Up until the 3rd grade, I attended a small co-op that was essentially run by parents who hand-picked teachers -- one per grade level, of course. It was a very Kumbayah experience and one I've always hoped to recreate for Ethan when the time comes for him to attend school. Like most co-ops, the learning was very play and nature based. Emphasis was put on the senses, imagination and personal interpretation. I keep all of these fundamentals alive in Ethan's learning to this day and think it's fun when I can recreate something for him that I specifically remember doing as a child myself.
These potato stampers fit that bill. I can clearly remember stamping with carved baked potato halves despite the fact I likely was no older than 4 or 5. This is increasingly strange considering I couldn't tell you what I wore yesterday or what I ate for dinner two nights ago, but I suppose these are the foundations for learning that parents and teachers hope cling to you as you grow older. I thought of these potato stampers a few days ago when Ethan and I were at the grocery store and he was completely hellbent on selecting baking potatoes from the produce display despite the fact we already had potatoes at home. This activity popped in my head and I let him select some potatoes, excitedly preparing myself for the fun we'd have after naptime.
Of course, what you don't recall from your childhood is the precision it took to carve the potatoes. Something about life being easier when you're a child and an adult does all the dirty, sharp, dangerous work for you. With four potato halves to work with, I carved a rectangle shape, an "E" for Ethan, a heart and a starburst (which was supposed to be a star but, well, I'm not the best at these things so I improvised).
Ethan had an absolute blast stamping with the potato stampers. I had an absolute blast listening to him attempt the word "potato." We've been taking the week off from life to work on keeping Ethan strong and healthy after a run-in with a cold that didn't leave him desperate for breathing treatments for the first time ever, and I'd be lying if I said this week wasn't absolutely fun in spite of Ethan not feeling his greatest. My little artist may have selected a new favorite art tool: potatoes!