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The current norm for the education of young children weighs heavy on my mind.


We need to remember what it is to be a child.



Being a child does not look like being a "little adult".


It looks different.

As adults...as educators...as parents...we need to be cognisent that we ALWAYS keep on the front-burner what is absolutely best for the child...


not best for us...


but best FOR THE CHILD!


Red Paint in the Hair??!!

Lisa Murphy can be reached at www.ooeygooey.com (800) 477-7977



Red paint in the hair? Blue paint on the jeans? Sand in the shoes? Peanut butter on the favorite shirt? White socks that look brown?  Sleeves a little bit damp?


Your child probably. . . 

Worked with a friend

Created a masterpiece

Solved a problem

Learned a new skill

Had a great time

Developed new language


Your child probably didn’t. . .

Feel lonely

Become bored

Do repetitive “babyish” tasks

Do worksheets

Do “sit down” work that is not appropriate for their age group


You probably. . .

Paid good money for the clothes

Will have trouble getting the red paint out

Are wondering if your caregiver isn’t paying close enough attention to your child


Your caregiver probably. . .

Was aware of your child’s needs and interests

Spent time planning a challenging activity for the children

Encouraged the children to try new things

Made smocks available for the children

Was worried you might be concerned



Try to remember your favorite activity when you were four years old.  Was it outdoor play with water, mud dress-up clothes?  Young children really learn when they are actively involved in play – not when someone is talking to them.  There is a difference between “messy” and “lack of supervision”.  The caregiver made sure your child was fed, warm, took a nap, washed hands after toileting and before eating, and planned messy fun things to do because that is how young children learn!  Send your child to school in clothes that can get dirty!  Keep extra old clothes at the play site for times when the child gets really wet or messy.  If you need to take the child out, bring the dressier clothes when picking up, and allow time to change.  Keep calm.  Remember in a few years the teenagers will use the shampoo, mirrors and all the towels!  Young children need time to be kids.  If you have concerns talk to your child’s caregiver about active play!


Although not written by Lisa Murphy, this was shared with you by Lisa Murphy, Ooey Gooey, Inc. who found it a l-o-n-g time ago in the San Diego YMCA/CRS Newsletter, Summer 1996, who gave credit to OPTIONS Summer 1995 Newsletter.



This week we...

painted with a car tire...

visited with worms...

built a giant car ramp...

tied up our own rope swing...

 dug in some dirt...

tried on new eyeballs...

painted with spaghetti noodles...

 read some books...

celebrated a birthday...

mixed some mud potions...

crashed some trucks and tractors...

slept in cozy positions...

dyed eggs with baking soda and colored vinegar...

stomped around...

buried some friends in paper...

 made a unicorn...

climbed in some cubbies...


discovered a rainbow in the hose water...

 stood in a bucket...

made mud balls...

and much more...

all in just five days of play!



"Here Comes the Over-Painter!" - "Just Playing?"

Welcome to this week's post in the "Just Playing?" series!

Child Central Station

"Here Comes the Over-Painter!" - "Just Playing?"

Three boys playing together (I, N, and K), try to find a rhythm to their play as an odd-number.

While struggling to maintain posession of two indoor swings, all three boys begin painting on a large paper covering the entire easel-wall, and they create a game.

The painting begins as three individual paintings on the one giant paper, but quickly turned into a new game..."over-painter"!

One boy shouts, "Here comes the over-painter!" and paints all over the entire paper...over top of all three boys' paintings. 

For a short period of time, the boys spontaneously take turns shouting, "Here comes the over-painter!" Then the game takes an unexpected turn.

N- Look out! Here comes the over-painter!

I-No! You can't paint on my house. Our house has to be just orange! I don't want you to paint on my painting!

N-Okay. You can paint on MY painting!

I- (paints all over N's painting)

N-(paints on I's hand)

I- I don't want you to paint on me.

N- (tries to paint on I again.)

Me- N, I heard him say he does not want you to paint on him.

N- but I want to paint on someone.

I- but I don't want you to paint on me.

Me- If you want to paint on skin, you could paint on your own skin.

N- (takes off shirt)

K- (takes off shirt)

N and K- paint on themselves until done and then want to wash it off, "yuck!" (exclaimed in response to the washing...not the painting)


So we may be "just playing", but...

What are the children doing here?

What do you see?

What learning is taking place?

What skills are being practiced/developed?


Please share your thoughts about what learning you see taking place in the comments below, and follow the links below to other "Just Playing?" blog posts.



"Just Playing?" Ladders

This post is part of the "Just Playing?" series. 

 Child Central Station

Recently I happened upon a couple of $3 ladders at our local Goodwill store. I have no idea of their previous life, but here at the preschool their life is full!

These ladders are used by the children for a variety of purposes!

In the photos below, two little boys are found discovering the ladders being unused. 

They moved the ladders to their desired location with a purpose in mind.


So we may be "just playing", but...

What are the children doing here?

What do you see?

What learning is taking place?

What skills are being practiced/developed?

Thank you for remembering that young children do not “just play.” Young children play. They develop through play. They learn through play. They experiment through play. They grow through play. A child’s work is play. Play is important!

Please take a moment to reflect upon the photos and questions above. I would love for you to share your observations in a comment. I’d also like to invite you to “hop” on over to all of the other bloggers who are sharing photos of children learning through play this week:


Splat Painting

If you're looking to do a simple activity that is likely to be a big hit, just grab some knee-high nylon stockings, rice (for filling stockings), paint, a tray, and some paper on a flat surface!

Here is how we set up ours "Splat Painting" yesterday.

You'll need a dropping location to be elevated above the landing paper.

As you can see here, the children are learning so very many things through this play!

They are learning to take a risk by jumping in and giving it a try.

They are learning a bit about gravity.

They are working on development of their gross motor skills.

They are learning to think creatively.

They are learning to navigate social settings and learning to work with others.

They are learning how the paint "splats" differently from the ground level...

...which ties in with their discovery of how the paint behaves when stopped from moving at a high velocity.

So the next time you see children "just playing", consider what all may be at work in their minds. 

If you see additional things these children are learning, please feel free to comment below. We would LOVE to hear from you!