I’m wondering whether I’m going through a rocky time…this is my third post in succession about stones. I think I’ve been quite inspired through visiting other blogs and websites. For example, the Victoria and Albert museum have launched a World Beach Project that encourages you to submit beach art to their site. There’s lots to see already.
Gwynneth Beasley recently blogged about outdoor art and this reminded me about some lovely artwork 6 and 7 year olds at Kinellar Primary School created as part of an outdoor art lesson last November. The photos have been kindly supplied by Lucy Brydon, Visiting Teacher of Art:
What I particularly like is that the stones used are the gravel from nearby paths! The children had to find a clear surface upon which to work, or create one by clearing away the leaf litter in the school garden.
Naturally using whatever happens to be lying around is great for art work, creating minibeast habitats and many other activities. This Zen Garden in a Czech infant school is a lovely example of an attractive gravel pit. Children can make large scale stone art by drawing and raking in the gravel and moving around the stones. The ones on the side are actually green potatoes left over from a potato harvest.
I frequently get queries from course participants about my collections of painted stones and other rocks and how to source such material. In Scotland it is important that the Scottish Outdoor Access Code is followed. Always check by-laws at beaches and observe the Fossil Code. It is important to never remove rocks and stones from walls, no matter how derelict, without the landowner’s permission.
DIY stores and garden centres are often good places to look for a variety of rocks and stones. Decorative pebbles can also be bought from stores such as Ikea or Hobbycraft.
The pebbles used in the maths activity in the above photo have been bought from Au Naturale. They are semi-polished river stones.
Many children love throwing stones. This worries a lot of teachers who are put off using stones for play and learning purposes. The trick here is to teach children to throw stones safely. This will help them judge distances between themselves and other objects in space. Let them take turns to throw stones into a bucket of water, puddle or large body of water. This almost always works as a focus. Ensure there is plenty of distance between the child and other people, buildings, windows, cars, etc. In the UK it would be sensible to write the rules and routines around using pebbles into a risk benefit assessment.
Finally last year I blogged a couple of times about rocks: Reflections on Rock Collections and This Place Still Rocks. However, perhaps my favourite idea comes from Eric Gyllenhaal and his wonderful Salt the Sandbox blog. He also has more rock activities in his family’s Neighborhood Nature blog. The link takes you to the Collectors Garden on his front lawn. It’s a place for anyone to come and look for interesting rocks and fossils. What a unique contribution to benefit his local community!