Space and balance and comfort

Balance? Teetering? Toppling? No, just an occasional wobble. Who? Me? Um, maybe. Any more questions? Um, maybe…

Teetering? Not me!

Over the last three decades (three decades??!) I’ve mostly taught upper elementary and Junior High school students. My work the past month has been with students a little younger than that, and I’ve found myself crawling around on hands and knees in the mud, building shelters and making fire pits. In truth, this isn’t so different to when I’m working with older youth. Hands and knees? Check. Getting muddy? Check. Building stuff? Check. To house a small toy wolf? Erm…

Room to wander – and wonder

I’ve wandered quite a long way out of my comfort zone, learning to learn through imaginative play. I’ve constructed tiny shelters from leaves and twigs so “my” wolf feels safe and secure out in the wild. The young ones understand real wolves don’t live in actual constructed shelters (they know pigs build those) but they’ve really taken to looking after their wolves.

Space to play

Since the mini shelters, we’ve moved on to making real shelters for keeping dry, exploring different ways to keep the rain off using a tarp and some rope, or a lean to made from branches. Yeah, that’s more like it for me, comfort zone rediscovered! When we finished, it was back indoors to warm up and make a miniature campsite using popsicle sticks, paper and plasticine. Comfort zone lost once more. All I can say is I’m doing my best, and who knew I would be so consumed by creating a fire pit from plasticine? Consumed, I tell you. Well, if you’re going to do something…

I’m finding out the attention span of eight year olds is fairly short (yet remarkably similar to teens) and when you throw in a few emotional/behavioural challenges, things get interesting. A popsicle stick topped with plasticine can be a weapon? Yikes!

A long and empty stretch

All great fun, and a major reason why weekends full of space and free from too many people have become so prized. I have to find some space and balance! Wandering long stretches of beach, and wondering exactly how many strains of bacteria can live in or on plasticine? Did I forget to bring my wolf inside? How long will it take to use several thousand popsicle sticks?

Space and balance!

I’m not going to post pictures of my – I mean our – plasticine triumphs, but an older student, the one with the creaky, muddy knees, seemed very pleased with this creation:

Aren’t those foxes, not wolves, PC? Shhh! Use your imagination!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

21 thoughts on “Space and balance and comfort”

    1. Thanks, Jane! The weekend was good, a quiet one, much needed.
      I’d love to claim we made the little wolves (foxes!) but no, they’re plastic figures.
      I hope your week has started well!


  1. Loved everything about this post from Scout to the stunning photos and then enjoying your comfort zone expansion!! Somehow the wonder and imaginative play of children combined with your older student enthusiasm made this one of my favorite PlaidCamper adventures! Loved the wolf shelter, but now I may always be a little afraid of children with popsicles. Room To Wander and Wonder is a favorite title/photo and I’m glad Everton and the Spurs had a great weekend!


    1. Thank you! Beware small children wielding popsicle sticks – they’ll weaponise anything given the chance. They need the wisdom of Baby Yoda! Is he wise as a baby? We have lots of green plasticine…
      Many interesting games over the weekend, and pleasantly surprised by Everton (not getting too carried away, MUFC next, and they were very good in winning against City!) Mourinho is enjoying quite the honeymoon period. But doesn’t it always start that way and then…?
      Enjoy your week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish those teaching strategies employing imaginative play followed by imaginative work were more common down in this part of the world, but it sure is nice to see it happening there with you guys. Good going, Adam, and thanks!


    1. Thanks, Walt! It’s all rather more play based than I’m used to, but good fun overall, and meeting the needs of some young ones struggling to make a go of school. That’s not on the students, it’s rather more a system issue about meeting realistic learning goals for all kids, not kids being made to fit century (and more) old models. Best stop there, could go on for hours!
      I hope your week is going well!


  3. Love your photos and your description of working with your students warms my heart, Adam. It brings back fond memories of “messing around” with kids in my teaching days. Just letting kids be kids, using their imagination and figuring out the world on their terms. Bravo to you for being a part of that! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Jane! Teaching and learning can take many forms, but sometimes it can be a challenge to change thinking and explore how students can show they are learning – and make the learning engaging for those students not thrilled/able to handle “regular” classroom settings. Mostly, I get to mess about and call it work, and that’s not too bad!
      I hope your week has started well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed your wandering thoughts and wonderment here, pc. We foray into life and can find ourselves in places we never imagined, but that means we’re living and what a great thing that is. Loved how you brought us into your thoughts and then at the very end we get to see the blue and red foxes under their shelter. You’re a gem, pc, and boy oh boy are those students ever lucky.


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