Archive | imagination RSS feed for this section

The Legend of the Smurf Head

20 Aug

Near the end of the school year my director purchased a nice storage box for our outdoor sand toys.  We moved the sand toys from the depths of the storage shed out to our brand new box.  We unearthed a few treasures, and some interesting pieces.

Such as a watering can that looks a little like this:

Except that our version is kind of creepy, in a beat up, 30-year-old sort of way.  Since it is a watering can, there is a hole at the back of the head and the hat is the spout.  It is one strange looking thing, and if I dwell on it too long I might have nightmares.

Anyway, when we cleaned out the toys I just didn’t have the heart to toss it out.  Maybe I was having a little nostalgia for those strange, little and blue cartoon creatures at that particular moment, who knows.

Fast forward to the next school day.

Prince Valiant, an observant, verbal and imaginative student of mine was digging through the sand toys looking for something to play with.  Suddenly he stopped, pointed at the Smurf head watering can, looked at me, and asked with a hint of disgust “What is that?!?” 

I picked it up and replied that it was a Smurf.  Prince Valiant’s precocious response was “I know it’s a Smurf.” 

 Then he paused to think a little, and firmly added “It’s a Smurf head!” 

I laughed and asked him if he thought it was creepy as I dropped it back in the box. 

He agreed that it was creepy, but then he looked at me quite seriously and asked in a very stern voice “Did you chop off that Smurf’s head and put it in that box?” 

I reassured him that no, I did not chop off the Smurf’s head and put it in the toy box, while desperately trying not to laugh. 

I was confident that he was satisfied with my answer, since he headed back to play in the sandbox.  

My confidence did not last long because when he arrived at the sandbox he announced to his playmates that the teacher (me) had chopped off a Smurf’s head and put it in the toy box.   

A few of the kids just gave him a look as if to say “Dude, what the heck is a Smurf?”, and the rest just went about their play . 

And that my friends, is the Legend of the Smurf Head, according to Prince Valiant anyway.

I still declare my innocence.

Mrs. V

Do People Realize…

22 Sep

Floor is Lava[1]

…that preschoolers thought of this game first?

When we have our large motor play equipment out in our big room, such as our climber, balance beam or  bouncy bridge, the floor beneath the equipment becomes lava. 

Every year I watch preschoolers play this game, and  every year I am quite amused by their imagination. 

Where do they learn these things?  Did someone teach them this game?  Did they hear it and see it on a playground?  Did they figure it out for themselves?  The questions remain unanswered.

It just takes one child to mention it, and several will follow that child’s lead.

The lava is already flowing in our classroom. 

I better watch my feet.

Mrs. V

And the words of the day are…

8 Jun

1. Disrespectment: Something disrespectful that causes embarrassment to another party. Example: According to my daughter “making fun of the president in a video game is disrespectment.”

2. Combinated: When a combination is combined. Example: According to my son “they were combinated to make the ultimate defense” (I’m sure he’s referring to a video game.)

3. Paradimensionalalienaphobia: This is the fear of aliens from another dimension. Example: According to my son (although my daughter agrees) “the aliens in Indiana Jones 4 can cause paradimensionalalienaphobia.”

My children have “combinated” actual words to come up with new ones. I really hope it doesn’t cause “disrespectment” to English language teachers everywhere.

Children are “funtastic” if you ask me!

Mrs. V

Use your imagination (part 2)…

26 Feb

My husband told me this story awhile ago.  He had a childhood friend, P. who loved the movie Star Wars.  (What boy didn’t back in the 1980’s?) Anyway, P. talked about playing “Star Wars” by himself out in his backyard and how much fun it was.  So, my husband decided to try this out.  (Huh?)  Apparently, my hubby had never thought of doing this before.  Granted he had 3 younger siblings (they are very close in age) and had plenty of playmates, so maybe he never had to play on his own.  My husband tried playing “Star Wars” all by himself in his backyard and found it “boring.” 

This story really surprised me.  I told him he was the exception, rather than the rule.  I spent many hours on my own, playing imaginary games, mostly about the books I read.  My sisters are 5 and 10 years younger than I am.  There were times when they were too young to play with, napping, or just couldn’t be outside unsupervised.  So I had to rely on my imagination for a playmate. 

My children who are very close (in age and in relationship) play these imaginary games together, but I’ve also seen them play them on their own.  When my son was younger his teachers would ask me why he would walk around the playground by himself (he prefers one/one play or small groups and large groups can stress him out) and talk the whole time.  Umm, he’s playing by himself?  I used to worry that he did that, but I remember so clearly doing that at school too when I was the same age.   I think it was his way of “decompressing” after having to be socially active in a classroom full of children.  My daughter doesn’t do this at school, since she’s incredibly social, but she does it here at home.  She’ll pace around and around our loop (kitchen, dining, living room areas) and talk through a “story.”   I have asked her many times what she is doing and her response:  “I’m telling myself a story.”   

My husband doesn’t really understand this.  (Well, he does, but he doesn’t understand how it can be entertaining, I guess.)  I still think he’s the exception rather than the rule.  I hope I’m right.

I guess I still use my imagination.  I have to, I work in a preschool.  I just find it frustrating that there seem to be more children who don’t know how to “tell themselves a story” using their imagination. 

Currently imagining myself on a beach where it is warm and sunny…


Use your imagination.

25 Feb

I remember using my imagination and could play for hours on end.  Both of my sisters had imaginary friends and had great imaginations too.  My two children at the ages of 9.5 and almost 12 have fabulous imaginations and rely on them for their “games” they play.  They tell joint “stories” together that are quite detailed and I think because of this they are both very creative children.  (That could just be proud momma talking.)

What amazes me how many children don’t use their imagination, or maybe they haven’t learned how.  I have several very bright children in my classroom who just don’t get it.  They are puzzled as to why I use a puppet and pretend that it’s real, and they are always pointing out the “unrealistic” aspects of a story.  For example, bears can’t talk and don’t wear clothes, so it really bothers these children that the bears are doing this in a story and they like to vocalize it, frequently.  Whenever a puppet is out, I am reminded that it’s not real.  I’ve found myself prefacing a story or the use of a puppet by saying “we’re going to use our imagination” or “let’s pretend.”  I’ve been working a lot on pretending and imagination.  It makes me sad when a child doesn’t know how to pretend.  It’s as if they’ve grown up too fast, I guess.

I suppose we could place blame on television, video games and computers.  My children use those things and their imaginary games are often “spin-offs” of their electronic environment.  However, they aren’t just mimicking what they see or hear, but they expand on it with their imaginations and creativity.  We do limit their time on these things, and we encourage plenty of free play.  Maybe that encourages their imaginations, I don’t know.

I wish I could impress upon parents not to rigorously schedule their children’s lives.  I wish I could tell parents to limit television, video games and other electronics.  I do tell parents to read to their children, everyday.  At least 3 storybooks a day, and repetition of these stories is important.  Let your children play.  Academics and sports are important, however so is imagination and creativity.  Imagination and creativity is fostered by free play, not work sheets. 

We have plenty of free play at our preschool and it’s nice to see these children grow with that element of our education.  I sincerely hope that parents are following through at home.  I’m hoping to express this at conferences, especially for the children who find it difficult.

Mrs. V