Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspired craft and Sensory Games

We randomly met today upon Leigh and I making contact via text to conclude if the children and ourselves feeling the need to gather and my place seemed to work.

Sycamore Seed Craft


The seeds from the Sycamore tree have been falling and when Leigh talked about the possibilities for creating, the children jumped at the chance :)

Trampoline Game With Sycamore Seeds




We had been playing a trampoline game that involved myself (Penny) holding my hands in a cup for Sunae and Grace to fill with seeds then I would jump as high as possible and throw them all at once. The girls would run around and catch as many as they could then collect them all up again to start over. All the other children enjoyed this game so that kept us  jumping for a bit.


Sensory Games



Then it was back inside to learn about Occupational Therapy work some of Leigh's children have been experiencing, to work on sensory challenges. Fascinating activities, of which all children absolutely loved and seemed to benefit. I really enjoyed learning about how this works on the body, and different systems, and what it looks like which Leigh demonstrated. Having hands on experience of seeing how this calmed the children was amazing.

At one point I stopped to watch Mr 2 filling boxes with "things" and changing items in boxes he had found. Made me think if we had one of fish eye cameras for an individual child for a day, how much inspiration would we witness!

What's in The Box?




Then the children decided blowing bubbles in the previous used buckets of water would be fun, so in with the dish soap and bubble blowing began which subsequently move into imaginary games involving barbies, other toys and swimming in buckets :)

Buckets and Bubbles


The craft hadn't ended there. We had a pile of old CD's kept for using for craft activities or anything else that struck our fancy (lamp shade was one idea :)) So out they came with the PVA glue, to further decorate using a pile of shells that were also kept for craft.

CD/Shell Mandala's

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......and then some sand was introduced from the sand pit, nice touch :)


Any other ideas for creating with Sycamore Seeds most welcome, please comment below and we shall be giving it a go whilst the seeds are around!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Solar System Inspiration

The Solar System has been an ongoing discussion point and project creator amongst all if us since the beginning :)

Initially we had begun our model solar system by blowing up balloons and covering them with paper mâché. We were to discover that paper mâché for using in this way is quite a technique and even though some were painted all were too heavy for hanging in formation of a solar system without  some serious reinforcing.

So when one of the dad's came home with a polystyrene solar system we all jumped at the chance to paint and hang from a large round of cardboard that we painted black.

Model of Our Solar System




This wasn't the end of our project, with songs from youtube about our Solar System.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ-qLUIj_A0

And then the other one about the planets, we must have listened to these two about 100 times :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd_EIdZrvaU

Of course the books are endless.....

http://www.google.co.nz/imgres?imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-best-childrens-books.org%2Fsolar-system-kids.html&tbnid=68iINGg0vva0PM:&docid=vzSjiIC3uo4nhM&h=273&w=230

The grand finale for us in this part of the world is the Star Dome in Auckland

http://www.stardome.org.nz/

Leigh went with her children while they were visiting Auckland. It was special to hear their excitement and awe of the amazing place we live. I look forward to going there next time we are up that way with the girls. There are day and night time viewing with certain programmes designed for kids.

Possibilities are endless, please comment if you have any great ideas we can follow up  :)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A New Family to Join Us

We love having new energy join our group. This family lived close by though the older two boys stayed home as they have there own study they had chosen to undertake. So we had Mum and 4 yo, another girl to join the troupe :)

We started with a circle to share one thing we would like to enjoy together. I love how nearly everyone is able to immediately say what it is they would like to do together. And those that didn't can say after when they are ready and feeling comfortable.

Trampoline games were again the most popular choice and given we have quite a repertoire to choose from it is really fun to see how the activity pans out and which games are becoming most popular.

Something our family has been experimenting with is hair wraps, all the girls loved the idea of having their hair wrapped in embroidery cotton choosing interesting colour combinations and beads. So it turned out there were two Mums on this task with older girls giving it a try on a each other.

Imaginary games came high on the agenda with the collection of Ancient Horses growing so the horse knowledge of different species is also growing and this involved the girls all five of them at one point though at a different time all the children together played with the train track and trains.

Our new friends headed home to the rest of the family whilst the rest of us created home made pizza bases with chosen toppings going on each child creating their own. Pizzas were enjoyed then after a discussion on the solar system which is newly hung in our main learning room we all were off home.

Fun, laughter learning together :)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Blackberry Picking

It is a Wednesday our scheduled day to meet after a few weeks of having other commitments it was lovely to be together again and play, share, talk and generally enjoy each others company.

I love our flexibility with other commitments such as family and travel then be able to pick up where we left off as far as learning together as a group of two families at present (6 children) .....a few more families in the future is our vision.

The children played imaginary games, ancient horses, trampolined, ran in the garden, trucks and lego. Then we decided it would be a good day for Berry Picking a few minutes down the road where the wild bushes grow.

Plenty there for the picking

We half filled our three buckets. This activity has learning on so many levels. Picking from a locally grown source, being in a wild growing spot, which demonstrated the abundance we have if we are willing to look. Gathering food for ourselves, rather than having to rely on supermarkets, shops and multiple handling and travelling of food.

We then brought home the pickings and made berry jam, some of which we shared with Leigh's family in exchange for tomato relish and zucchini pickle.

As well as this we have this amazing location to pick in with stunning scenery all around

Mount Taranaki in the background

The mountain is always inspiring to look at x

New Zealand Unschooling Retreat 2014

What is a retreat?

To me it is about getting away from the world and daily routines, being amongst like minded people and feeling this form of love, support and connection.

Having space to go inside and feel the feelings, shift limitations and "let go" of that which does not serve us.

An Unschooling Retreat is where the whole family attends, everyone works together to create food, create activities, share talents......truly wonderful community spirit, something of which I believe many of us yearn for.

Before all the families arrived central area.


This was the third New Zealand Unschooling Retreat held here in Foxton Beach, the first I had attended.

I observed children of all ages mixing and playing from teenagers to toddlers.

I observed people from all walks of life greet and chat as if they had known each other for years.

I felt this safe space for sharing, giving, receiving and especially BEING oneself free from any expectation.

There were bunk rooms and plenty of space for camping.

There was a dress up parade, evening concert where anyone who felt inspired could share their talent. There was a market stall day to sell some things that people had been spending their time on. There was many people that brought along equipment and materials to use to show others what inspired them such as juggling, lino printing, felting, games.

Grace (nearly 6) said her favourite part was when everyone adults, children and everyone in between joined in for a "tug of war" there was children vs adults, boys vs girls, children vs bus.......it was very funny to watch and some of the younger kids simply would not let go of the rope at the end they wanted the fun to continue :)


There were some amazing connections made one on one as well as during the women's and men's circles. I am deeply grateful to those wonderful people who organised this event, thank you so much and it looks like there will be many more to come xx