Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Purposeful Outdoor Play

This List was published in the Waldorftoday.com  newsletter I subscribe to - entitled :
 The Role Of Purposeful Work In A Waldorf Kindergarten.  
I think its a wonderful list for all children - young and old.  Much of it could be tailored to fit an older child.  You would be amazed what children enjoy doing once they start.  Get outside and have some fun, yes, even if its cold or wet where you are.  I think we might have to find a log and make a chair (once it gets above 10 degrees)  Yes, right now most of the 50 states are below freezing, so maybe wait till it's a bit warmer - you shouldn't be uncomfortable when you are outside.   

Ideas for Purposeful Work Outside: 
The following list was gathered from Waldorf kindergarten teachers around the world. Those ideas noted with an *** indicate projects that are primarily done only by a teacher.

-Wash napkins, placements, or other cloth items and hang on a clothes line to dry. The next day gather and fold.
-Make a scarecrow from old clothes stuffed with hay. Have the children sew on buttons for the facial features.
-Make a straw or vine wreath. Have the children help to decorate it
-Make leaf crowns and garlands for display in the classroom.
-Build a leaf press, then gather leaves and flowers to press for use in future projects.
-In corn season: take off silks and turn husks down to allow fresh corn to dry for 2-3 weeks. shell dried corn. use husks to make dolls or wreaths.
-Dry harvested gourds for one year to make Thanksgiving rattles.
-Carve a pumpkin and save the seeds to plant in late spring.
-Pick up pecans or other edible nuts to crack with a wooden mallet and eat.
-Plant spring bulbs.
-Harvest garden produce, herbs, or flowers for plant dying.
-Plant-dye fabric for Michaelmas and other festivals.
-Dry herbs to make tea, potpourri, scented pillows as gifts.
-Thresh grain to grind for bread.
-Rake leaves or the sand box.
-Spread wood chips or mulch.

-Build and maintain a bird feeder.
-String whole peanuts or apple slices for the birds.
-Fill terra cotta flower pots with lard and sunflower seeds for the birds.
-Build snow men.
-Shovel snow for paths.
***Cut ice blocks for igloos.

-Spread compost for new garden plantings.
-Plant pumpkin, gourd, or other seeds.
-Plant flowering plants, summer bulbs, etc.
-Make flower necklaces and garlands.
-Make horse reins using finger knitting and a felt chest cover.
-Gather fresh moss for the nature table.
-Wash windows with vinegar/water and dry with old newspaper.
-Wash wool fleece. Use it for felting projects.
-Help the children make a foot felting wall hanging for the classroom.

-Blow bubbles with a bubble pipe made from straws or hollow pithy twigs reamed out with a screw and cut into small pieces.
-Wash outdoor tools, toys, furniture.
-Create a large outdoor weaving using vines, flowers, yarn, roving, grasses, and other found objects.

Anytime of the year
-Weed the garden.
-Water the plants.
-Turn and sift compost.
-Turn the jump rope.
-Organize outside storage shed.
-Cut corners from painting/drawing paper.
-Untangle classroom ropes.
-Pick up trash.
-Clear the underbrush from a pathway in a forested area.
-Build a tepee or hut in the woods with fallen sticks and vines.
-Sweep walkways. Help the children to make little brooms by attaching pine needle clusters to a stick with yarn.
***Make a broom.
-Care for kindergarten animals.
***Handwork: felting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, drop spindle.
-Clean painting boards with nail brush.
-Make a bench from two tree trunks and a plank nailed in place.
-Make a chair from a tree stump by cutting a log from the top halfway, then from the side to form a seat. Sand till smooth, then finish with oil and beeswax polish.
-Saw wood or branches.
-Sand woodwork items and toys.
-Sand cutting boards with fine sandpaper, then re-wax with beeswax paste.
-Sand the wooden play structure when splinters are found.
-Split logs with a hammer and wedge. Help the children to make a pretend hatchet from a stick and a large wood chip tied together with yarn.
-Make clothes pins from split sticks wrapped with wire.
-Mend toys, fences, furniture, etc.

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