Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Busy Bee

This hornet/wasp nest is a recent addition to our science study table. It blew down from the rafters of our unfinished barn and was abandoned by its creators. It is truly a masterpiece - a perfect blend of beauty, symmetry and amazing accuracy. It also served as a source of inspiration for yesterday's spontaneous rainy-day craft activity!

After a morning of swimming, tennis and errands, I arrived home, arms brimming with soggy suits and groceries. With yet another rainy day ahead of us, Chi-Chi was begging and pleading for a crafty activity. Not feeling particularly inspired or energetic, I grabbed a bag of plasticine scraps and a few Styrofoam shapes, urging the boys to "surprise me" with an interesting creation. With Chi-Chi and Muffy happily chattering away at the art table, I quickly went back to my laundry, grocery and lunch making duties, pleased to have them engaged in something quiet while I knocked off some chores.

My sweet Chi-Chi obviously didn't need much direction on this one! How could this boy have been seeking direction from me with such fantastic ideas rattling around in that six-year old head of his? He proudly presented me with his "wasp model", requesting that I assist him in designing a stand for his creation. More often than not, it is the unstructured, unplanned art activities that result in the most interesting and imaginative creations. Too often, I find we adults offer young children very structured, often contrived craft activities that leave little room for problem-solving, free thinking or imagination. I am certainly guilty of this. I also see the purpose of some of these craft acvities as they assist children in learning to follow directions and sequential steps in a process, while developing fine motor skills. My children actually do enjoy making such things. I guess, my thoughts are that we should offer a balance. Children need to learn to follow steps and directions, but they should also be presented with ample opportunities to simply create and experiment. Some of the boys' most awe-inspiring creations started simply with a pair of scissors, tape (lots!!) and a good rummage through the recycling bin!

He was adament that his wasp have a home, so Mommy did roll up her sleeves and offer some ideas and directions on this one. He is not-so-patiently waiting for his paper mache "hive" to dry. After a quick glance at the upcoming forecast, I may be looking to Mr. Chi-Chi to come up with more rainy day craft ideas! It's looking like a wet week!

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