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Archive for August, 2011

“Attention is the starting place of every intuitive story. In order to make up a story on the spot, we need to start. We need a seed. We need a launching pad. And the world is ready to help you. The world will surround you with seeds and a launching pad and all you have to do is attend. Pay attention. Look around. Listen. Smell the air. Taste your food. Feel your feet in your shoes. Be there. Then the magic happens.”

~ David Sewell McCann in “Attention: The First A of Intuitive Storytelling” on The Wonder of Childhood

(I highly recommend his whole series of posts on intuitive storytelling — wonderful way to think about making up stories!)

And of course there’s always more delicious playful food for thought:

“The Case for Imaginative Play: Emotions and Fears” by Christie Burnett on Childhood101

“A Scavenger Hunt (and make)” by Jean on the Artful Parent

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Earlier this week, LP and I were visiting with our neighbor, M and her dog. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon to sit in her backyard. M and I were enjoying coffee and a chat, her dog was curled up in my lap while LP romped around the yard.  After too few minutes there, LP ran up to us, eyes alight, calling out “let’s do a treasure hunt!”

Such beautiful energy. And I didn’t want to set up a treasure hunt.

Fortunately, M had an inspiration and said, “I have something for you to hunt for.  See if you can find a blue flower that’s in this part of the garden.” She pointed to indicate an area with plants that was close to her and I could see that there was a solo blue flower peeking out from under a large green bushy plant.

LP happily hunted and when she found and picked the flower.  The treasure hunt evolved from there.   M offered her a glass jar to hold the treasures. She dropped the flower in and asked for the next clue and then raced around to find “something under the lemon tree.”  She brought back a lemon and dropped it in and M gave her the next clue to find a flower that grew by the birdhouse.  When she had that, I gave her the next clue of finding a leaf from a plant that she could eat (basil).

LP enjoyed her treasure hunt and we enjoyed watching her AND still got to have our chat. It was pretty easy to spot things around the garden to include in the hunt and the game came to a natural end when she decided to pick lemons instead.

I’m looking forward to trying out our on-the-spot treasure hunt again. Perhaps next time we are in the woods or on a nature walk….although really, we could do it around the house too.

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“As adults we have preferred areas of interest, activities and ways of learning. So it is natural that children do too. But that is not to say that we cannot (or should not) introduce them to other types of activities, to help them discover new potential interests, passions or  ways to play.”

~Christie Burnett in “But my Child Doesn’t Like to Play _____” on Childhood101

And some more playful food for thought:

“Baby-Led Adventures – 5 Reasons Babies Need to Lead” by Janet Lansbury, Elevating Child Care blog

“Worth repeating: The value of creative play and The Case for Make Believe” on Parents for Ethical Marketing

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The best kind of imagination game?  One led by a little person. This kind of game is especially appreciated when it 1) comes at the end of a day with a lot of whining and 2) is played happily by the little person almost completely solo.

Late this afternoon LP spontaneously created the Dinosaur Snow game which really turned our day around. Here is her recipe for Dinosaur Snow fun:

Take two dinosaurs named Roar and Roar.

Dress them for the snow.

Find a deep hole (previously dug for an imaginary friend and then deepened for LP in a prairie dog mood).

Submerge dinosaurs in a colander of cornstarch.

Hold Roar and Roar over the hole and shake.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

LP also recommends covering the adjacent rosemary bush with dinosaur snow and climbing into the bush and singing a song to Roar and Roar while they hide in the colander of snow.

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