I’ve started hosting a play group at my home on Sundays for friends and their little ones. The kids range from 6 months to 3 years old. I’ve wanted to do one since Gigi was a year old but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Big thanks to Jean Van’t Hul and her book The Artful Parent, which totally gave me the confidence to go for it. She devotes a whole section to hosting art groups. It was just what I needed to get started. These pics are from part 1 of our arty play group. I’ll post part 2 in a bit. I needed an activity that was simple and inviting, plus it needed to work for all ages. Water play was perfect. For the little babies, I just set out some scoopers but they were content to just sit with the moms and crawl around.
These girls, on the other hand, got right in there, scooping and pouring for about 35 minutes. They only stopped because we announced snack. A few of the moms were surprised to see how engaged the kids could be with simple water and food coloring. One of my hopes for the group is that parents go home inspired to try something new with their children at home. There are so many things that are so simple, yet so engaging for kids. Water play is definitely one of those things. Set up a few vessels, spoons, and scoopers and they’re off. Food coloring adds a great opportunity to identify and mix colors.
I recently attended an amazing one on one Reggio Atelierista training at Aspirations School of Learning and was inspired to set something up in Reggio fashion. I’m fortunate that my amazing husband and cousin Ted built this incredible playhouse in our backyard, which was also a great space for the kids to explore. I had a white styrofoam board set out on a little table along side all kinds of pointy things the kids could poke into the styrofoam. I just let the kids explore inside the playhouse as they pleased and sure enough, they figured out what to do in no time. It was especially nice for those kids who may have felt a little overwhelmed with so many kids and adults. It was really nice to have a more quiet space to retreat to. Next time I am looking forward to setting up some light strands and music in there.
So, this was part one of our first play group. It was about an hour and half long. Snack acts as a good transition to change things up in the middle. Stay tuned for part 2, which totally rocked in every sense of the word. I am so hooked.