Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dream House Diversity

One of the things I love about living in Austin, TX is the whole "Keep Austin Weird" slogan. In the everyday lives of my three boys, they encounter people of so many backgrounds and cultures (is hippie a culture? wink, wink). I feel so fortunate to live in a neighborhood where we can walk around and see a tiny, old home in need of some tender loving care sitting next to a large new, modern mega-duplex. Our 'hood is surely "keeping it weird", and with that we see so much expression and diversity.

BOOK: One of my absolute favorite children's books is The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. It is a fun story of self-expression and individuality. When a seagull mysteriously flies over a house and drops orange paint on the roof of Mr. Plumbean's home, he is left to determine what to do about. And his choices are not immediately embraced by his neighbors.  

ACTIVITY: In full disclosure, I rarely get the time to plan ahead on arts and crafts these days. My kids were acting rowdy when reading this, so I got out paper and markers. I quickly drew a vague outline of a house. I asked the boys to pretend they are the seagull dropping paint on their brother's house. One of my boys would close his eyes while his brother marked a spot on his paper, so that he would be surprised about where it "landed." They all took turns on that until everyone had an orange mark somewhere on their house. Then they got to be creative and design the house of their dreams.  

BONUS ACTIVITY: On your next walk around the block, ask the kids to guess which house in your neighborhood Mr. Plumbean would most likely wish to live in and why.

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