Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch

When I didn't get any pumpkins for fall, I sent out a desperate plea to the parents of my students. They responded in the form of eighteen large pumpkins, two small pumpkins, and one giant gourd. It was a slightly ridiculous situation, one I will possibly post more on later. But, it was also the beginning of the newest dramatic play center: the pumpkin patch. Since we were planning a trip to the real pumpkin patch, it was good to get some practice picking our pumpkins. 
Check out counter where you pay for your pumpkin. 

Light Table with number plates and small acrylic pumpkins. 

The pumpkin patch with overalls and scarecrow costume for dress up. 

Decorate your own magnet jack-o-lantern. Different shapes are in the nearby basket. 

The fall pumpkin patch center! 

Fall sensory bin with pumpkins, leaves, spider, skeletons, corn, beans, seeds, etc. 

Pumpkin Drip Painting

Last year we did drip painting on wooden blocks. We made the mistake of using black as one of the colors and using fairly dark colors. The whole project dried into a bunch of black blocks. 

This year, I added lots of white with only the primary colors, hoping for better results. I let one of my students try it on a pumpkin. He needed some help with his colors, so I sat and narrated, 'You have the red bottle now. You used a lot of red. The red is dripping. Oh, now you picked the yellow paint. You poured the yellow on the pumpkin, too." 
Just getting started. At first he used very small drips and then got more into it as he progressed. 

It was neat the way it pooled around the stem for awhile and then eventually flooded over. I also had the idea of doing this in the outdoor classroom right over the water drainage making it the mess a zero issue, which was great. 

And the finished product really turned out looking neat! Of course, it's all about the process but a fun looking end never hurts. 

A Play Space at Home

When you're small and you learn through play, life is your classroom. Even though you don't need a fancy set up, I do think it's important for toys to be organized for even small children. They know what they can use, they have easy access to what they need, and they feel comfortable experimenting within space boundaries. 

My nephew is approaching two years old and another is on the way. There's no better time to prepare for the next generation. My parents have a retirement house, and this summer was spent working on the perfect play space. I'm just trying to help them be the best grandparents they can! 
Books: Low to the ground and visible. Easy to pull out AND easy to clean up. We simply screwed baskets straight into the wall. 

The kitchen is converted from an old entertainment center. It has space up top for extra storage. We replaced & spray painted the refrigerator door. 

Close up picture of the kitchen. 

Sink:  Bowl in a jigsawed hole. 
Faucet:  Donated from our plumber. 
Tiles:  Leftover from another project. Super glued around the edge. 
Stove:  Plexiglass spray painted black with round wooden discs painted black. 
Window:  Picture frame and curtain. (Going to add a photograph!) 
Utensil Hooks:  Key holder from Lowe's. 
Pots and Pans:  From Ikea. 

The kitchen table and art area. This table and chairs did not match... but they do now that they are both painted blue! 

Crayons are in baby food jars and in an old spice rack. We will probably eventually add some more art supplies, but that will be when older grandkids are using the space more often. 

The kitchen space. 

Buckets and baskets for manipulatives, blocks, people, cars, etc. 

Small building materials and accessories. 

The buckets are hanging on pot plant hooks. They can be removed and put on the table or floor. 

Again, easy to access and easy to clean up. Organization does enhance play! 

Trains to play with and wooden animals. 

The space is basically finished! As always, spaces evolve and change over time, but we're excited about this one getting some use soon. Our seven year old cousin has already dutifully taught the 18 month old how to make eggs on the stove. 

*You can also see a bed to the left... though its purpose is to double as a guest room, it is also great for a comfy reading area!