Learning Through Play, Waldorf Home

How to Make a Waldorf-Inspired Nature Mobile

We love playing out at Grandpa’s house because there is so much to explore and discover outside! It is the one place I feel safe telling my kids to “roam free” because there’s plenty of land away from moving cars and people. Emma spent the first 4 years of her life living in a smaller house with no yard and lots of traffic. Because of this, she’s a bit timid to play outside on her own or to embrace the outdoors. Going to Grandpa’s gives us all a bit of fresh air and is the perfect place to encourage that good outdoor play.

Emma loves collections. Knowing this, I gave her a canvas bag and told her to collect as many leaves, twigs, flowers, or other items she could find. With permission, we rooted through the flower beds for some mums and a couple of hen and chicks succulents Dad had growing.

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We started with some simple leaf rubbings, but Emma loves to paint! She selected some fall colors from our tempura paint collection to use. She ended up painting the leaves a color and then stamping them onto paper. She also used a mum dipped in paint to stamp.   My favorite idea she had was using a twig as a paint brush! She said it was a little hard and didn’t work the way she thought it would.

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Here is her finished painting! I like that she used paint to sign her name at the top. 🙂

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Not shown in the top picture is a long stick she found hanging in a tree at Grandpa’s. She wasn’t sure what to do with it, but we rummaged in my craft room and found some twine she wanted to use.

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Being almost 5, I know it’s still a little early to learn to tie shoes. However, we did work on the first step as we tied the twine onto the twig. It wasn’t perfect, and I’m sure she will need help if asked to do it again, but she persisted and didn’t give up or get frustrated. This is a win in my book!

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She decided to have eight strands hanging from her twig, which was plenty of opportunities to practice tying!

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With some help, we poked small holes in the middle of the leaves. She then threaded the twine through the leaf. We continued until all of the leaves were used and all of the strings filled up. We capped each end with a vine, mum, succulent, or twig giving her another chance to tie some knots!

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And here is our finished product! I just happened to have hooks already on the walls in our main living area. It’s nice to add some real fall items into our collection of “typical” fall decor in the house.

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I also highly recommend displaying children’s handwork in a central location in the house where everyone (including guests!) can see it. When their work is displayed in a way we might hang a framed photo or a professional painting, it really builds up the child’s self esteem and shows that their work is valued just as much.

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This is such a simple craft, and I love that it was thought up and executed by Emma! I’d love to see more nature projects! What have you and your children made? Leave them in the comments. 🙂

Wishing you well,

Heather

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Learning Through Play

Momma Tip: Get Messy and MIU!

As a teacher, I’ve had many experiences where lessons did not go as planned; students did not find the activities interesting and so chaos broke out in the classroom. It is at these moments when you pack everything up, put it all away, and MIU: Make. It. Up.

This happened over the weekend with my kids. I was all set on getting some projects done around the house when arguments broke out, tears were shed, and toys were everywhere. So we cleaned it all up and went outside.

Sidewalk chalk is always a good go-to for us, but we had a bunch of tiny pieces that were too small to hold. We gathered them all up in a bowl and used small dowel rods to crush them up. We added some water to help. Many of our pieces were black, so that became the dominate color.

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Once everything was crushed up, it was pretty thick but not chunky. It was a good texture for finger paint!

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Emma did not want to get messy at first. She’s always been neat and tidy, never liking much mess. As a former Pre-K teacher and creative type, “mess,” to me, is usually a side effect of discovery, creativity, and ingenuity. I always encourage my children to get messy  as long as we clean up when we’re finished.

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It didn’t take long for both of them to really dive in!

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I mean, who doesn’t want their entire hand painted???

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I was surprised to see the black handprints dried a light gray on our driveway. Emma bear-crawled up and down the driveway with her hands covered in chalk!

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They were having so much fun, all I did was sit back and take pictures!

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…because who doesn’t love these faces?!

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Once we had exhausted our homemade chalk paint, I did find some old chalk paint markers. We decided to try them out. The colors were beautiful!

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The consistency was much thinner than our homemade version, but extremely vibrant. Both kids loved the drip patterns.

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I loved that the driveway started to look like a Jackson Pollock painting!

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The sense of joy that radiated from this little one as the colors dripped onto the driveway was amazing to witness!

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They both had so much fun! I could go through and tell you all of the wonderful educational aspects they were gaining out of it, but honestly, I was a momma that was simply happy that they were happy! We were outside enjoying the sunshine and some time together making art and getting messy. Our neighbor even came over to join in on the fun!

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I’m sure we looked crazy with the kids completely a mess, both sets of shoes, clothing, and faces covered in liquid chalk, and our driveway covered…

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…but I loved every second of it! Matt came home from work right in the middle of our little project. After being married to me for 7 years he’s learned to just roll with the punches when it comes to stuff like this. 🙂

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I’ll be sad when the rain washes all of it away. I’ve definitely taken plenty of pictures, and we can always mix up another batch in the future.

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So the next time you are in your classroom or at home with the kids and the chaos train starts rolling into the station, remember to MIU! I promise you the experiences will be much more meaningful and engaging when the children are interested in what they are doing. And who knows, you may end up with priceless art on your driveway in the process. 🙂

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Wishing you well,

Heather