself.

Today I’d set up a simple collage activity with contact paper when Jack asked to use the projector instead. Great idea! So I moved the activity from the table to the projector.

Just a piece of contact paper and some coloured cellophane; Sarah added the glass beads.

And this was the scene on our wall. Beautiful, isn’t it?

We missed our afternoon walk today, Jack and Sarah were too busy making ‘really beautiful patterns on the wall


Window Blocks

Jack has been fascinated by light and shadows for a little while now. He loves to watch his shadow grow and shrink. We were at the library the other day and I stumbled across these window blocks. They were in the corner of the toy section buried underneath a pile of books. I had been eyeing these blocks off in the toy store for ages but they are way out of our budget so when I saw them hidden in the corner I was so thrilled.

Jack loved them immediately and has played with them everyday for the last week. The first morning I put them out in the playroom in front of our dress-up mirror. The morning sun was streaming beautifully through the window onto the mirror.

It was interesting watching him play. At first he sat to the side so he could watch himself building in the mirror; he moved the blocks back and forth watching the coloured shadows grow.

In the evening sun, Jack started building some rockets and a launch tower but there were no coloured shadows! You could see him thinking, why weren’t there any coloured shadows? He turned his head towards the sun and then back to the blocks and back to the sun again. Then he stepped to the side and I saw him smile just a little.

And when the sun got too high in the day for gorgeous sunbeams through our windows? Out came the OHP.

I love these blocks. Jack LOVES these blocks. And the best part is I can just borrow them out from the library for free.


Reggio: Mixed Media Art – Exploring with Plastic Wrap

Art is a significant part of the Reggio Emilia Approach. However it’s not the creation of art which is the focus, it’s the use of art as a medium to represent children’s thinking, encourage investigation and experimentation; to make the child’s learning visible to others and themselves. It’s using art to show how the child is feeling, what they are experiencing, what thoughts are in the front of their mind, what connections they are making with previous experiences.

I am abysmally artistically-challenged and before I became interested in Reggio, hadn’t really given much thought to art and it’s capacity to portray and evoke thoughts, emotions, ideas…which now as I write this, seems silly because that it exactly what art is!

I am however really enjoying learning about different art mediums and techniques (very basic at this stage) and thinking about ways Jack can use these mediums and techniques to make his thinking visible. Along with representing thought in increasingly complex ways, it’s essential that Jack has lots of exposure to different mediums so he can learn how to manipulate them, experiment with different techniques, just see what happens. He is comfortable with chalk, felt pens, oil pastels (used as crayons), coloured and lead pencils, glue and clay. However, except for clay where he has started to incorporate other items like wire, he generally uses them in isolation and doesn’t tend to mix mediums.

I’ve been doing some reading on Mixed Media Art; working with more than one medium. So ink and collage or a canvas with paint and photographs. I was watching a really inspiring show on contemporary artists and some of the different mediums  they used to create their artworks. So much potential for expression. Now, people out there with an iota of artistic ability will know this already, but like I said, this is a new playing field for me.

So today we tried some mixed media art; paint and plastic wrap. I was originally inspired by an artist using mist stray bottles (like small toiletry bottles) filled with ink and some plastic wrap. However not having any ink I decided to go with paint. The artist sprayed different coloured inks over the paper, placed plastic wrap over the top and used her fingers to move the ink. Along with the wonderful sensory experience, I thought Jack would enjoy moving the paint around and I was interested to know what thoughts came to mind as he was working.

Initially he started out just painting, which I expected. I was painting too and when I put some plastic wrap on my painting he was immediately interested. His first attempt didn’t work as well as he hoped, more paint was needed he declared. The second attempt, with much much more paint, was a roaring success! ‘Mummy it’s like fire coming out and going into the water’. ‘Mummy it’s like a big Black Hole. See the paint is going into the hole’. 

From there the activity really became Jack’s; peeling the plastic wrap off he thought it would make a good stamp. ‘Mummy, see, we can take it off and push and see, it makes a nice pattern’. This led to dolloping large amounts of paint onto the paper and then dabbing the plastic wrap to create different patterns. Jack was really enjoying himself and I like that I was able to step away while he continued to create.

I have a few other ideas I got from watching the show including one which I think would be fascinating to use with the OHP. Stay tuned 😀