It snowed yesterday, and today it rained…all day. But it was the second day of the Nook, and so our spirits could not sag. Zahra, Noah and I packed up for a day of exciting, new opportunities. (Leila, because she was coughing a lot, stayed home with Saïd.)
First off was Knitting Circle. Kristin did a great job with our group of beginner knitters. I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel really blessed to have several friends with this great skill. Zahra is very keen on it, and Kristin picked the perfect first project: a stuffed bunny. It’s an easy, little project that requires the knitting of a square and some clever folding.
Those who weren’t knitting found other pursuits, among them board games. Jordan and Noah played this in the morning, and then Noah was hooked. I must have played this with him four or five times in the course of the day.
After Knitting Circle was Drama Workshop, led by our soon-to-be-famous actress, Anjali. In fact, she was bursting with excitement with the news that she and Maya had just landed parts in a new BBC/Nickelodeon production. This combined with years of being immersed in the acting world means that Anjali is fully prepared to lead a group of her peers in a drama workshop. Her confidence shone and the kids participated in the doling out of roles for The Paper Bag Princess.
Kristin, meanwhile, equipped others with buckets and umbrellas, and we trudged through the slush-covered mud at the farm. Last night, I had texted Kristin with another idea, suggesting we might need to keep “Nature Hour” inside. She insisted that we should get out in all kinds of weather, even this freezing slush rain—and she was right! As we walked to the barnyard, we found animal tracks. We fed the lambs and then went around the barn to play with buckets in the slush. The older boys decided to go back in to play board games, but Kristin managed to keep the little ones out the whole time! I loved seeing the pile of wet boots at the door.
Lunch and more board games, and then it was time for Cindy’s Science Series on anatomy. It was billed for ages eight and up, but everyone was drawn to her presentation. The older ones scribbled notes in notebooks. The younger ones listened attentively—especially when she brought out “Richard”, this fantastic anatomy model with removable parts! Noah, who insisted he didn’t want to join, hung on my back, listening furtively. Cindy had the kids stretch out a piece of string to show the length of the intestines of an average adult.
After science, it was time for our older kids’ art workshop. And today, we had the pleasure of welcoming local artist Deirdre Potash to the Nook. Deirdre is behind ArtWill Studio and she does art programs in schools all over the area in addition to her own private classes. She had 20-something kids around that table, ranging in ages from three-years-old to thirteen-years-old, and she pulled off a beautiful and fun project that engaged every single one of them. They worked with plasticine to create medallions. Zahra chose to represent the power of wind on her medallion, and Noah (who normally shies away from art) created a beautiful fire medallion. It was entirely good fortune that just last Monday, I had read Barbara Reid’s The Party to our story time group. Reid’s books are favourites in our house, including The Subway Mouse, Fox Walked Alone, and Perfect Snow. The author makes all her illustrations with plasticine. It was fun for the kids to work with it themselves.
We thanked Deirdre for leading this great activity at the Nook, and the older kids took their spots for my creative writing workshop. We talked about why they write (because my mom makes me was a favourite response) and what they write. I asked them what they thought the benefits of a writing workshop might be. They were all very attentive and enthusiastic in their responses. I gave them a writing prompt (I remember…) and 15 minutes in which to write as much as they could think of. I asked if anyone wanted to share what they had written—and almost everyone did! I was impressed with what they had come up and thoroughly enjoyed their enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next week!