We will not be heading anywhere close to warmth for this spring break. We’re counting on mother nature to bless us with unseasonably warm temperatures while we spend time hanging out and avoiding alarm clocks. Some of our time will be spent at the lake, some here, just playing it by ear. The no agenda plan, is relaxing enough.
Free time, for the boys, will eventually, and naturally evolve into something that involves conquering something. This will definitely be “at odds” with what the other brother is conquering. At times, the conquest may just be a brother. To ensure that the conquest will not remain, for the entire break, on accumulating points on the Wii, or a brother, I’ve been perusing the library for conquering prompts: Nothing formal. Just a few new ideas to get them exploring some vastly different enterprises.
For example, I volunteered in my son’s first grade classroom today. My job was to help the kids figure out how many triangles fit into an octagon. There were 3-dimensional triangles in a box that the kids could use to put them into the octagon. Some kids had trouble grasping the entire concepts… should I stand the triangles up right? No lay them flat. Some couldn’t think outside of the box enough to understand they could use more than one triangle at one time to fill in the octagon. Soon, the were fitting six triangles into the octagon, as the lightbulb went out. I love that feeling of watching that happening to a child… especially when they’re struggling with a word they just can’t get.. and then… Ah ha.
Once they were done, we had extra time, so the teacher said they could use the shapes in the box to make anything they wanted on the back of their paper. You would have thought she had just announced recess. They scrambled for their pencils, grabbed the shapes (there were diamonds, hexagons and all kinds of 3-d shapes on the box) and began making flowers, abstract dogs, spaceships… and they couldn’t tear themselves away from their seats when the time was up.
I’m still not sure what they found so appealing. Was it that they were free to do what they wanted? Was it the shapes and the creating?
Inspired, I’m getting some shapes. And, I went to the library explored some unexpected avenues for inspiration for the boys. Here’s a few of the books I’ll have casually lying around over break:
Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings: I have good artists here in this house. Everything they do is directed by a teacher. Rarely do they have time to draw anything that isn’t part of an assignment. The pressure to perform may be too intense… but we’ll see.
Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally: Might be a little too dark, but it advises you to laugh every time you see a bus. This could be good.
99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim
Anything that involves the use of my sewing “machine,” the boys are all intrigued. Denim into an i-pod case?
The Guerilla Art Kit: Title will attract boys.
AlternaCrafts: 20+ Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make I’m intrigued with the bandanna curtain — for his wanna-be-a-cowboy moods.
Creativity: 40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle: I’ve heard, they are beautiful AND functional. Maybe the boys will make me furniture.
Making Stuff for Kids: What else, besides glittery playdough, fills this book?
Nature in a Nutshell for Kids: Over 100 Activities You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less Stir up a tornado in a jar! Make elastic from a dandelion! To think I spent my own childhood deprived of this knowledge is more than I can bear. I will not let this travesty continue for another generation.
Nature’s Art Box: From t-shirts to twig baskets, 65 cool projects for crafty kids to make with natural materials you can find anywhere. During the recession, it’s good to know that nature provides us with an abundance of art supplies.
Recycled Crafts Box: I must meet the Dancing Tin Can Man. Not only is he made from tin cans, but he dances, apparently. I’m hearing now the market is down for recyclables. Here’s a way to recycle before the stuff hits the curb.
The Thomas Edison Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments (Wiley Science Editions): This book has already spawned one experiment. I’m intrigued with the “desk lock” project.
Science in Seconds for Kids: Over 100 Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less: Isn’t that the real problem with all of these craft project books? They are DONE in ten minutes?
Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook: Recipes, kids, stories from a world-travelling Mom.