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art and design, education, summer camp

Summer Camp Week 1 – The Inside Scoop

And so, week one of this year’s summer camp is over. My best intentions of writing this post over the weekend were thwarted when a previously canceled show was rescheduled for Saturday. Sunday was mostly spent being exhausted and silent. Still, better late than never! Here’s the scoop from last week – The theme was …

art and design, creativity, design, education, family, inspiration, kids, letting go, motivation, operate by interruption, parenting, Play, schedule, small business, spontaneity, teaching, textile design, Uncategorized, working from home

Why routine is my frenemy

I had a baaaad printing day yesterday. I made so many silly mistakes, messed up so many shirts. My head was fuzzy, and my heart was just not in my work. It was a thoroughly unproductive day. I think all the many, many snow days have thrown me off. Last week was like this: one …

crafter, creativity, design, family, inspiration, kids, motivation, multitasking, obstacles, parenting, planning, Play, small business, spontaneity, textile design, Uncategorized, work ethic, working from home

Snow, Baked Goods and my Printing Schedule

So, my resolve to blog at least once a week broke, last week. It just broke apart like a large, warm, flaky, soft, buttery croissant does… mmmmmmmmmm…but I digress, let me tell you more about last week. Last Week Last week it got very cold and snowy, and the kids had just one day of school. Then …

art and design, books, creativity, family, inspiration, kids, parenting, Play, spontaneity, Uncategorized, working from home

5 Good Things to Love

‘Macarons, trampoline, notebooks, unicorn, dancing, bike, box’ The above is a ‘list of good things‘ I found in my work room this morning. It was written by my daughter when she was about six years old, her likes have not changed much over the past two years. In fact, I like all the things on …

art and design, balance, BLOGGING, creativity, design, family, happy new year, inspiration, letting go, lists, motivation, multitasking, obstacles, operate by interruption, parenting, resolutions, schedule, small business, work ethic, working from home

Happy New Year…

…and so the first day of 2015 is here. I promised myself that I would start the year on a good note and put out a blog post on New Years Day, and voila, here I am, keeping that promise – I’ve got a good feeling about this year already. I read somewhere that listicles …

art and design, balance, BLOGGING, crafter, creativity, design, education, fairs and markets, inspiration, motivation, multitasking, planning, schedule, small business, Uncategorized, work ethic, working from home

A Blog About Not Blogging

It has been a looooooong time since I last blogged. Blogging is like exercising, once you get out of a pattern it is really difficult to get back into it. Somehow, something always comes up that needs to get done first. Laundry, errands, phone calls, the third season of Lillehammer on Netflix…hmm. I read somewhere that, …

art and design, British Indian, creativity, design, education, family, kids, learning, parenting, small business, spontaneity, summer camp, teaching, Travel, working from home

Towns, Cities, and Home

The last summer camp is done, and I’m off to England for my very well-deserved break (Says who? Says I!) feeling tired, bruised, but incredibly happy. I’m going home. I know, I know, Vienna, Virginia is my hometown  now, and it is indeed lovely and welcoming, and I like being here. However, there is always that feeling …

art and design, creativity, design, education, family, inspiration, kids, learning, parenting, Play, small business, summer camp, teaching, working from home

Self Portraits, Sundaes, and Silly Games

Another week of camp has passed, and I’m getting ready for my final, glorious week of teaching before I depart for the UK, and a month of rest and relaxation. I would really like to write a lengthy and descriptive post, like I did last week, but to be honest I’m tired. Knackered – to …

art and design, creativity, education, inspiration, kids, learning, motivation, parenting, Play, small business, spontaneity, summer camp, teaching, working from home

The Value of Playtime

This week’s camp was all about the five senses, so the kids spent a lot of time being hungry (taste, and smell seem to be the all round favorite senses, hands down, no big surprise!).

 

Work

We looked at Wayne Thiebaud’s heavily textured paintings of cakes and other desserts, and used palette knives to ‘frost’ our own paintings. We learned about Synesthesia, and discussed how artist, Wassily Kandinsky visualized sounds. The kids produced drawings of music, and sat bent over  paper furiously scribbling to The White Stripes, Bob Marley, Tchaikovsky, and hot jazz. We learned about color theory and color symbolism. We drew objects, while feeling them, and not looking at them. We gawped at pictures of scarification, and body art, and made a horrible mess working with clay. We made a lot of horrible messes.

The campers loved ‘Lick and Lather’ – Janine Antoni’s chocolate and soap sculptures, and had some amazing insights about her work, which led to a need for an ice cream party (any excuse!).  On Friday, we sniffed and identified different scents, and made little scent jars to take home and experiment with.

Yup, a lot happened, and that’s just the art. But, if you ask me, some of the most important learning happened during break times.

 

Play

On Monday, after a morning of working  indoors, I told my students to go out and play in the sunshine – “But, what should we play?” they asked me, “I don’t know, whatever you want to!”  I said, “But, we don’t know what to play! they retorted, “This is boring, can you make up a game for us?”.

I refused flatly, and mercilessly threw them out into the wild jungle that is North American suburbia. What happened? Well it wasn’t pretty, there was awkwardness, sulking, whining and a few fights at first, but by the end of the week, the kids were begging for more play time. They made up complex games, hashing out the rules in long, drawn out negotiations, and bonded beautifully. They even organized an end of week performance, made posters by themselves, and practiced relentlessly for it the whole of Friday afternoon.

I think free playtime is really important for kids. Sure, teacher organized play activities have their merits – I often organize games and activities for my students, but I also often step away a lot during break times, and that’s when the good stuff happens.

Who needs a teacher looking over your shoulder all the time? Alone, kids learn to solve problems and counsel one another. Free play fosters the building of skills such as negotiation, team work, conflict resolution, imagination, creativity, and problem posing and solving. My classroom is almost always a better place after a long break. I remember devising so many new games during my long recesses at school, so let’s let our kids get a bit bored this summer, and see where it leads them!

If you are so inclined, check out Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, & Ha Ha Ha,  the wonderful book I have photographed below; it is a great starting point for encouraging kids to just get out and do their thing! Also, There is a photo of a  fabulous novel for kids, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass, that teaches you about Synesthesia (I think that merits a post of it’s own!).

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