Baseball, Bracelets, Bakugan, and the Big Tray of Fun


Oh, the sun. The glorious sun. We have brought out the baseball and gloves and are practicing throwing and catching in the back yard. Sean has raked the backyard so it looks more like a yard and less like a pile of dog poo and broken toys. We have polished some stones in our stone polisher and watched how they have changed gradually from ugly old rocks to beautiful gemstones.

We have made bracelets with UV sensitive beads which change color from white to colored when they are exposed to UV rays.  Even the bracelet hating boy is thrilled with this. They run around the backyard in circles with their fists thrust high above their heads yelling  “Ability Activate” at the tops of their lungs. Then they come inside and wait for the beads to turn white again. It’s great fun.

The phrase “Ability Activate” comes from Bakugan, which is Little Man’s current obsession, at about 8 months and going strong…we eat, sleep and breathe Bakugan in this house. One of the interesting things about having a kid who doesn’t go to school but still has schooled friends, is that there develops an interesting melding of passions and how to play them out. For example, Bakugan. A popular game involving throwing small magnetized balls (which you collect) onto cards (which you collect). The balls open up arms and legs when they land on the cards, and certain Bakugan have separate names and point values assigned to them depending on their attributes. It’s all quite complex. Elijah plays a version of the game with Sean that he has developed from watching Bakugan videos on the net, playing his Bakugan DS game, and using his imagination. But I have no idea at all if his game would be the same as the game kids are playing at school. What I do know is he has memorized the titles for each Bakugan (type, based on color and named after the elements …subterra, pyrus, aquis) and name (based on…personality?). He is doing some three digit addition to calculate the “g-power” of each Bakugan (the number on the Bakugan plus the number on the card). He sorts his cards before putting them away (the sorting is always into the same piles). He has made and decorated a carrying box for his Bakugan, and each time he plays, he sets out the cards in a certain way. It’s all very interesting to watch what a tremendous variety of thought and skills go into his “play”.

This is the big tray of fun. Last week we were using it to play with magnets. We got an earth magnet (a really really strong magnet) awhile back. This week I took every single magnet I could find in the house, as well as some money and a bunch of office supplies and put them on our tray  to play with.

The strewing tray (aka the Big Tray of Fun) is a simply a large plastic tray (I would prefer a whole table, but we have a baby so a tray I can pick up and move out of the way works better right now). I borrowed the idea of having a specific place for weekly strewing from here. Strewing is the act of placing things you think your kids might be interested in (but might not dig out on their own) in a place where they are free to discover them and explore them at their own pace and level of interest. The advantage of having the whole thing on a tray for us is that if someone wants to explore independently, the tray can be carried to a room, or anyplace the baby isn’t. I can tuck the Big Tray of Fun up on the kitchen cupboard when we are eating or otherwise using the table. And, best of all, having an ugly large orange item in my kitchen, in my line of sight, should serve to remind me to fill it frequently, instead of drowning in good intentions. Hopefully I will post the contents of the strewing tray each week, and if any other of my homelearning blogging friends want to do the same, we could strew our ideas to each other…spreading inspiration and fresh thought throughout the land. See? The Big Tray of Fun is a BIG BIG fun for everyone.


2 responses »

  1. i love the strewing idea! where did you get the uv sensitive beads, my kids will love them!!
    ah . . . so that’s what bakugan is all about. we haven’t got into that yet but the kids love reading their pokemon ultimate handbook. i’m sure they could all create a whole new world unto themselves if they wanted to combine bakugan and pokemon . . . ah, the imagination of little ones : )

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