Strewing is the very fine art of placing items in seemingly random locations. It provides the opportunity for creativity by allowing a child to stumble upon materials in a natural way, thereby encouraging their exploration, without the child feeling watched, expected to perform, or otherwise pressured.
Summertime is a wonderfully natural time of year for parents to practice the art of strewing. With the weather, shall we say, cooperating, your creativity canvas instantly widens and everyone's natural curiosities and unique ways of learning begin to show themselves in extraordinary ways.
The important thing to remember about strewing is that it is vital to place items in high traffic areas for your children to discover without you ever saying a word. This means tables near chairs they often sit in, in cracks of the couch, or even near the toilet. Outdoors in the summer that could also mean on your patio table, on porch steps they might linger on, under a shady tree, or near the front door where they might be waiting for others to get ready to go.
Outdoors in the summer, there is great opportunity to place new and interesting items for kids to stumble upon. Try placing seed packets, buckets, shovels, magnifying glasses, muffin tins, binoculars, chopsticks, bird books, plastic crates, harvested corn, collapsible telescopes, nets, baskets of sticks, recycled containers, small brushes, chalk, pieces of wire, boxes, a globe, and forgotten toys that can handle outdoor use. If you have a patio table or some other workable space, try laying out art supplies, paper and staplers (always a favorite around here), a nice set of watercolor or sketching pencils, and even a few coffee table books that might spark some imagination. Place a set of binoculars next to your collection of strewn items and see what happens.
Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
There is nothing like movement to cause little eyes to take notice, become interested again, or perhaps discover it for the first time. As the summer progresses, don't forget to rotate your strewn items around the yard or throughout the house. And with each rotation, add a few new items and take a few things away. You'll soon find that a little bit of outdoor strewing can go a long way.
Enjoy those summertime discoveries!
Originally published in 2010.
A home that encourages creative thinking and expression would include:1. At least one adult (preferably more) who engages the child with thoughtful interaction and also models wondering about the world and a desire to learn.2. An understanding of... read more