Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Fine Mess, and also Geo Boards

Today was just one of my favourite kinds of days in our room - busy, funny and filled with happy moments.

We've been spending up to one hour outside mornings, and even though the temperature is abit cooler, and the sky has been overcast, we're loving the opportunity to run, climb, dig, and explore nature.

But this afternoon we decided to stay inside. The children had loads of fun just hanging out together, and as usually older children join us in the afternoon, we had a nice mix of ages.There was nothing particularly creative out, we just used whatever was on hand.

I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of our "fine mess".

A little bit of everything - a climbing block, a dress, building manipulatives, a shoe, a pig, some foam blocks.

More foam climbing blocks (we rotate these from room to room, it's our turn this week, and the children have been using them in many ways)

I had brought some larger plastic animals from home this week, and the children are enjoying these. (A horse, a sheep, shoes.)

Two children had enjoyed building towers here.

Someone was busy here.

The Beauty Shop

I have posted other pictures of our room, but they showed a relatively tidy floorspace. This is more what our room really looks like when we're busy playing.

The first daycare center I worked at as a permanent employee, was a wonderful, safe, creative place. However, we were finicky about "mess" - at center time each child would take a  "mat" (a rug sample of about 2x3ft.), and would be required to stay on this mat with their box of say Lego, or train, or puzzle or whatever. The children were encouraged to always stay on the mat, and not to play with others. I would find myself allowing the car children to start interacting with the block children for instance, but it was frowned upon. I'm so glad those days are over, and I can allow my children  to construct a "fine mess".

Melissa, at The Chocolate Muffin Tree had a great post, today on a box guitar she and her daughter created, and as well "snap" painting. It put me in mind of geo boards, so thought I'd post a picture of these here. I'll have to purchase new elastics soon, and put these out.


Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Your center looks so nice and inviting for children! Love the foam blocks and Beauty center! Cassie has a few tiny geo boards at her school, but I really want to get some for at home! Yours look fantastic! I know I would love playing with them!! Are elastics the worldwide name for rubber bands?
I should just create my own geo boards and make large ones and different sizes! Rachelle from Tinkerlab did a posting on these!
Don't you just LOVE her blog! Fantastic and always getting me to think!

Love your blog with all the pictures! What a nice addition to your site! I'm so glad I found you too!

Geraldine said...

A fine mess indeedy! :<)

Geraldine said...

PS: If you'd like to spread the word and this link re: the PAL campaign Brenda, please do. No pressure but I think it's a great idea and definitely one I know many teachers and students would enjoy.

Teacher Tom said...

It's gotten so that our classroom looks like a mess even when it's tidied up! It takes a special breed, I think to understand children's messes for what they are and to find beauty in them.

Wonderful post!

Pam said...

I'm laughing at the idea of even attempting to make a child stay on a mat with one tub of toys for "center" time! sorry- it's not really funny- I'm just not sure how you even managed to get them to actually DO it! :)

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi Tom, and Pam,
thanks for dropping in!
Mess is a sign of creative play, really and of lots happening. :)

Yes, it's really hard to believe we managed to enforce this rule, but we did.

Of course we still did have a gross motor area, with larger blocks that could be moved, and a dramatic play area, which allowed movement, in another level of the building.

This was in the late 80's and early to mid 90's, but I can't say other centers operated this way. It was just the way our director wanted things. I know why I preferred being outside if at all possible, as the children were free to play their own way.

I'm so glad things are different now!

Geraldine said...

PS: I left a reply re: LinkWithin over at:

I'm going to pop in at your other blog to check too.

I added your blogs to my followers list today.

Hugs, G

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi there!
Thanks Geraldine, for all your help!

Anonymous said...

Our house is often one fine mess! My girls always seem to want to bring toys from the room they are stored in to another room that might be more suitable for their current play idea. I just go with it and help them clean up later! Can't imagine trying to keep them playing an activity on a small mat; would never fly at this house! Glad you can let the mess happen.