The elementary school just celebrated our fall festival this past Friday. Since we have been studying planets, we asked the students if they could tell us one thing they have learned during their study on space that they personally found interesting. After a thoughtful conversation, this topic sparked an idea to create costumes inspired by their study on space.
Our goal with this activity was to push their creativity to and to have them think about and represent the characteristics of planets and space.
Some of the costumes they created were as follows:
- An Earth Wolf costume that encompasses the colors of the earth. The Earth Wolf has special powers that provides people with oxygen and the ability to breathe.
- A superhero costume that represents outerspace. This particular superhero has super human strength because he is holding all of the plants in his hands.
- A costume inspired by the clouds on Jupiter.
We encouraged the students to create their own fabric using a technique called Shibori. The children reviewed the past techniques they used to create fabric swatches and settled on Shibori, a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing, and capping the cloth. (Also known as tie-dye in America.)
Each child chose a pattern that best represents the characteristics of the planet they chose. Below are a few images of the first sets of fabric dying that we created! The next step in this project is to cut the fabric and create the actual costumes.
The most exciting part about this project is the children’s anticipation over the surprise pattern that will be revealed when we untie and remove the wooden blocks from the fabric.
There are several amazing things about this project… starting with its origins! Click here to read the blog post that first described how the children became interested in space. However, this particular project stretched the children’s imaginations very far and wide. If someone asked you to make a costume that represented space… I’m assuming most adults would either dress up like a Milky Way candy bar or just a planet (ha!) But the children took this project one step further, and we strived to provide endless materials in order for them to accomplish their goals. One of the principles we teach by with the Reggio philosophy is that children extend and deepen their learning and understandings through multiple, hands-on experiences with diverse materials. According to research conducted by Jensen and Eliot, rich, stimulating experiences provided in a safe, responsive environment create the best conditions for optimal brain development. In order to do this, it’s our job to provide open-ended materials like clay, paint, cloth, and tools for drawing, writing, and painting, in order for the children to see art as an extension of thinking, communication, and understanding!