First Day of Class

Reading nook

Wednesday is Laundry Day. It has been since we moved to DC almost six years ago. But the last couple of Wednesdays, I have had this anxious scattered feeling. Maybe because it is spring and I feel guilty for two things – not taking Lucy outside AND never actually managing to fold the laundry, which to Henry, doesn’t count as doing the laundry.

But yesterday was my first day of class. An e-class. And I think that I am hooked. The email link came at the perfect time, nap time. So I may be signing up for classes that “meet” on Wednesdays for the rest of my life.

Since giving up projects for Lent, I have fallen head first into all of these opportunities/ideas related to play. Specifically spaces for play. I am very excited, because I studied play for four years in graduate school. I have a Masters of Liberal Studies Degree from NCSU. I studied lifelong learning and cultural institutions and my final project was titled “Art and Play.” You may think, wow, what do you with a made-up degree in play? Good question. I imagine that these opportunities are the closest I will get to using my education.

So a link lead to a link lead to a link. And I came across this workshop for Playful Learning Spaces. After thinking about it, I decided it was a great creative project for me. I am really struggling to create much of anything at the studio. It seems that my creativity is really project driven and I just needed a break from projects. And based on the way my ideas finally started flowing, I think that play is a great new focus for me. For now.

The picture above was my first stab at creating a little nook for Lucy. I actually created it before class began. I simply moved a bin of magazines and placed a few books in a much smaller bin. So I haven’t submitted it to the class and I am missing a before picture. And it is probably in need of improvement. But I couldn’t wait to get started.

Yesterday while Lucy was sleeping, I watched the first week’s video, spent some time on Pinterest, printed out the recommended articles and add a few books to my Amazon wish list, which is more like a reading list than a wish list. At least I can read my articles without being on the computer.

Coincidentally I also started reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, which I picked up at the library. I’m only halfway through it, but it talks about how girls’ toys and interests have narrowed considerably over the last decade. As I thought about the dates of my play research, I was writing my thesis around the time of the origination of the Disney Princess marketing phenomenon. Interesting. I could go on and on about this topic. But I was fortunate to find this wonderful blog entry that referenced my Art and Play work last week.

Point blank. Play is serious work and I believe that our childhood experiences serve as reference points for our future work. It is important to have a wide variety of experiences to explore. Unfortunately the marketplace has narrowed this experiences greatly into princess-related play, because it is BILLION dollar industry. Why not. And playing with boys is icky, of course. So… I am hoping to be aware of this phenomenon and encourage a broader range of play.

I plan to start by creating some interesting nooks for Lucy to explore some of her interests of the day. Like bunnies, clocks, families and more. (And setting up a few regular play dates with her guy friends.) Of course, the topics will change over time. Now I just need to start working on my spaces! I can’t wait to share them.

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