We like to look. And spend a lot of time in the alley ways around our house hunting for things, recording textures, and even hanging poems on trees. When I ran across Carla Sonheim's tutorial on blob hunting, I knew what our next alley adventure would be (and that I had found a great new resource).
We headed out with our creativity journals and looked for shapes that were made from stains, cracks, leaves, shadow or anything that caught our fancy. This exercise required that everyone really look past the actual items they were seeing in the road to the primary shapes that were revealed.
I was happily surprised at how much we got into this. Despite the fact that we were just going to collect the shapes (and then go inside with art supplies) they stopped to draw what they saw immediately.
In fact, I was unable to participate as much as I had planned because I was ping-ponging back and forth as each kid wanted to show the magical scenes they were discovering under their feet.
This reminded of a water painting project we did a few weeks ago.
These sorts of things seem so simple, but are really a linchpin of our curriculum. By just learning to slow down and look, and then imagine, kids' worlds are rapidly expanded.
They begin to make new connections and see fresh possibilities in even the most mundane circumstances.
Schools will not teach your children to see maps in paint spills or dancing men in sidewalk cracks. As this is not a quantifiable skill, you will not see it on any worksheet - which is why it is so imperative for parents to provide this type of experience for their children as much as possible.
This is not about raising dreamers, it is about raising thinkers.
Thinkers and doers who will create technologies, write novels and plays, and discover scientific breakthroughs because they are able to look at disparate information in unique ways.