Grass Stylists and Play Gardens

We finally had the opportunity to cut our “friends'” grassy locks yesterday. Thank goodness, as you can see it was getting a little wild!

Our Friends' Long Hair

First, we had to discuss how short we could cut it without damaging the grass.  The children noticed that the grass had two colors, light green near the soil and darker green on top.  The decision was made to leave at least a tiny bit of dark green so the grass would remain healthy.  Next, each child had to decide how they wanted to shape the grass.  Did they want it to have a mohawk? a crew-cut? just a trim?  We had many variations.  It was interesting to watch as they laboriously cut the grass with scissors.

Children who generally spend huge amounts of time on writing and drawing projects also took their time carefully snipping grass a blade at a time.  Children that  usually plan less when working with paper were more apt to chop, chop, chop away until there was very little left to cut.  Either way, it was a fun way to explain plant growth, the purpose of green plants in our world, and the parts of plants.

A Before and Two Afters

Moving on in the day, we were just as excited to see that our play garden had begun to sprout grass, as well.

I have many plans for this tub-o-soil and I can’t wait for the grass to fill in so that the children can begin using it as a miniature play space.  One of the projects we began yesterday will provide us with some lovely, tiny toys to use with this new garden.  Following along with this class’s love for fairies and magic, we’ve designed a set of mushrooms for the garden.  These were created using model magic and inspiration from a large group of images.

The children observed that there were many, many shapes and sizes of mushrooms.  They thought the red, flat ones looked like “jumping” mushrooms and the pitted ones reminded them of cheese.  While trying to figure out how to form one out of dough, they realized that almost all of the pictures showed mushrooms with long  rectangles or stems .  I explained that this shape was called a cylinder and could be found all over their world including within their own arms and legs.

Forming cylinders was easy of course since all of our students have mastered worm making.  The next obstacle we faced was keeping the stems upright long enough for the model magic to dry.  After fussing with countless droopy mushrooms and not a few frustrated exclamations [the children kept reminding me that it was “no biggie”], I remembered that I had a handy supply of tooth picks nearby.  A bit of poking and prodding produced a lovely collection of fungi for our play garden.  The children are itching to paint them tomorrow.

This lesson, of course, included a public safety announcement as well.  After a long discussion involving a tale of my childhood and random yard mushrooms, we agreed that absolutely no mushrooms must be eaten unless they come from the store.  So if your child balks at eating the next mushroom you produce on their plate, simply confirm its safe passage through the mushroom farm, to your local grocer, and into your soup.