Last Sunday was Open Farm Day. First off I must say that I was thrilled to have found out about the event before it actually occured instead of from an evening news report after the event is already over.
My only complaint was that the event was held on the weekend when I had no children with me – well, two of my sons tagged along but they’re really young adults not children. We didn’t have much time – weekends are busy times – so we only went to one of the participating farms.
With a time limit on our excursion we needed to pick a farm that was nearby. It was an easy decision – Perimeter Alpacas – because alpacas are basically the same as llamas and we LOVE llamas. Granted, alpaca isn’t nearly as fun to say as llama but seriously, look at them;
SQUEEEE! I just want to hug them;
I managed to drag myself away from the alpacas long enough to see some ducks and and a peacock family too – pretty birds but not soft and fluffy like an alpaca.
There were some other displays and sales of products from the farm. I bought a stuffie – handmade from alpaca fleece. After I paid for it the woman asked “Do you want a bag or are you just going to cuddle it all the way home?” — silly question;
Of course I would have preferred an alpaca shaped stuffie – they had one but it was out of my price range. Still, I do love this one too. My cats also love it but they’d like to shred it so I have to keep it out of their reach.
I’ve brought the stuffie out for the children to see/feel. It would be irrelevant to try to ‘teach’ them anything about alpacas without any actual experience with alpacas. However, it has been very useful for our discussions about ‘gentle’. With four infants/toddlers ‘gentle’ has become an important part of our curriculum.
Be gentle and take turns – difficult lessons even for me when you’ve got something so lovely that you just want to squish it and never let go.
Last month I bought some small stuffies from IKEA. They fit all my criteria for good playroom toys;
- Small enough that I can have several of them in the room
- Not too small for the infants and toddlers
- Inexpensive – they cost just $15 for all six of them
- And most importantly – can be used in a variety of ways
Since they were first introduced into the playroom they have been popular with all the children.
They were used during dramatic play in the housekeeping area – as a food source;
They went on adventures. This one is having a bath;
They frolicked in the field in the nature area;
The toddlers are impressed by the convenient ‘handles’;
And of course they are great to cuddle up with when reading a story;
Great connection to the book she chose too 🙂
I’ve mentioned before about how I periodically change the selection of toys available for play in the playroom. Sometimes toys are rotated out of the room because the children have lost interest in them and I bring out ‘fresh’ toys. Sometimes the change is made to make room for something that the children have requested.
Occasionally toys are removed from the playroom due to unrelenting conflicts over their use. Mr. Brown (name given by the children) was one of those toys. I don’t know why Mr. Brown was so popular but in a bin full of stuffies he was always first choice.
The last time Mr Brown was out the children would arrive and immediately rush in to get Mr Brown. If someone else was already playing with him there would be moping and sometimes wailing. Other stuffies didn’t have the power of Mr. Brown. Personally I liked many of the other stuffies better but I was in the minority.
Then problems began to arise over hiding Mr. Brown instead of putting him away at clean up time. The first children in the room would look in the bin for Mr Brown and discover that he wasn’t there. Arguments would ensue over who had him last and what they had done to purposely prevent others from playing with him.
Mr Brown and the other small stuffies were eventually removed from the play room and other toys were brought out. It has been more than six months and this week Mr Brown returned. He brought friends – some old and some new;
It has been interesting to watch the children as they negotiate the power of the new toys. New members of the group may have more importance than Mr. Brown. I also find it interesting how small stuffies are the toy of choice given the wide selection of toys available. Even the school age children are drawn to these toys over others.
The new farm toys are popular too.
It is just one of the toys I purchased from the Nature Shop and from my first ever visit to the new Ikea last weekend. I’ve already made a list of more toys to get this coming weekend. Mr. Brown has some competition.