I’ve been falling down on the job… I realized I could create a much more inspiring environment.
When the kids were little, we did a lot of Montessori activities. One of the concepts that Maria Montessori emphasized was having a prepared environment. A prepared environment, she believed, supports a child’s natural desire to learn. As the NAMC website put it, in a prepared environment “everything the child came in contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration. This calm, well-ordered environment has a lot of movement and activity. Children are free to choose and work on activities at their own pace.”
For my little kids, this often meant creating theme-time tables, bringing out and setting up activities on one particular theme like bears, firemen, the ocean and so forth as well as bringing out Montessori math, science and geography materials.
A while back I was mulling this over and realized that I really should prepare things a little better for my older kids. I haven’t been very good about bringing out our critical thinking activities, setting out board games or rotating in fresh, new materials. I cleaned off one of our table-tops and plan to rotate these in each week.
I also have a ton of holiday-themed craft materials and realized I should make those accessible to the kids rather than being tucked away in the cabinet. The kids can use these materials for more creatively than I could ever come up with!
I found the perfect basket for our craft materials at local thrift shop and then stocked it with whatever I thought might spark their imagination. I included pom-poms; pipe cleaners; embroidery thread; a star template; sequins; glitter; holiday stickers; strips of green, jingle bells; craft sticks; googly eyes; water colors; oil pastels; markers and strips of red and white paper with examples of how to make chains and quill designs;
I wanted to bring all this out of our craft closet and make it easily accessible. You should have SEEN the kids’ eyes light up!! They were just chomping at the bit to start doing crafts! Their crafts aren’t Pinterest-worthy or anything… but they show creativity and inspiration. It’s always the process of creating… not the end result that is meaningful.
I also grabbed the holiday-themed “How to draw…” materials that I’ve gathered over the years from Kathy’s amazing website, Art Projects for Kids. I taped them (temporarily) up on the wall so they kids can grab the ones they want. She has lessons such as How to draw a cardinal, How to draw a snow bear, How to draw an Elf and How to draw Rudoph.
These printouts on a wall really don’t do them justice. Definitely go visit some of her “how to draw…” posts I mentioned above! Hopefully your kids will be as inspired by her lessons as my kids always are!
Coming soon: Various holiday-themed printables you can use with your kids. See you again soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook page!