I have been waiting an entire year to write this blog post! OK, so my blog has been live for only seven months, but I knew that if I ever started a blog, this topic was definitely going to be featured! And now, I can finally share one year's worth of memories and authentic learning experiences that my tot and I have created through something we like to call her "Special Door."
So, I decided that my tot and I would spend our afternoon decorating the windows with fall leaves and pumpkins. When I brought everything up from the basement, my daughter's little face lit up with excitement! We spent some time looking at each paper decoration, naming it, talking about colors, shapes, and sizes. She helped me tape some leaves to our front windows, but she wasn't keen on the idea of putting away the decorations that were left over.
I thought about allowing her to tape them to the refrigerator, but scraping scotch tape off of stainless steel didn't sound like something I wanted to do down the road. So, I opted to let her attach the decorations to our old wooden basement door. Our house is more than 100 years old, and this particular door is quite shabby looking anyway. What harm could it do?
My toddler had a blast decorating the door, and I think it turned out pretty great! Here's a photo of her masterpiece:
Once the fall season was over, we took down the decorations, and the door just seemed boring and empty. Hmm. Should I dig through the classroom Christmas decor? Why not?! So began our Special Door decorating tradition. Since last year, my daughter has decorated her door for all seasons and most of the major holidays. Here are her winter, spring, and summer doors.
There have been many learning opportunities that have presented themselves through decorating the Special Door. First and most obvious, my tot is learning about the seasons and holidays. While she decorates, we talk about the weather, special outings we will have during the season (building snowmen in the winter and playing in the rain puddles in the spring), and holiday traditions (Easter baskets, Valentines, etc).
Decorating the door also allows my daughter to express her creativity. Throughout the year, she's become more strategic about where she hangs things, and she's beginning to take the color and size of decorations into consideration when she makes her placement decisions. She's also created her own decorations for the door. This past summer, she made Paper Plate Ice Cream Cones and Watermelons for her summer door (see the summer door photo above). Below is her Easter door, for which she used watercolor to paint bunnies.
If you happen to have a place in your home that your tot can decorate, I highly recommend giving it a go! Not everyone has an entire door available, but using a large whiteboard or the side of a filing cabinet would work well. Your tot can also attach seasonal decor to bulletin board or wrapping paper that is mounted to the wall. Seasonal cardboard decorations are relatively inexpensive if you purchase them at the dollar store. Another option is to have your child make a few of his/her own items. Something as simple as printing free coloring pages or cutting shapes from card stock and letting your child free paint would be enough please your little one.
Do you have any seasonal or holiday decorating or crafting traditions that your children enjoy?
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