Monday, March 18, 2019

Get Outside And... Blow Billions of Bubbles!

Bubbles are so much fun! My first word as a baby was "bubbles." S has always loved them. Y had a long period of babyhood when he couldn't actually see bubbles and I often wondered why he just didn't seem that into them. Well sure enough, a few months after he got glasses and we were in playgroup at bubble time, he saw bubbles for the first time. I almost cried watching him giggle and squeal as he tried to catch, eat and pop bubbles floating all around him.

We go through a lot of bubble solution here. Last summer, I kept a jug with a spigot full and ready on our front steps so the boys could fill a dish and blow bubbles whenever we were outside playing. I've even been known to zip-tie those colorful plastic tubes of bubbles right onto our railing outside! But bubbles and the plastic wands and accessories used with them have a pretty limited shelf life and usually only last us through the spring/summer season before needing to be replaced. It's super easy to make your own bubbles, though and even your own bubble blowers and wands! You probably even have most of what you need in your cupboard and recycling bin...

We made our bubble solution with:

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 cup dish soap
  • 2 TBSP glycerin
We store it in a glass jar and any container with a tightly sealing lid will work. To use, you can pour the desired amount into a shallow bin, pan or dish, or even just dip your wand right into the jar.

The boys even made their own bubble wands using pipe cleaners and beads. I didn't quite get a picture of those, but they (with some help from me) twisted the pipe cleaner to form a larger circle at the top, strung on some beads and twisted a smaller circle at the bottom. This seals the beads in and creates a double ended bubble wand. Simply dip your wand and blow! The pipe cleaners do get rather wet and soapy and don't work as well once they get to that point of total saturation. Alternatively you could use floral wire and that would probably work a bit better--but we had fun nonetheless.

I also helped the boys to assemble some simple cup and straw bubble blowers that overflow giant bubbles from the top and recycled bottle bubble blowers that shoot out long bubble snakes from the bottom:

The plastic cup & straw bubble blowers are easily assembled by poking a hole toward the bottom (about an inch and half to two inches up) of a disposable plastic cup. (An adult should do this part.) Stick a straw inside and tilt it to the bottom of the cup. Fill with a bit of bubble solution and blow! It's kind of like when you blow bubbles in your chocolate milk only without the getting in trouble part. I would, however, support and supervise little ones not to drink from the straw by mistake. S got this message easily. Y had to learn the hard way, poor little guy. He helped blow big bubble sculptures off the top of the cup after that!

To assemble some recycled bottle bubble blowers, cut the bottom off an empty plastic bottle. (An adult should do this part.) Use a washcloth and rubber band to cover the open end. Dip the towel end into your bubble solution and blow through the top of the bottle. Now check out the bottom as a long bubbly snake grows and grows from the towel! You can try this one in the bathtub as well, just getting the washcloth soapy before you affix it to the plastic bottle.

The bubble blowing led to a lot of bubbly play! The boys loved scooping up piles of bubbles from the bottom of the bottle or top of the cup and flinging, blowing and chasing them around. Even our garden turtle enjoyed a little bubble bath...

Making our own bubble solution and blowers saved us a lot of shlepping, time and money. 

And speaking of saving time... if a couple of little boys happened to play in some soapy bubbly mud and mulch after all that, it counts as a bath as well, right? 

I am, of course, asking for a friend...a very close friend...

Happy Playing!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Get Outside And... Paint a Rainbow!

In my own efforts to get outside with my kids as often as possible, I'm kicking off a new recurring series on the blog, Get Outside And... These will be posts that include a simple to set up activity to bring outdoors with you. We get out plenty with no special reason, activity or destination. Sometimes it's fun and exciting to do something special while we're out there. As the weather warms up, the outdoors can be a great (safe) place to take messy play and art. Today's post is a perfect example, but I can't take the credit for the idea. I first saw the idea for Rainbow Rain Painting on Learn As You Play. We adapted the idea to bring outdoors (using a couple of inexpensive folding table-top easels we frequently bring on the go) and adding in spray bottles along with the pipettes and water. This would be a great activity to take to the sprinkler park in the summer or poolside. And, as an added bonus, those watercolor pallets that are all mixed up and dirty will have a fresh new start! If I ever go back to teaching, I'm going to do this with my students at the end of every school year!

You will need:

  • easel or vertical surface 
  • white paper (watercolor paper works best)
  • watercolor pallet (the standard 8 color version is perfect)
  • pipettes & a cup/jar of water
  • spray bottles filled with water

To set up your Rainbow Rain Painting Stations, clip your paper and watercolor pallet to the easel. The kids simply fill and squeeze water from the pipettes onto each color or spray with water and watch as the colors drip and bleed down the page. We had so much fun with this one--even I spent a good long while spraying at the end!

Happy Spraying, I mean Playing!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Purim Play: Invitation to Create Wooden Peg Dolls with Loose Parts

For quite a while, I'd had a plan to set up a pop-up loose parts station for the boys to design and create their own wooden peg dolls. We use a lot of my handcrafted wooden peg dolls in small world play, storytelling and even on our Nature Table. The boys love creating materials and toys that we use in their play and the implementation of my longstanding idea finally came to fruition in time for Purim. We've made Purim puppets here before and lo and behold, great minds think alike because I also saw that S was making a set of wooden peg doll Purim characters at school this year. You could definitely set this up to specifically create the characters from the Purim story (or any other story for that matter). I decided, however, that I wanted it to be really open ended and let the boys decide what to create.

When setting up your pop-up loose parts station to create wooden peg dolls, you can include any of the following you have on hand or add in/swap in other items:

  • wooden peg dolls (I bought these on Amazon, but you can also find them at craft supply stores or use the old fashioned wooden clothespins).
  • sequins
  • wool roving in a variety of colors
  • tissue paper squares
  • fabric scraps
  • washi tape
  • markers
  • tacky glue
  • scissors
Some other ideas you might add/sub in include:
  • ribbon, lace scraps, rickrack
  • small buttons, gems, beads
  • yarn/string
  • colored/patterned paper
  • paint
  • felt scraps
  • small google eyes
  • stickers

The boys each had such creative ideas. I gave very little instruction and truth be told--I came downstairs later the morning we had this set up so my husband was the one who was with them at the beginning! Each of them did make an adorable little peg doll. I drew eyes on the peg dolls in advance and you can do the same or leave them untouched. S created a peg doll that is also a character from Paw Patrol (and has some corresponding fabric wings). Y created his own blue haired little wooden baby. And S also used some materials to make little doll "towels." It was so cute and fun to watch them explore and create. We added the finished and dried products to our dolls and dollhouse accessories and they have been integrated into play and storytelling here. The boys feel such pride when their art is put to use, and not merely displayed.

It is really fun to keep this activity open ended like we did, but it can also be tailored to a theme. Some other ideas to adapt this activity include:
  • family/class wooden peg doll self portraits--create your own mini-me
  • peg dolls to go along with a fairy tale or favorite story
  • wooden peg dolls using natural loose parts (leaves, flowers, acorn caps--perfect for a fairy house or garden!
  • holiday themed peg dolls

Happy Playing!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Invitation to Play about Fairy Gardens

Just as we got busy playing about fairy tales and getting ready for Purim here, S fell in love with the book Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane. Truly, this book combines two of my greatest loves playing and exploring with young children: whimsical fairies and a reverence for nature. I often have a plan for our mornings and afternoons together here and I thought we would be spending these weeks exploring versions of common fairy tales, incorporating STEM activities, dramatic play and story telling. But sometimes, the kids get hooked on a theme and I love the opportunity to run with it. Tailoring our activities to their specific interests and curiosities really honors their role in navigating their learning and play as well as their equally important role in helping to create our family routine. So we embarked on a whimsical world of fairy play here, concocting potions, planting and playing in fairy gardens and building a tiny world of wonder.

There are ample opportunities in the world of parenting to decide how to handle matters of mythology and imagination. Do we embrace or ignore fairy tales, unicorns, dragons and other matters of imagination? Furthermore, if we do engage in play about superheros, fairies, fictional friends and characters, are we perpetuating a false reality for our children? I believe that in most cases, children--even the very young--are aware and understanding of fact versus fiction. I also believe that having room and space to play about and engage with these ideas, that we also encourage important critical thinking and problem solving skills along with nurturing children's inherent creativity. Y is quite young and mostly plays through mimicking what he sees in real life, be it through daily routines and activities or the way that his older brother plays. S is more abstract in his play schemas now, creating rich stories and talking through characters at this point rather than only about them. He does know fairies are "make-believe" and he enjoys playing about them all the same. He knows, too, that his fictional friends Sally and Jerome are "make-believe" and uses them as well to share stories and experiences. These are valuable play experiences.

After we read Fairy  for the bazillionth time one Shabbos, S and Y both really wanted to make their own. There are great ideas in the back of the book for making fairy houses outdoors in all four seasons using only items gathered from nature. We also love to bring bits of nature indoors--especially in this season, as we begin to transition from winter into spring. I decided the boys would each love to plant and have their own fairy garden indoors and when the weather is warm enough, we will be able to transition them outside. We began by planting wheat grass seeds:
We used some leftover wheat grass seeds from last year, potting soil and a couple of large plastic pots from the dollar tree...

Y felt this activity called for a chef's hat...

We watered and waited, watered and waited...

The waiting part is a little hard. Waiting for spring. Waiting for seeds to sprout. S is so excited to "mow the lawn" (cut the grass) once it is tall enough--this was an activity he did last year when we used wheat grass seeds to plant grass hair on some funny face pots. So rather than simply wait, we engaged in some fairy garden play using the lavender bud playdough we made at our Fairy Potions Creation Station the previous week. The boys loved this activity so much, we did it twice! 

I set out our playdough, a collection of artificial flowers, fairy garden accessories (purchased from Dollar Tree), glass stones and marbles and wooden miniature furniture from a craft supply store (also $1 a piece) for them to design, build and play with. Their playdough fairy gardens were so unique, extending beyond the confines of one space to include flower patches, areas for fairy play and so much more!

The second time we did the activity, I added in some cookie cutters and playdough tools. S ended up baking up a batch of tiny cookies for the fairies and Y brought over a tiny ice cream dish from our kitchen set and made them an ice cream party!
We were so busy playing here that I almost didn't notice that our wheat grass had sprouted up! So one morning while I was able to step out for a bit, I picked up some small flower plants from our Trader Joe's floral department super inexpensively and Y helped me plant them in the pots. That afternoon, S and Y were eager to play outside in our play garden, but landscapers were working out front to trim the hedges. We thought we might go to the backyard, but then I realized it was also under some maintenance and construction as our apartment complex readies for spring, so I quickly set out the growing fairy gardens and our baskets of fairy play accessories and sat next to the boys at our dining room table to watch the fun unfold...

Their fairy gardens extended beyond the gardens themselves and across the table! It was so much fun to watch them build, design, deconstruct, re-construct, play and engage in whimsical fun! Soon enough, the landscapers were done out front and we were able to get our coats [back] on and get outside for a bit of outdoor play before the sun set.

 No, these are not your mother's fairy gardens...these are hands-on and all hands in play gardens. As such, we opted for inexpensive plants (but real ones nonetheless) and accessories that are safe and ok for small hands to handle. We will surely love playing outside with these as well once the weather warms. Fairy Houses can be played about indoors or out, year round, with or without a garden. Small toys and loose parts can be brought outdoors year round to play in nature. We are not rigid about adhering to the "rule" of only using items found in nature, but we are careful about only using items not still growing and not leaving anything outdoors that would be harmful. Here are a few other ways to play...

We used a wooden crate as an outdoor "doll house."

Here's a larger fairy garden from last summer...

We even take small toys and accessories on the go to parks and public gardens...
It's a great way to play or bring life to a great story outside.

We'll be back soon and until then....

Happy Playing!

Friday, March 8, 2019

A Peek Inside Our Spring Themed Playroom

I know, I know, it's not Spring yet, but I just couldn't wait any longer! We've all got the itch to get outside and dig in the dirt and until then, we've been happily playing, creating and daydreaming about our future garden inside our playroom. Some people get into Spring cleaning; I get into Spring playroom setup--to each their own! So come on in and take a little walk through our Spring themed playroom updates... You might even stay and play for a while!

Small World Play & Literacy:

One of our very favorite books for early Spring is Sibylle von Olfers' The Story of the Root Children. This tale lends itself so beautifully to storytelling and small world play. I often use our top shelf (pictured to the left) as a Nature Shelf, particularly during seasonal shifts. Stocked with the book and a couple of others in that genre, some natural, manufactured and handmade loose parts, the space is ready for small world play and storytelling! The boys enjoy arranging materials on the shelf and also carrying them to the rug or table to play with in a larger space. They can also add in other building materials and accessories as they wish. As the season continues, the shelf will shift along with it...

Old Man Winter is there for now and the Root Children are still fast asleep under Mother Earth's careful watch...

but soon enough, Spring will bring forth new surprises and wonders both found outdoors and handcrafted inside.

Dramatic Play: Flower & Garden Shop

As Purim is also coming up in two weeks, our dramatic play area is still stocked with props and materials for building castles, dressing up, puppetry, acting out fairy tales and cooking up delicious meals at the Three Bears' Cafe. I did add in a Spring element as well with the addition of our Flower & Garden Shop...

We used some printables and inspiration from Pocket of Preschool's Flower Shop and Garden Shop Dramatic Play set. S really loved using the order form to check off which type and/or color of flower the customer (me) wanted to order...and I really loved that I managed to sneak in some pencil practice!

S is busy planting the daffodils I ordered in our DIY No-Sew Planting Set as Y uses our make-shift garden hose to water the growing flowers.

Y is having a go at the pencil taking flower orders...

Our shelves are also stocked with color sorted (and labeled) cups of flowers for planting, picking, arranging, selling and purchasing as well as a collection of gardening tools, gloves, watering cans, pots and vases and even a basket of actual seeds with a couple of magnifying glasses to encourage closer observation...

S had the idea to use the seeds in dramatic play for planting. He is sprinkling sunflower seeds on his plot!

They need lots of water to grow!

Sensory Table: Planting Station
Filled with assorted dried beans and stocked with pots, gardening tools and artificial flowers, our Planting Station Sensory Bin is the perfect Spring themed extension of our flower and garden shop dramatic play. Both boys have had a lot of fun scooping, raking, filling and planting in this area.

Art & Writing Center:
I must admit that while I am full of ideas for our Art & Writing Center, it is the area that most often gets neglected and, well, a little bit stale. We do a lot of art and pre-writing activities and the boys do go through phases where they are particularly interested in some of the materials, but I don't generally change it up as often as some of the other areas and everyone is always very excited when I do!

A bit out of the box, here is our collection of Fairy Garden Loose Parts for use in art and design. The boys can use the artificial flowers, furniture, stones, mosaic tiles and small fairy play accessories on their own, with the mirror trays, with playdough or even in their growing Fairy Gardens (which I will post on at a later date).

One of the best ways to freshen up a stale art and writing scene, I've found, is to change up the paper! As odd as that sounds, writing, drawing and painting on a medium that is of a different size, shape, color and/or texture really encourages artists and writers of all ages and interest levels. Here, we are stocked with some seed catalogs for cutting/collage, graph paper for garden plans and design and fingerpainting paper (glossy in finish) cut in half with rounded edges. Off to the side, I've stocked our Stick Bound Nature Journals (another DIY home project I'll post on in the future).

Coloring books are a great way to relax, create art and practice fine motor and pre-writing skills. Very often, they are stored away on a bookshelf here and sometimes, even when they are out and available, they are used once or twice with crayons and then re-shelved and abandoned. With the addition of watercolors, brushes and plastic cups (recycled from some small flower plants), a new element of wonder and creativity is added. The boys can use the watercolors with the Spring and nature themed coloring books or choose some watercolor paper instead (also in the drawer).
They are able to take a cup to the bathroom or kitchen to fill with water as needed, empty it when they are done and help wash and replace items to the drawer.

Our writing drawer is stocked with Spring themed writing paper from Pocket of Preschool's Spring Math & Literacy Centers set, assorted sizes and colors of cardstock, blank cards and envelopes, a notepad, butterfly and caterpillar shaped papers and a collection of Spring and gardening themed stickers. I've found both boys flock to do writing and drawing the most when there are many options for supplies and mediums to use!

We love Kwik Sticks here (top drawer) and oil pastels--both of which work beautifully in conjunction with watercolor paints for gorgeous resist art. The middle drawer is stocked with some floral and Spring themed rubber stamps and washable black ink. The boys can stamp away and add color in the form of colored pencils, pastels, watercolor or whatever strikes their fancy. I especially love my recycled sushi tray collection. It's a great way to transport items from our shelves to the table to work and also great for collecting and transferring other small objects around the house for use in play. These are also useful for painting projects, playdough and "portion control" in small loose parts or scraps used for collage. That is an item that is always accessible in our art and writing center and they get plenty of use!
As we eagerly await the weather outside to catch up, we've been really enjoying Spring themed play inside with materials both natural and man-made. The boys' wheat grass Fairy Gardens are growing quickly and we've added in a couple of small flowering plants purchased quite inexpensively from Trader Joe's. (There will be more on this, as well, in a future post.) There is much to look forward to as we plan, plant and ease into the season. As Purim comes and passes, we will be phasing out some of the play things and materials related to that theme and making space for additional Spring related activities and themes related to other upcoming events. Until then, there is much to be excited for both outdoors and in!

We'll be back soon...

Think Spring & Happy Playing!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Fairy Potions: Make Your Own Lavender Bud Glue Paint

With Purim and the onset of Spring colliding in one fun filled week (that also happens to be Y's second birthday as well), we have really gotten into some magical fairy themed fun here. We've been busy in general and busy especially at our Fairy Potions Creation Station concocting up some great recipes for art, sensory exploration and play. One of our very favorites was making our own Lavender Bud Glue Paint.

I love encouraging process art here as I feel it really honors each individual artist for who he or she is--regardless of age, ability or interest level. S is not as interested these days in craft art. He does a lot of it at school and I gather that it is not always his favorite activity there either. Artistically, he's often a minimalist. This is not to say that he rushes through something leaving a once-and-done streak across the page (sometimes that is the case, however). Rather, much of the time, he is very intentional in what he does, paying particular attention to the aesthetics of it, but does not necessarily cover a page or spend a great amount of time at one project. He may return to something later on or he may not. He particularly has interest in three dimensional art, self directed creations, using tape/collage, glue, dough/clay, sewing, connecting and using and small loose parts like beads and buttons. Y is typically a fill your page and then some kind of guy. He could color, paint, draw, doodle and "write" all day long if you let him! He likes a variety of mediums from paints to markers, crayons, pastels, pencils, do-a-dots, stickers, stamps, glue, paper scraps for collage and often needs a reminder and swift intervention to remember the paper first! When it comes to craft art or directed activities, I can usually predict my boys' interest and participation level and even how they might approach it. But when I introduce a novel process art activity, I am often surprised.

For this activity, I simply set out a glass jar about 1/3 full of clear gel glue, a wooden craft stick and a tiny plastic dessert spoon on a dollar store mirror tray at each space. In the center of the table, I set an additional glass vase with paint brushes, a small glass vase of lavender buds and one more glass vase filled half way with water dyed purple (with food coloring) and a couple of pipettes for transferring. I had some half sheets of thick watercolor paper on trays as well for when the boys would be ready to paint with their concoctions. Particularly with more hesitant or reluctant artists, I find smaller sized paper to be more appealing. Smaller children of all artistic interests can benefit from the use of paper in non traditional sizes, shapes and mediums. In other words, your classic 8.5x11 white paper gets boring after a while--mix it up a bit!

Speaking of mixing it up, I loved having the opportunity to allow each of the boys to mix his own paint concoction. They each chose how much water to add, how much lavender to sprinkle in, what to use to mix it, what to use to paint with and how to complete their painting in the end. As I mentioned, I'm often surprised by the "results" of a process art experience. I gave no specific instructions and really made a point to say very little other than in response to the boys. S--who is more likely to want to wipe his hands during painting loved the sticky glue paint. He was fascinated by every aspect of adding ingredients to his jar, watching them layer and settle and mixing it together. He was most drawn to using the paintbrush--a tool he is not particularly interested in most of the time. He painting wide and thin streaks of lavender bud glue paint across most oft he paper he chose. Y, who usually loves to be hands on and in, was a bit more reserved about the sticky glue. He loved shaking lavender buds over his mixture and favored using the spoon to drizzle a few smaller dots and puddles in the center of his paper. 

While I cleaned up a bit, the boys played at stirring up some sparkly water potions at our sensory table, which I had already filled with colored water, glitter, lavender buds and lily petals (recycled from some cut flowers that were on their way out). I had some water play in the kitchen sink rinsing our dishes. I did combine the two boys' paint mixtures into one jar, screwed on the lid and saved it for future use. I think that having a hand in creating the materials used for art really adds an element of ownership to the experience. If the "messiness" factor is inhibiting for you, I'd recommend taking this one outdoors as the weather gets nicer--it truly was a lovely experience for all involved! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Fairy Potions Playdough Invitation

As we delve deeper into play here about fairy tales, we've been enjoying a stack of great children's literature from our library and own collection. It's been so much fun for the boys and I to read many versions of stories we are familiar with. One book from our own collection caught S's attention, and that was our copy of Tracy Kane's Fairy Houses. What are fairy tales, after all, without the fairies? Some adults might feel hesitant to encourage play and wonder about fairies and other mythical creatures, while others really embrace it. I, ever curious to see where children stand, often ask them if they think certain things in books (like fairies) are real. S says he knows that fairies are made up. He also loves to play about them with loose parts and small world objects and he and Y both planted some wheat grass seeds with me yesterday to grow our own fairy gardens.

We are itching to get back to gardening here and Spring is indeed just around the corner. The use of real flowers for exploration and creation during the warmer months is something that inspires our play both indoors and outside. But with "recycled" cut options or dried versions, petal play is not something that needs to wait until Summer rolls around! Bringing bits of nature indoors is one of my favorite ways to bide our indoor time during the colder season. Additionally, some of our favorite art and sensory activities needed some revamping! Playdough is always a favorite and oft requested activity in this house, so as I set out to plan a collection of Fairy Potion themed play and art activities, I decided this Fairy Potions Playdough Invitation would be the perfect activity to introduce our Fairy Potions Creation Station. 

Playdough is a great sensory experience all on its own. I often prepare our homemade playdough in advance (sometimes with help from the boys) and add in color, scent, glitter or whatever else we may be feeling at the time. Sometimes, it's lovely just to leave it in its natural state and let the kids add in components through play and exploration. In this set up, I included a glass bottle of dried lavender buds, some mortar & pestle sets for grinding and crushing, a couple of spoons for scooping and transfering and some small cookie cutters. I also set each boys' space with a wooden bowl with a ball of playdough and their two favorite clay play tools, a plastic knife and rolling pin. I did not give anyone specific instructions on what to do with the materials and wanted really to see where they took the activity.
S actually asked about everything and what it was for (which caught me a bit off guard), so I did give some ideas about crushing lavender buds or adding them to the dough, but left it very open ended and told him he could really choose how to use the materials and what to make. He first gravitated toward the playdough on its own and rolling out small cookies. Y gravitated toward pouring and transferring lavender buds and then explored crushing and grinding them with the mortar and pestle. He began to scoop some with the small spoon into his playdough bowl and later moved to pouring from the glass bottle. He loved the way he could shake the bottle and small amounts of lavender buds would come out of the small opening. Meanwhile, S decided to pretend the lavender buds were sprinkles. He poured a small amount into his hand and meticulously sprinkled a few atop some--but not all (he wanted to leave some "plain")--of his cookies.

One of the topics that frequently comes to fruition for me as a play at home mom who loves art and sensory play is the issue of waste. So many activities are "disposable." Set aside the issue of food ingredients and food waste (that's a topic I have grappled with and touched  on) and still I struggle with activities I call "once and done" activities. I love that even though the addition of flowers to homemade playdough can shorten its shelf life a bit (less so with dried versions than fresh), that it adds an element of texture, scent and nature to the play experience. Additionally, when children have a hand in creating the materials they use for play and art, they tend to treat them with a greater respect and reverence. The boys were extra careful to pick up fallen dough and collect every last lavender bud from the table. These materials, real and natural, were so very precious to them!

A note on the materials used: There are great benefits to honoring children's perception of beauty in "real" materials and tools rather than always opting for "kid" versions of playdoughs, tools, art supplies, etc. Similarly, setting a table with glass bottles and wooden dishes and silver trays is not only visually appealing to the adults in this room, the children also have a great appreciation for the warmth of it. They feel more invited to the space than they do necessarily when I set out brightly colored plastic trays and store-bought playdough. Don't get me wrong--my kids love playdough in any color or form! They have plenty of brightly colored manufactured toys and playthings meant for children. They also have a sense of sacredness associated with "grown up" things and objects of beauty. All children do! And they love to have access to such things in their own environment. I would not necessarily set out something fragile (like the glass bottle) and expect a child Y's age to automatically know how to handle it. But through the opportunity and experience to use such things, he does learn how to do so. When we only give children materials that are plastic and/or disposable, they don't learn how to safely handle the "real" thing and they also gain a sense that all objects are plastic and disposable and thereby lack a sense of reverence for things that are less easily replaceable.

The boys loved having a hand in making this Fairy Flower Playdough Potion. The act of kneading, grinding, smashing and even the lavender scent itself are all such great stress relievers for the adults as well! It will be such fun to play with in a variety of other ways in the days to come--perhaps with some other fun loose parts and maybe even some fairies.. We will be returning to our Fairy Potions Creation Station  in the weeks to come for some more play, art and sensory activities. We may even be exploring some in our sensory table and outdoors. Stay tuned and until then...

Happy Playing!