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In The Toybox

18 September, 2010

We’ve recently begun a unit of study called “In the Toybox”. It’s supposed to be a science unit of study but it’s basically impossible to keep it just as science as there are so many facets to explore.

We began by talking about what a toy is and the children drawing a picture of their favourite toy. Then we cut pictures out of a toy catalogue and glued them into their books. The children then helped to develop a symbol key (is that maths? I know it comes up in geography) to signify the age and sex of the children who might like to play with the toy, as well as whether the toy was unsafe for babies and what the toy was made out of, amongst other things. We talked about which toys were the best and we (well they) came to the conclusion that open ended toys that could be played with by people of all ages were the best. Well, they didn’t use those words but that’s what they meant :-).

We then looked at the famous painting called “Children’s Games” and looked at the different games the children were playing and what they needed to be able to play them. The painting is from medieval times and so any play equipment is very basic, such as hoops, sticks, barrels, and the like. I must show my children a modern interpretation of this painting showing what it would look like in the twenty-first century.
http://www.brucevanpatter.com/brueghel_painting.html

Alongside this we are also reading a book called “Lost. A True Tale from the Bush” by Stephanie Owen Reeder. It is a fictionalised (but factually accurate) account of three children who went missing in the Victorian bush in the 1860s and their miraculous survival. The book is of a new genre called “faction” which combines fact and fiction. After each chapter – a dramatised account of the facts – there is a double page spread explaining some aspect of life in the 1860s, such as housing, food or toys.

As we progress in our studies of toys we’ll look more at toys of times past. After we’ve finished “Lost” we are going to read Little House In The Big Woods, which precedes Little House On The Prairie. We are later going to make some toys of our own from books and then attempt to design and make our own toys.

I want my children to have a sense of how blessed they are to live in this time, in this country. I want them to appreciate how little they need and be thankful for what they have. I want them to be inspired to do creative things with simple resources. I want them to be creative. And we want them to learn to do what they can with what they have in the place God has placed them and bloom where they are planted.

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