Monday, November 21, 2011

Playing with the girls and how hands on play has changed my views of how to play with the children

I had being going on a bit of a play rut. The children were somehow growing to a stage where development happened so imperceptibly and yet so overwhelmingly that it was difficult to get it on paper. This was illustrated by the reduction in prolificity of my writing. Things were also happening at work which suggested change and increased responsibilities, responsibilities involving two feet long to do lists and responsibilities that I am still coming into terms with.

One of the hands on challenges, last Friday's I think, was cooking with your kids. The girls and I often putter around the kitchen together, making cakes, cookies (like the batch of heart shaped ginger cookies that we made for Anjali's school farewell). I didnt want to make another sweet thing, I have been having a bit of battle with my weight and have taken a soft decision to lay off juices and desserts. So the best thing to do was to make pizza.

Anjali had had a coupon to redeem from the girls' good deeds coupon box. They get about one coupon a day, on the average, which they could redeem anytime, . Anjali wanted to redeem her walk with nature coupon for a trip to the nature park. So, Friday evening, we cycled over to the park and played in the sand pit. And instead of taking the usual hands off, give instruction approach that i usually took, I decided to get in the pit and put my fingers in the sand, digging trenches for Anjali to pour water into and making little castles with Sophia to house her fairies. There is a little brook just across the sand pit, which makes a good source of water, to wash legs and sandy hands and also as water source to add spice and channels to sand play.

We biked past the market to get cheese for pizza.

On Saturday morning, Anjali woke up early and helped to do the following for the pizza. Saturday is one of those days where we have a deficit of vegetables and I tend to fish out stuff from the bottom of the fridge for lunch. The only thing that was left and was pizza friendly was the pack of cherry tomatoes. Anjali, who likes to cut vegetables, doens like to cut tomatoes in general and cherry tomatoes in specific, because cherry tomatoes are "rond, small and roll away". To top it off, they squirt juice on her as she cuts them.

It was a great opportunity to sit with her and work out the nuances of cutting the tomatoes. I showed her a couple and then let her to work while I let the sauce bubble and put the dough in the bread maker. Soon, we had, not only cut cherry tomatoes, but also a load of tomato seeds which Anjali cheerfully declared that she would plant.

It is important, I think, so facilitate creative ideas as thye crop up. So we cut up an old juice bottle and took it to the garden, filled it with earth and compost. Then the girls dug holes and spooned seeds inside them to cover up. We have had some luck with tomato plants so far, even though none have fruited, so I am somewhat optimistic about the plants that Anjali has come up with.

By that time Sophia was up and she also helped with the planting, and then we washed up and had breakfast. The dough was ready when the breakfast was done, and the girls helped me to spread the dough in the baking pan. Anjali used her hands to spread the tomato sauce on the dough and bboth girls helped in the spreadin of the cherry tomato and cheese topping. The pizza was ready for the oven and we went to the Make believe exhibition at the Science center.

Its amazing to see how many parents are taking up the initiative for developing exploration centered activities and exhibitions for kids. I have written extensively about the playeum and how much the children and I enjoy working with them. The girls had a nice time at the make believe exhibition where the order of the day was exploration. I believe that Anjali enjoyed most the construction station where the children had giant foam blocks for building. The thing was the these blocks were resistant enough for the children to climb on their constructions. Anjali's creation morphed from what was originally a tower of rectangles to some fairly complicated structure as she figured out that she needed to add supporting structures to her tower. I wish I had a camera, but I had left the phone at home.

We had pizza for lunch, the same one that we made at home, at a grassy spot in the Science center gardens.

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