Friday, February 17, 2017

Creative Table - Week 1 {Valentine's Day}

Happy Valentine's Day! It's been a long time since I've posted. We moved to a new house in the fall, and we are currently expecting our third child. For these reasons, plus with Honey Pot in first grade full-time and Little M&M going to preschool 3-days per week, we have let our activities slow down. Sure, we have done occasional crafts and learning together; however, I really feel it's time to resume weekly and intentional projects.

It is my goal to establish a fun routine in these next three months, so that when Sweet E arrives, the big kids and I can continue enjoying this focused time together. Here is where the Creative Table comes into play. A creative table is a space where I could leave out specific items as an invitation to create, to explore, or to play. I will offer guidance but the kids will have free reign to use the items in whichever way their imaginations lead them (excluding certain STEM projects, which often require parent involvement). The idea for this comes from Tinker Lab, and it seems like the perfect way for us to get back into our groove!

The dining room table will be our creative table, and a few days per week I will leave out an invitation to spark their imaginations and engage them. Here is what we did our first week, with a Valentine's Day theme:


We are starting simple! I printed off a couple of Valentine's Day bookmarks onto cardstock from here, and provided the kids with my gel pens to color them in with. As they completed their bookmarks, I punched a hole into the tops, and tied some yarn through them. Both Honey Pot and Little M&M are super excited to begin their newest chapter books tonight (The Nevergirls 3 and The Magic Tree House 5 respectively), so this was a perfect activity to accompany their anticipation!


Today's invitation: yarn hearts, two ways. I made an example of each in the morning for them. For the first, I cut strands of various colors of yarn, and glued them in a heart shape onto cardboard. For the other, I simply wrapped a cardboard heart with yarn. When the kids came home from school, they were excited to happen upon this setup!

First they made a heart with glue.

Then they covered it with a piece of yarn.

And finally, they filled the middle with glue, and pressed pieces of yarn into it. They loved choosing their own colors and cutting the pieces out.

Next they chose a ball of yarn to wrap their hearts with. Both chose this purple/white/blue multicolored one, so they had to take turns!

Here are the finished creations. They even each glued their wrapped heart onto their glue heart, and were very proud of their creations. It was a sweet craft!

FRIDAY INVITATION - SENSORY or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Today I made up a double batch of homemade playdoh. This has been a favorite activity for the kids, but it has been a while since we've done it! Today on our creative table, I set out a light and dark pink ball of playdoh along with assorted pink and red loose parts, cutters and tools. Then I let the kids play with them however they wished.

First Little M&M started cutting up some straws. He loves using scissors, and has gotten quite good at it. Then he formed his ball of playdoh into a cup and made himself a nice drink!

Then he did something really interesting! He grabbed the lid from the tupperware meant for storing the playdoh, and used it as a cookie sheet! Then he made and decorated some "cookies" and put them in an "oven" to bake. What an imagination!

Honey Pot grabbed the silicone cupcake liner and started decorating a cupcake! She used scissors not just on the straws, but also to shave off very fine fluffs from the sides of the chenille stems! Then she sliced the cupcake up for all of us to taste.

The little pink and red hearts (which I found at the Dollar Tree) were squished into all different shapes of playdoh.

I arranged Friday as our sensory day so that the kids could return to it multiple times throughout the weekend if they wanted. So here they are again, still in their pajamas, for more imaginative fun. As usual, Honey Pot created clever stories with the playdoh she was manipulating!

And Little M&M made a volcano! He's been so interested in the story of Pompeii recently.

The play continued for a while, until both pinks were mixed up together into one.

WEEKEND - Additional Holiday Activities

The weekend is a great time for us to do a real hands-on activity. So today we extended our Valentine's Day theme, by completing the classic growing crystal experiment. It had been a long time since we'd done it! First we shaped chenille stems into hearts, and attached them to a ruler with string.

Then we brought water to a boil, and added 2.5 cups of Borax to it in a glass bowl.

We stirred it up carefully.

And placed our ruler atop the bowl to sit overnight.

We checked on it before going to bed that night, and were happy to see some crystals beginning to form around the bowl! (My Borax is several years old, only being used for growing crystals or making slime, so I wasn't sure it would still work!)

The next morning I pulled each of the hearts out of the bowl, and briefly laid them on a paper towel to dry. Once they were dry, I hung them up. They were just beautiful!

If you enjoyed this, take a look at our previous Valentine's Day themes!

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