One of the almost-weekly segments of this site is called Creative Experiments, and last week’s experiment was to create something with Rubber Bands. Danielle and her daughter Simone were the first to participate with their Elastic Project, which you can view on Danielle’s blog. I love how they hung the piece from the ceiling. I’ve had rubber bands on the mind all week, and thought I’d make a fun paintbrush out of them. To make it, I secured about six rubber bands of roughly the same length to the back of a paintbrush with another rubber band, wrapped tightly. Now, keep in mind that this is an experiment, and sometimes experiments don’t go as planned!
To get the new brush into action, I pulled our easel out of hibernation because N lost complete interest in it a couple months ago (and it takes up way too much real estate to go unused). When she woke up from her nap she took one look at the easel and immediately complained that the paint pots were missing their lids. Where was that “I missed my easel and I’m so glad to see it again” enthusiasm I had hoped for?! I should probably back up and say that 90% of the time she wakes up from her naps grumpy, but still!! Once she settled into being awake, she said she would paint with the caveat that we collaborate, but she wanted nothing to do with the super neat-o rubber band brush that I made. That’s fine, of course, but I hoped that at least the novelty of it would appeal to her.
So, up there you can see her yellow marks surrounded by a few red rubber band painting marks made by yours truly. The texture created by the brush is pretty random and silly, and I imagine that a child inclined to paint at an easel (unlike mine. sniff, sniff), would probably enjoy testing one of these out. When I was her age I adored easel painting, so this obviously comes as a surprise. But I also know it can’t hurt to keep offering the materials, and if one day she’s ready they will be there for her. There it is: Rubber band experiment 1.0.
My daughter never plays with her doll house that I spent loads of money on and would have died to have had as a kid. She basically hates dolls. We have a thousand and they are all bought thinking more about what I wanted as a kid than what she loves. Luckily my second daughter who just turned two is really getting into the dolls so it wasn’t all a waste.
Oh, I forgot about our dust-collecting dollhouse! (Another thing I also loved as a child). I notice that as my child grows older I’m smarter about my purchases for her with the knowledge of her interests. But when she was a toddler, I probably picked out things that were more about me than her…and we’ve had this easel for a good, long time! Back to the garage it goes until my baby is old enough to stand!
I love your honesty and YES there have been many things I’ve been literally bubbling with excitement for her to try and she kinda looks at me funny and says “no fanks Mum” and walks off! Those are usually the things I don’t blog about, but maybe I will be inspired by this to post those occasions too.
I love your simple, artistic new look by the way. Maybe one day I will work out how to make mine look a bit better!
I almost didn’t blog about this either, thinking “who would want to read about that?” but now I’m toying with the idea of making this a regular part of my site 🙂 I think it helps to hear that everything doesn’t go as planned. And thanks for the nice comment about the site. I like it for now, but I’m a perpetual tinkerer… 🙂
again rachelle we are speaking the same language. I have been wanting to ask you all week “how many times do you set up a project and it gets the big shut down?” I find it happens to me and then I’m scrambling for the next project. though at times it organically works itself out. ” how about we do this instead mom!!”
hey danielle, it happens all the time! and this is partially why i’m partial to activities that require few materials and easy set-up. i’m learning!!! the organic solution that you mention is the best exit strategy, and I think it helps children problem-solve (how can we turn this into something fun?).
Oh how wonderfully fun!! We took on this experiment challenge after we read this when it first posted!! I will submit my photo on the posting!
Something my kids don’t get into as much as I did (and still do!!) is playing puppet show! I bought them this elaborate theatre with loads and loads and loads of puppets, we even have a bin full of tickets, cash drawer, money, popcorn bags etc…As soon as they pull out the ticket bin, they start selling tickets to the show through the theatre and never ever make it to the show! ahha! It turns into a store, a drive through a dry cleaning window etc…it is rarely ever used as a puppet show though 🙁 (Well unless I put on a show by myself! haha)
Hi Michelle! That’s too funny — they’re inspired to be front-of-house rather than behind-the-scenes! I’m sorry to hear that all your wonderful props are going unused. I wonder if you took them to see a real puppet show, where they could actually see the puppeteers in action, if this would change?
Little M ALWAYS has her own agenda, so I have learned to except that she probably won’t be interested in doing what I have planned. Once I get over the initial pout though, I usually end up loving the cool twist she puts on it.
The thing we did most recently was we spent all day making magic tree houses. (Big M, Little M, and I spent hours on the details.) They haven’t touched them since. . .and now I don’t know what to do with them. They are way too cool to throw away, but so big!
Hi Jillian 🙂 Magic tree houses sound amazing! I face the same issue all of the time, and often resort to documenting the creations with my camera before sending them off to the trash 🙁 You could always leave a picture of the trees here (I’d love to see what they look like!), and they’d be preserved digitally for a good-long time!
I’ve been pondering this one all day (and I’m finally feeling better, thank you!!). I think I might have been initially disappointed when my oldest didn’t really take to knitting, but not surprised. I taught him as part of the Enki curriculum, although he had shown a little bit of interest on his own. All my kids have seen me knitting since infancy and dip in and out of interest in what I’m doing. G pretends to knit, and I’ve sat her on my lap and helped her manipulate the needles (while my heart just liquefied, I tell you). I’ve taught my boys the basics of knitting and how to chain crochet. Neither has flown with it, but again, I’m not surprised, and you never know when something will resurface later on.
I could probably get all psychology-speak and talk about how it feels like a child is rejecting a core part of you when they aren’t interested in what you’re interested in, but the flip side is that they have their own amazing interests to share. It’s really, really amazing when a child shares a passion, but equally amazing in a totally different way when a child is able to lead the way.
Hi Amy, I’m so glad you’re feeling better! I’ve been sick for the past five days, and look forward to summer already. It’s so important to share our passions with our children (as you have with knitting), and if they pick up on it then great! If not, that’s fine too. I’ve read your last comment a few times, and what I love most about it is what you say about how amazing it is when “a child is able to lead the way.” So true! And isn’t that what our job as parents is all about — giving our children the tools so that they can forge their own path.
🙂 When we make rubber band brushes we usually use about twice as many rubber bands and cut the ends so they are more brushy. They rot eventually and we make more, but they are generally a fond staple of our paint brush jar, I’m sure she will like them eventually!
I like this idea very much! I’ll have to make a few of these for myself, at the very least 🙂
What is even better is to see the enthusiasm for a toy, game, or project unfold in the eyes of your grandchild, and hear their surprise when they find out that their mom or dad used to like to play (etc) the same way.
Excellent post. I’m going through many of these issues as well..
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