Children in a classroom come from all walks of life and all kinds of homes bringing with them unique insight and imagination. Many years ago I introduced the concept of a home living 'center' to my classroom set up and watched the responses to it. I loved what I saw- the imagination, interaction, role play. Children are amazing and when given the opportunity they show us just how amazing they are.
A home living center offers us an opportunity to learn the value of family and home while applying Biblical concepts..and sometimes offers an avenue for children to step into the life of a Bible 'character'. Here the elements of our lesson become applicable to our daily lives, homes and relationships. Very little guidance, if any, is needed here...maybe an occasional cue as to the purpose of the center or a comment as to how the activity relates to the lesson.
So how does this make it in the box? Prayer and contemplation. For example, my last lesson was in Genesis when God made Adam and Eve. So, as my week of study and prayer came to a close the idea stuck me to plan setting up a picnic play area. Basket, play food/dishes, blankets and a few baby dolls would fit the bill. Adam and Eve lived in the garden, God provided them food, and they were a family. Okay, we packed it - now how does it work?
Set it out and they will figure it out. Children entered the room eager to explore the various things set about. One mentioned playing picnic..one decides to be daddy..one is a son. A little girl gathers food to put in the basket as a boy spreads a blanket. They cut food and share things- feeding the babies when, one exclaims the baby is sick and needs a doctor. One boy jumps up getting a spoon (car key) to drive them to the doctor, but along the way the car breaks down. Another boy puts the blanket on his shoulders and proceeds to fix the car (he is Robin, Robin helps). It's the battery..looking to a teacher he expresses need for a battery. She hands him plastic celery..no, he says, that is a screwdriver. Does that not crack you up?
In the end we chatted about Adam and Eve, the kids are just sure they loved picnics in the garden and maybe God loved seeing them have picnics with His food. I loved the creative imagination they shared using simple items and little if no direction from any of us.
Other items often found in the home living box....
fabric of all shapes, color, and size
dress up items and accessories
play tools, wood blocks or pieces
buckets, bowls, funnels and rice
dolls, kitchen items, table/chairs
The point here is play- children love play. It's a valuable tool for interaction and learning I wound not want to do without. Some days are less elaborate, and we do have to mix things up to keep from developing boredom. Home living is a regular, but not necessarily a constant in my box.