Sunday, 29 May 2011

Strewing - the beginning of Morning Activities

At the moment I am a full-time educator to my children. I don't know where the future will take us but I know I will follow the kids' inclinations and let them do what they need to do to learn and grow at heir own pace.
In the meantime, I have taken this educating job really seriously. Over the past year or so I have read as much as I could (= as much as I could fit in those very few spare seconds that I get to myself) on learning, homeschooling, craft, toddler and preschool activities, science etc to get good ideas for our homelearning.

I came across this post about strewing at Shae's Yay for Home and it really struck a chord.
My kids are young too, and the way she'll leave something as an "invitation to play" seemed just perfect for us.

So this week I gave it a shot. Every night before going to bed I prepared a little activity on the Yellow Table that they would find in the morning. And boy has it been a successful experiment!

This has been the week:

  • playdough: I didn't leave the whole bag of cutters that we have, but selected just a few things so they could focus on those actions (getting a little Montessori inspiration there...): scissors, cutting wheels, rolling pins and things to stick in (pieces of straw, toothpicks and popsticks)

Monday morning
Sunday night

  • Connect Four: or as S&L call it, "the coin game". Really good for hand eye coordination, and I noticed that L started understanding that if you jiggle things a bit then you should be able to fit them in a slot...

Monday night
Tuesday morning: this is the sort of photo I take before my coffee

  • bandage sticking: I have an injury obsessed child. S is interested in doctors, vets, hospitals, broken legs, cuts, blood and so forth. This is the treatment many of her little toys receive: 
  • Duplo polar bear with Winnie-the-Pooh bandaid
Character bandages are so expensive, so I started buying cheaper supermarket homebrand ones for when she needs to cure her toys. And this is what I learnt: cheap bandages have cheap glue, and cheap glue is a doozie to remove from toys and dolls. So we're back to using proper Bandaids for us and for the little toys. What to do with the cheapies? I do try to reuse before recycling or throwing out, so here's the idea I had: I set out paper teddy bears we made a few days earlier, a sheet for coloured paper and some twist crayons and all the cheap bandages.
And I had another winning activity! L stuck a few bandages on his teddies then lost interest (he is 18 months after all). S embraced the activity wholeheartedly, she got so excited and drew a very injured person ("it's a kid, she fell down the stairs, broke her head and there's lots of blood everywhere" I have a gruesome child...), then happily started patching her up with the bandages.
Wednesday morning
  • Thursday morning and Friday morning are a blur, I'm now stuck in front of the computer watching the Wiggles on Youtube with both kids on my lap, I'll update this post later when I can leave this desk to go check my diary...
  • stencils: Saturday morning activity. I left out S's dinosaur stencils (dinosaurs, another obsession...), paper and markers. Kept them busy for a short while, they were really not in the mood for drawing. We were supposed to go to the farmers' market but S didn't feel like leaving the house. I hadn't really planned for that, so started pulling out stuff without thinking that said mess would still be there in the evening...
  • and this morning, paper and crayons, a bit slack I know, but we left the in-laws at 10.30 last night, both kids are knackered and I'm not much better...

Both kids have already warmed up to the idea that there's going to be something interesting to do as soon as they get up, which gets the brain thinking and puts them (mostly) in a good mood for the day.

And because the kids and I tend to get up together, I need a few quiet minutes to prepare our breakfast and my MUCH needed coffee, so having a little something interesting to keep them glued to that yellow table is just great! Much better than 2 kids whinging because breakfast isn't ready yet ;)

I'll endeavour to post on a Sunday with a record of the week's morning activities.

Thank you for reading :)



  1. Sara, you have been so busy! Very inspiring effort you've put in for your kids. I feel rather slack now!.. but inspired!

    I think your girl should get together with my girl... my girl is obsessed with being a doctor and is endlessly treating her 'patients' (us or her teddies). :)

  2. Sara, are you on Facebook? Is there anyway of sending you private messages/emails? Cheers, Deb

  3. hi Deb, don't feel slack, there's no way I would've even considered doing any of these things when Lucas was 6 months! Much easier now that he understands "not in the mouth" and that he can do things for himself :)

    At the moment I only have a personal profile on FB, but it looks like having a page for my blog seems the way to go... will get onto it one of these days... until then, I just liked your page, you can send me a pm through my profile, you should recognise the green bug PJs from the above post ;)

  4. Sara, I only just recently started a separate one for my blog - just because some conversations about some of my posts were getting too intense for my personal page. And also I didn't want to spam all my friends with my blog updates - as not all of them are into blogging. :)

    Thanks - I just noticed you on my FB blog page! :)

  5. It is such a lovely way to start the day... everyone eager to get involved and get going. I know in our house mornings can be a little rough, and even though we take our big girls to school first thing I try to have something set up for when we get home... it just takes the pressure off all round doesn't it.
    Looks like your gorgous kids are having a fab time!