Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Balanced and Barefoot

Some photos to go with the past few blog posts...

Taking all four of my kids to Castle Park the day before high school began (Natalie is 16 and a junior; Leah is 14 and a freshman). Playing at Bella Sophia Threads. Fort building (King Zac with his crown, scepter, and sword in his sofa cushion castle complete with drawbridge). That morning at IHOP with the entire boys and girls cross country team. And, last but not least, my absolute favorite set of photos from the past week: Glorious Mud Play!!!

ready for back to school!

enjoying dried black beans in the sensory table
the drawbridge and the blue silk moat

the guys and gals of CCHS cross country

Our next Book Club book is Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela Hanscom. I'm really excited for this book study. As far as I'm concerned, these Mud Play photos are a perfect example of healthy open-ended outdoor free play. My friend and I had a wonderful time watching our boys play -- for well over an hour -- with the mud in the digging pit and a random collection of boards. They had a fantastic time building seesaws, ramps, and bridges; exploring pouring and balancing and throwing; working on social skills as they coordinated their plans for the materials. So much brain development happening. So much FUN!

Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for
Strong, Confident, and Capable Children

They had a truly great time and I loved watching the play continue to evolve as time passed. At one point one of them declared, "I'm a dolphin," and laid down on his belly on the bridge and moved his hands through the water like he was swimming, gleefully making squeaky dolphin noises. At another point I saw them walk the board like a balance beam and then smear it with mud to make it slipperier and increase the level of challenge. The really funny thing is that both boys are fascinated by gloves and mittens right now so they actually wore them outside (in August), but promptly discarded them so they could enjoy the sensory experience of the mud!

And, I was pleased to see, Zac followed the good example of his older friend and actually climbed into the mud pit. At the beginning of the summer he would NOT touch mud, so this was a huge milestone for him! I worked hard this summer to create lots and lots of joyful opportunities to get into mud play, and he finally got over his tactile defensiveness. Great job, Zac!

 time out for running in the field and throwing mud balls

okay, back into the mud

carefully packing a bag of mud to take home

Perfect timing! Today A Toy Garden sent out an email of back to school recommendations, including these amazing-looking Puddle Pants! The measurement is done European-style, with the height in cm of the child. Zac is 100 cm so he would wear size 104. Puddle pants are our next purchase.

Puddle Pants
They are thick, will not easily tear and are very well made. Free of PVC, phthalates, cadmium, and formaldehyde. Remains soft even in the cold. Sealed stitching is 100% waterproof. Machine washable!

And they have Puddle Coat, Puddle Hats, and even Puddle Mittens too.

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