Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Being Creative with Chestnuts and Following the Paths of the Imagination

Over the last few week chestnuts have been hammering down from the enormous tree behind our apartment. One collection gave us over 300 of these beautiful fruit. I wanted to make some chestnut figures of animals and people. ( gave me some knowhow.) But we actually ended up making roads and racing cars around.

Sticking in Cocktail Sticks

To make animals with chestnuts I needed scissors and cocktail sticks. I used the scissors to make a little hole in the outer shell and then the cocktail stick went in pretty easily, but not easily enough for a three year old to do. I had to press the stick in with the hard floor, and it often broke, and it was hard to remove. So for my three year old it got a little boring. He liked making people, but the “little man” wouldn’t stand up, so we made it into a snowman. We also made a spider and a cat. There is a special tool available for making holes, but I didn't order it in time! Try this Drill for Chestnuts if you need one.




The next day I started to make a train, but it looked more like a caterpillar, and he was more interested in rolling around in a big pile of chestnuts. So that is what he did.

Big Pile of Chestnuts

Then we counted them. This became a really interesting activity for him. We had never had so many things to count before and he was interested in how we could possibly count so many items! We put them in rows of 10 as he is comfortable with this number. He helped as we went up to 100.

100 Chestnuts

Then he watched as I did some more rows, then played around with his cars as I did the rest. In the end he politely listened as I told him how many we had (316) and then drove his bus straight though them all. He loved destroying the neat rows!

Bus in Chestnuts

So we made some roads as he wanted to transport some chestnuts in his trucks. We drove them along the paths we made. This was such a simple thing to do yet sparked his intrest. As he drove his cars around, he moved carefully and with great control so as not to destroy the road edges.

Loading a Truck with Chestnuts

Road Made with Chestnuts

Later on we came back to the sea of chestnuts and explored them in more detail. When I started drawing faces on them, he gave them names. Then we made up a few stories with them. Again we had found an unplanned game and created a lot of laughter.

Faces on Chestnuts

Much of the play we did with the chestnuts was made up as we went along. I had wanted to make more things and get crafty, but maybe next year he will be a more willing sculptor. This year, pretend play is definitely top of the list.

Cars Driving through Chestnuts

Our big box of chestnuts gave us many surprise opportunities for counting, pretending and conversation. My first thoughts had been to make things, stick things and create something to keep. But sometimes I have to remember that the creative process takes different paths, often unexpected paths, and each one is food for the imagination.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jumping and Counting with Painting Tape

One day we were measure how far B can jump using some painter’s tape. This tape was the perfect thing for quickly marking how far he went each time, as we didn’t need scissors and it is easy to take up too. This tape has become an important part of our craft cupboard as it is simple and quick for both of us to use. It is great for finger control as he picks at the end and strengthens them as he rips the end.

A Roll of Painter's Tape

After jumping long distance, I had the idea that he could jump from one piece of tape to another. I could place them in shapes or spirals or around the room. He loved the idea. It became a perfect opportunity to practice counting as the tape is easy to write on. 

Tape with 4 written on it

He’s an expert at counting up to 10, but higher than that still needs practice, so it gave him opportunity to recognise the higher numbers and hear them over and over as I said them and he jumped up to 20. A few days later, I heard him practicing on his own!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn Begins

We had a lovely summer. We spent time in the park, on the balcony and building lots and lots of train tracks. Trains are my three year old's passion at the moment. Living in Berlin without a car, we ride trains here, there and everywhere. So it isn't surprising that they are important to him.

The weather was unpredictable and I found it easiest to take each day as it came and follow my kids' lead. Craft was put on the back burner as we lost ourselves in pretend play, buckets of water and football. 

Now the days are shortening and I'm looking forward to painting, baking, cutting and sticking. I will be following my favourite blogs for inspiration and I hope to bring you our twist on some great ideas at least once a week.

I'm looking forward to your comments and feedback.