Today was a pretty solid play day; really what a school vacation should be. Nate and Elli played superheroes outside while I did a few chores. Elli recruited me into the superhero crew giving me superpowers beyond my superhuman ability to do dishes. According to Elli my real superpower is to give super strength hugs to superheroes which gives them renewed strength when they’re scared. Pretty cool superpower! I’ll take it!
We certainly took advantage of this super gorgeous day and went to Lake Elmore to play in the sand. The kids even went in up to their waists for a bit. We built two lakes with a connecting river. Elli was a little bummed that I was unable to construct a working waterfall. Nate took over ownership of the town shortly after some friends arrived and directed them in what to do to build “his” town. Elli disconnected from the building project and joined Rachel to play school. They had so much fun that Elli announced on the way home that she was so busy playing with Rachel that she didn’t even miss Nate. I thought it interesting that Elli would notice this and even comment on it later.
After a stop home we set out again to the local playground to meet up with one of Nate’s friends. While they normally like to play boot camp both boys found it hot, and instead played in an area that is apparently forbidden during regular recess. It is forbidden because it is out of sight from the teachers. Today it was a shady rest spot on a playground without much shade. Playgrounds should definitely be designed to provide shade.
At the playground Elli often felt left out. While I don’t think the boys necessarily told her that she couldn’t play, she wasn’t formally included in their play. The fact that Elli was not familiar with their regular play stories compounded her feelings. However, I was pleased to see that she used her voice and let the boys know in no uncertain terms that she was feeling left out and wanted to play too. They listened and let her play. This brings up an interesting point. When Elli came to me and started to tell me that they weren’t playing with her. I gave her a voice instead of solving her problem. Like at ECHO, I encouraged her to find her words and tell them directly what she needed from them. As a result, she did and the boys validated her by including her. As adults we too often step into children’s play and solve things inadvertently taking away opportunities to learn assertiveness and independence.
On our way home Nate saw his art teacher who was out for a walk. He excitedly waved. Apparently seeing her got his creative wheels turning. When we got home he immediately asked Jeff if he wanted to go upstairs to the art studio with him (The art studio is a tiny room connected to our apartment that holds my sewing things as well as a variety of other creative materials.). Today it was wood sculptures. Then Nate made us each a medallion out of some clay chips I had from a project that didn’t come together as I had envisioned. Later I was putting winter things away and stumbled upon two sketch pads. Nate and Elli were both delighted to have them and immediately started intently drawing. As bedtime came and went they were still working purposefully on their drawings. Elli was chattering away telling me about how she feels happy when she’s drawing. Nate asked us to please be quiet so he could concentrate and finish his piece.
I can’t say how delighted I am that they rediscovered art on their own tonight. Nate has seriously been playing with art for a couple of years. When school started last fall he left it behind. He was often too tired by the time he got home to be very creative. This bummed me out. We constantly had art materials available, but overall he seemed uninterested. We did our best not to push him which was hard because he really got a lot of joy out of creating his art. Tonight that joy was back!
|The start of Nate's picture of a lake and mountains.|
His technique has changed. He drew the outline of the lake first
it in. Same with the mountains.