Amanda is a Home Visitor with Today’s Family that decided to open her home as a Licensed Home Provider during the second provincial shutdown. Currently, she has six school-age children in care and is enjoying her time in her new adventure with Today’s Family.
Amanda is an RECE who brings her passion and skills into her work. Even during pandemic times, the quality of care offered by our providers has been consistent (but uniquely different) across all of our Home Child Care programs. The ability to enhance the imagination of children and the opportunity to learn through play is defined through this activity.
Amanda wasn’t entirely sure of how the Mud Kitchen started, but she quickly picked up on how the children would play while outdoors. They picked flowers, made piles of dirt, and mixed different natural materials together all on their own. Amanda saw that there was an opportunity to create a new and fun activity outside with the children that would foster senses of teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and imagination.
One day, Amanda brought out a series of materials for outdoor play: spoons, bowls, cups, plates, and a plastic coffee pot. Together, the children uses the tools and containers to gather and make new combinations of natural materials. While the children added weeds, blades of grass, and sawdust to their containers, Amanda made sure to ask thought-provoking questions to have the children vocalize their thought processes. This built upon their own imagination and brought creativity and curiosity into their play.
In the midst of play, it reminded one child of a baking show that she had seen before. The child came up with the idea to lead the group in a baking challenge. For each round she organized some criteria including the use of 2 to 3 requirements in each creation, recipes would have to have a crunch and something green, or a flowery taste and be somewhat smooth.
Changing up the challenge each round kept their imaginations growing and allowed their creativity to flow. They explored how the water changed the texture of the sand, dirt, sawdust, and flowers. The children had the opportunity to learn new words when asked to describe how their creations would taste and feel if they were eating them. They felt a sense of pride in their work after they completed each recipe, which helped them find their “inner chef”.
(Don’t worry: none of the Mud Kitchen Creations ended up being eaten by the children.)
The ability to freely explore the natural materials with their friends offered many benefits for the children. Each child was able to observe the others’ creations, which led to explorations of their own. They were able to talk with each other and figure out how different materials would act with each other. In time, they were able to reliably predict what effects adding water to different mixtures would have. This is an excellent example of learning in action!