September 30, 2018
Little squirrel up in the tree, runs along the branch so free
Gathering nuts to nibble and crunch, saving them for winter’s lunch!
Won’t you stop and play with me? No, no, no, I’m busy you see!
This time of year calls us to prepare. Like the approaching cold months urging the squirrel to prepare, life with young children calls us to be prepared; from the healthy snacks we keep in our bag, to the extra change of clothes, to the emergency tissue up the sleeve. As I was thinking about this week’s theme of “preparing”, one of our online students, Sol, shared this story:
We were at the beach and my child was playing with a silk scarf, completely immersed with it and the sand. I love that toys are not a necessity, you just use whatever natural element is available to you in your context and flow with it. I had an interesting moment that day because it seemed we were the only ones at the beach doing this; everyone else had a bag full of plastic sand toys. So a lady came over and laid down a bunch of her toys for my daughter to play with, as her little girl had many. I guess it was strange for us to not carry a bunch of toys to the beach. It was a bit awkward because I felt momentarily as though I wasn’t properly prepared with my child, and I couldn’t explain to her either that no, we would rather just play with the scarf and the sea shells and the sand. I think that is what is so magical about children putting their entire body, soul and spirit into everything they do, with complete presence.
We often think of preparing with “stuff”. (It’s not just the Boy Scouts whose motto is: Be Prepared.) I love Sol’s story, because it reminds me that by allowing our children to play with simple things (sand or a stick or a silk scarf), we are preparing them for a lifetime of learning and creativity. What preparations will you make this week, both material and non-material?
Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly editor
Keep your little ones warm with a DIY felted wool vest
As we approach cooler weather, our thoughts turn to warmth. One of the most satisfying parent evenings I ever hosted was one in which we talked about the importance of warmth for the young child, and each parent made his or her child a felted wool vest to wear during their outdoor play time at LifeWays Milwaukee. It was an easy, social activity for the parents to do together and the children loved their special woolly vests made for them by their parents.
Here is a tutorial for making a child-sized felted wool vest for your child. Adult-sized 100% wool sweaters for machine felting are easy to find at the local thrift shops. Just remember that it needs to be 100% wool (no rayon or acrylic, or it won’t felt properly.)
And, if you want to get fancy, here is a free decorative sheep pattern to add, for all you needle felters out there!
All natural window washing solution
Spring and fall are the times when we wash windows at our house. This is a chore little ones love to help with, because squirting and wiping are fun! An all-natural cleaner in a child-sized squirt bottle keeps everyone safe and engaged.
Green Living, from National Geographic, recommends this simple recipe, plus a few extra tips for the best window cleaning outcome.
- In a spray bottle, mix 50% distilled vinegar (white) and 50% tap water.
- For extremely grimy glass, prewash with very soapy water, then go to the vinegar spray.
- Got highly resistant spots? Try rubbing hard with a cloth dipped in undiluted vinegar.
To learn more about how to involve children in practical work at home or in your early childhood program, check out three fantastic books from our LifeWays bookstore:
- Life is the Curriculum, by LifeWays founder and executive director, Cynthia Aldinger.
- Joyful Toddlers and Preschoolers, by LifeWays lead teacher, Faith Collins
- Childhood is a Verb, by LifeWays teacher and mentor, Bente Goldstein
Nutkin and Twitchet
An original lap or table puppet story from Pamela Perkins
Nutkin and Twitchet are two squirrel friends
Who live in the forest down where the road ends
Racing and chasing up trees and down ( or: up hill and down)
They whisk and they frisk all over the ground
Whirling and twirling, they jump and they leap;
They flick and they flitter as they play hide and seek.
Skitter, scatter, chitter, chatter!
Soft furry flashes of grey
Gathering seeds, acorns and berries
All through the warm autumn day
At last they grow tired and so very sleepy
From nibbling and storing and play.
They head to their home in the tall pine tree
Where they’ve built their tousled twig dray.
One last peek at each other, then they pop out of sight
And Mother Wind rocks them, and sings them good night.
Autumn fairies gather
Day’s last golden threads
And weave gossamer coverlets
For small sleepyheads.
(Song: All Shall Be Well…or another sweet lullaby of your choosing.)
At last from his rocky root home ‘neath the pine
Mossybeard comes out into moon-and-star shine
High above, squirrels sleep without worry or care
Knowing that Old Gnome is guarding them there.
(Hum the same lullabye and cover all with a deep blue night silk.)[Thank you to Cynthia for the lovely singing! Pamela Perkins has worked with and for children in various capacities since 1970. A former Waldorf teacher, LifeWays graduate and home provider, she now delights in being with her five granddaughters, plus creating magical needle-felted puppet stories and writing gentle tales to nurture young and old. She lives in the Upper Valley of Vermont, and is working on her new writing project Silver Seedlings – Nurturing Tales for the Young and Young at Heart.]
List your program on the LifeWays website!
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