Published by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 03:22 PM

Two readers have started doing projects about building and buildings — I thought you might like to see this provocation of photographs (mostly taken from old National Geographic magazines) that we set up in our block area.

(Old National Geographics are ubiquitous and wonderful for collaging. You can find them in the free box at garage sales, very inexpensively at thrift stores, and often offered for free in Craigslist. You might also inquire at your local library — people tend to donate them, and they may have some extras to get rid of.)

Play is serious business. At stake for us are the ways we socialize and teach future generations of scientists, inventors, artists, explorers, and other individuals who will shape the work in which we live. — Arthur Molella, Creativity at Work


Comment by Candy Cook on December 12, 2008 at 04:54 PM

I have hundreds, if not thousands, of National Geographics ranging from the 1910s & 20s to our present day subscription. They are so totally neat. I leave very old ones sitting around the house. Everytime I think of putting them to use by cutting out photos and such, I find myself reading the magazine and deciding that.. no.. not a good idea to cut it apart. LOLOL I guess I should work on getting duplicates.

Comment by Angel on December 12, 2008 at 05:06 PM

Thanks, Lori! I knew I had forgotten something when I placed my latest order for art supplies - cork board! I am slowly putting together resources for our city project, enthusiasm for which has been diminishing a bit as Christmas approaches... but I'm fairly sure it's just because, you know, CHRISTMAS, and not any real diminishment in interest for the project. We're using David McCauley's building books -- City and Building Big -- as reference/inspiration right now; my 12 yo spent a good long while reading through them the other day. And I plan to pull some of our books into a basket for easy reference as well. (And will probably do a post on it.)

Hopefully we'll have a good base for our city this weekend, as I may finally have time to go poke around in our stash of scrap wood, etc.

For your readers, here is the url for our city project so far: , in case any one is curious. :-)

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 05:22 PM

hi angel :^) yes, i agree, it’s hard not to be derailed by Christmas, especially when you are at home! i’m sure when things calm down again on the other side their interest will revive to its former level. :^)

david has a book “castle” that our kids *loved* -- be sure to check it out!

thank you for sharing your link, and i am going to do a post soon that rounds up some of the other projects people have started -- should be awesome! :^D)

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 05:25 PM

candy, i know! we had a complete double set from the 70s through most of the 80s. we used one set for collaging and one set for keeping in one piece and reading articles, etc.

for collaging, we would just cut out an entire basketful of images and leave them in the art area and let the kids do the rest.

i finally had to give up the giant collection, and i only kept a few favorite issues, mostly focusing on places we have visited. (but i kept ALL the maps ;^)

Comment by Lynn on December 12, 2008 at 05:35 PM

Ooh, you've got my juices flowing now! We get hand-me-down National Geographics from two different ladies in our town...I'll save one copy of each issue for research and use the other for collages!

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 06:26 PM

lynn, excellent! :^)

Comment by Kerry on December 12, 2008 at 06:33 PM

We are actually reading that Castle book right now - we love it!

Comment by allie on December 12, 2008 at 07:05 PM

I have been thinking about building projects this year because of the incredibly enthusiastic work that happens in the block area. The books and pictures are a wonderful addition to the area -- did your boys choose the photos or is it family inspiration?

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 12, 2008 at 08:40 PM

hi allie, this was actually at my private school in the preschool room (mixed-age group ages 3 through 5). we put this up in the block area as a provocation, and we filled face-out bookcases that were perpendicular to this with books like the ones kerry is talking about -- books about buildings, castles, boats, bridges. then we left them for the kids to find and explore!

Comment by Queen of Carrots on December 12, 2008 at 08:44 PM

Oh, how neat. We have a block bin that comes in and out rather than an area, but I just realized I could tape something like this to the lid!

Comment by Amy on December 13, 2008 at 12:01 AM

What's a provocation? I kind of get it from context, but I'm unclear on the use--should I be finding pictures of Jupiter (and dinosaurs! what a mix!) and putting them up, or is a provocation something you'd use to get ideas for a project flowing?

I wonder if I should post on Freecycle to try to get old National Geographics...?

Comment by Lori Pickert on December 13, 2008 at 12:53 AM

Q.o.C., that’s a great idea!

amy, a provocation can come direct from a teacher or parent — a question or suggestion or idea meant to spark a reaction in the child — or, and this is what i am usually referring to, it can be something done deliberately in the child’s environment in order to, again, provoke a reaction.

i talk about it in this post --

this is meant to spark work, so if your child is already working on a project, i would let it be and let them be in charge. wait for a time when things slow down, then you might try one of these ideas to get the ball rolling again.

freecycle is a great idea!

Comment by Michelle on December 13, 2008 at 02:18 AM

Love the idea of the building collage to go with our blocks! I'm going to have to dig up some old magazines.

Comment by SnippetyGibbet on December 15, 2008 at 10:55 PM

Funny. I'm doing architecture with kindergarten, first and fourth grades now. (And under the banner of 'architecture," I'm sneaking in a gingerbread house painting this week....shhh...I don't think my supervisor would approve.)

Comment by steph on December 17, 2008 at 07:53 PM

we keep old magazines for this purpose, too, and we find them at our local library in the collection bin

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