Monday, January 4, 2010

Look What They Did

I have some friends that get so uptight when the kids don't do an activity "as it should be done." I've always been more relaxed about this. I tell them what the resources are for and what I planned for them to do. Then they can work with the materials and implements their own ideas. (All ideas must use materials appropriately; they are not allowed to do just anything. No damage to materials, building, or people and so forth.)

This week I put out the blocks and some additional wood pieces for building. I found some great accessories at Hobby Lobby--wood pieces that look like flower pots or candlesticks; flat pieces (for roofs or whatever); some simple short trim pieces. Also some thin dowels and some wavy craft sticks have ended up in the wood pieces bin. All of these items were for building churches and temples. JH worked with the blocks for a while and then decided to build "the president's house."

Instead of building up, he built flat on the floor. The bottom of the president's house is at the bottom of the photo and the building proceeds up to the top of the photo. Cool, huh?

At the easel, we were painting with red and blue paint. PW created a negative image picture, all on her own.

I know it looks rather purple, but the face is half red on a blue background and half blue on a red background. I couldn't have instructed her to do this if I had even thought of it. Cool, huh?

We were also making books about things we do at church. I had paper, markers, stapler, and a few sample sentences. However, I told them they could make books about whatever they wanted (or could just draw/write if they chose). OS decided to write some sentences.

(She likes to write in cursive.) I was impressed with her writing and her message. Cool, huh?

I could have insisted that the children do exactly what I had planned. And, being compliant children, they would have followed my direction. However, I would have missed some great ideas from them. Encourage their own ideas. Let them take the lead. You may get some great ideas for future activities. (Thanks, PW!)


  1. Oooh, I love their creations and the way they think. That painting is a masterpiece!

  2. Wow! Way cool.

    I feel this way often with my own children (at home) and then I am sad to see some of that gone with the kids in my classroom (junior high). Something happens along the way where they lose some of the creativity.

  3. Deborah - I just love the painting. I had to get a photo the minute I saw it completed. I may print out my photo and put it on my wall.

    John - I, too, see that creativity is "lost" as kids grow. I think sometimes they learn that it's easier to do what others want than to try their own ideas.

  4. Excellent Scott! I love it! I wish there were more teachers like you.

  5. I think the best things happen when you put something out for the kids and then stand back and watch what they do with it and where they go with it. Then you often find yourself running to keep up - thinking about what they need in the way of support / interest / resources to keep the play alive. So much fun! And I love that painting :)