As you can probably tell from the numerous pictures, we had a really fun day (probably a solid 2 ½ to 3 hours) with an amazingly simple yet strikely complex item. Rocks.
Preparations for today actually began on Thanksgiving when Jeff and the kids cooked dinner and his Grandmother, Aunt and I made the hour trek over to the beach to gather rocks for a Christmas project, http://redbirdcrafts.blogspot.com/2009/04/mouse-stones.html. This was a great treat as we live a solid four hours from the ocean and walking on a beach at a grown up pace is rare anytime. We started collecting rocks and although I only needed about a dozen we were taken with the variety of shapes, textures, colors, and sizes. So I happily came home with a bucket full!
Today the rocks came out! A few at first and then all of them. Nate and Elli were immediately taken with them. Nate started building a rock wall, and Elli explored texture and size. We stopped, shut off our morning ritual of watching educational tv, and found Nate’s journal. He dictated a story about how George Washington had built a wall for kids to play on after collecting rocks at the beach. The wall fell down and now he was rebuilding it.
As the kids played, they learned. Which type of rocks stack well together; balance. They thought about the parts of our body and how they could use something as foreign as rocks to create a portrait of their Papa. Stories were created. Diesel train engines were made. Elli sorted by color and textures.
I was amazed at Nate’s attention to detail when I suggested that we could count the rocks by putting them into stacks of 10. I thought we would do this quickly and move on, but even this became an adventure. Each pile of 10 needed to be carefully constructed. Once we had our piles of 10, he counted them and discovered that we could count by 10’s. Early math!
One of my favorite sculptures came right before rest time when Nate was working indepently to build what I thought was going to be a catepillar, then possibly a lizard. Each time I asked him what it was he said, “Momma I’m not done yet, you’ll have to wait.” Finally he announced that he was done and that he had made a boy cow, a bull to be exact.
And of course with all this concentration on rocks we had to take a peek and see if rocks were mentioned in the Bible. Sure enough we found lots of references to rocks. We focused in on I Kings 19 where Elijah was waiting to hear from God. God sent a great wind that shattered rocks, but God was not in the wind. Then an earthquake, but he wasn’t there. Then fire, but he wasn’t there. Finally there is a still small voice and that’s where God was … speaking to Elijah. We talked about the importance of taking time to be quiet to listen to God’s voice in our own lives.
So what’s next? I’m thinking some science, rock games or rock art, but I can say for sure that the pile of 105 rocks in our living room will probably not get any smaller or be going anywhere soon!