Eliana is in the middle of her City Project, but she has lost some momentum on it and is no longer wanting to follow through on all of her original ideas and goals. (Building an entire city, complete with houses, farms, zoos, stores and playgrounds is a lot of work!) Lulls in projects seem perfectly normal, so I’m not worried. I’m trying to respect the natural ebb and flow of creativity. I do know she is still interested in building and planning because, well, she is always building and planning something. She wants to know how everything is made and how everything works.

Mommy I want to see inside everything!

Me: You want to have x-ray vision like Superman?

Well, I don’t want to see inside the body, just machines. Like that (points to my Kuerig as I grab my cup of coffee)…wait, is that a machine?

Me: Yes, but you cannot see inside it. We’ll have to find something else you can take apart and then you’ll be able to see inside.

Yeah! Let’s do that now!!

This is when I wish I wasn’t going through a purging phase or dreaming of becoming a minimalist when we trashed old DVD players, phones and CD players. Why didn’t I keep them?? I’ll have to find something for her to take apart soon. Maybe my alarm clock. I haven’t needed that since I get woken up by one of three monsters cutie pies every morning.

Now that Eliana’s City Project has taken a back seat during project time, but the whole idea of constructing and building hasn’t, I have tried to introduce some new ideas to help her deepen her interest. My guess is that she is overwhelmed by her entire city, and that she really likes houses and other structures, but not so much zoos and farms. She may need some help narrowing down her focus. So, last week I introduced a new medium to build with, seeing as both the paper and cardboard houses have been put aside and any progress on other city landmarks have halted.

(Introduce marshmallows and toothpicks here.)

What can we do with this?

Me: Well, anything you want. Just stick the ends of the toothpicks in the marshmallows. I think more than one end will fit in each marshmallow. I’ve seen people make different shapes with them.

And off they went…
Eliana immediately made a house, added a second floor and many more rooms. (Yep, still likes to build houses!)
Stephen played around with some shapes. He discovered that he could change his square into a rhombus. Then he immediately went on to make a spider. (He has gone back to all spiders after taking a break from them to explore all sharks.) He did get distracted by the yumminess of this project.
In another attempt to help Eliana dig deeper into her love of building I bought two new books to have around the house. When I read the reviews for Iggy Peck, Architect I thought that Iggy was way too much like Eliana not to get it (he plays with his breakfast and builds towers out of diapers too!). Then I saw the creators came out with Rosie Revere, Engineer and I had to get it too because, you know, girl power and all. I’m so glad I did. We all enjoyed Iggy. The kids loved his creations and the fact that a bridge was made partly with underwear was obviously a hit with my 4 and 5 year old. But, after reading about Rosie (who I thought was just a little less similar to Eliana than Iggy) Eliana immediately exclaimed that she could be an engineer just like Rosie! Girl power indeed.

So, to encourage my little builder we have introduced new material to build with and read new books on the subject. We have plans to take apart something mechanical. She also made a new project journal made out of graph paper (inspired by the new books). We’ll see where this takes us!

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