Our Week in Review: Sorting Buttons, Making Books, & Tracing Snowflakes

If you ask Silas, last weekend was about as perfect as a weekend could get. Daddy didn't have to go into work at all and we were covered in a blanket of about ten inches of snow, which led to much shoveling and warm drinks. That's perfection according to this almost-four-year-old.

Exploring Art

We spent another week playing with finger paint, although this time I gave Silas plexiglass to paint on rather than paper. The idea is to keep the focus on the process rather than the product and painting on a surface that will only temporarily hold the paint and be washed when we're done helps us to do that.

He made comments in the days after doing this painting that he "didn't like" the way the paint felt on his hands, which was a complete surprise to me because he dove right in and really seemed to be grooving on getting his fingers into the paint, spending a lot of time squishing it between his fingers and rubbing it into his skin.

Since discovering that he could use the tips of his fingers to make negative space drawings, he has been really focused on doing so. He makes similar drawings in the frost on the front door window when we let the dog out every morning.

Although it completely runs contrary to the whole temporary nature of painting on plexi, we couldn't resist an opportunity to do a little printmaking and pull a print from  what he had painted. He added some handprints.

Another day we noticed the shadows that our window stars and snowflakes cast on the dining room table and did some tracing.

Watercolor Painting

Silas chose to paint with orange and purple this week. I encouraged him to try getting one color as close as he could to the other without overlapping.

Practical Life / Bookmaking

He practiced some scissors and punching skills and then decided that he wanted to make a book. He provided the illustrations and then dictated the words that I was to write.

It is so amazing to me to watch him puzzle out how to solve problems. He had punched all the way around this piece of paper when he paused for a minute and then asked for his scissors. As he was cutting he explained that he wanted to do more punching, so he needed to cut the paper in half so that he could do so.

Nature Study

Oral storytelling is one of the Waldorf components that we include in our days. I choose a new story every week and tell it to Silas each morning, using wooden figures to illustrate (and to help me remember the story!) and then at the end of the week, he tells the story to me. This week, we're talking about energy from the sun in our Introduction to Biomes. There is a play included in the curriculum that I adapted it into a little oral story to tell instead, about how energy works its way through the food chain and can all be traced back to the sun.

On the second day of hearing the story, Silas, unprompted, ran to grab his biome cards off the shelves and placed them down as each element made an appearance in the story.


For a math invitation this week, I set out a collection for Silas to sort in any way that he chose. It included a bowl of buttons and a tray divided into three sections.

I didn't guide him about how to sort the buttons, instead letting him freely explore and come to his own conclusions about which attributes he saw them as having in common. 

He picked through them for a bit before starting to put them into the different compartments. After he placed one of the buttons I asked, "how did you know where to put that button?" He pointed to each set and said that they were "wide, medium, and small."

Later in the week, I set this out again, but started the sets, putting three green buttons in one compartment, three black in another, and three purple in the last. When he came out of quiet time and found the set-up I asked him, "can you find any buttons that might fit into one of these groups?" He accepted my category of "green" and added more green buttons to that set, but rejected my other two sets, seeing them instead as "large" and "medium" groups and adding to them in that manner.

I think that he was a little bored by this one. We've played with buttons many times before, so there was no novelty factor and I also didn't do a very good job of curating the collection of buttons that I set out. There really should have only been three to four different attributes by which he could sort. The variety that I had in the bowl was too great and I think was a little bit overwhelming.


  1. Oh I love the plexiglass painting, I've not come across that before but I think that my littler girl would love it - she always ends up painting the tablecloth anyway!!

  2. I love the tracing idea! I am going to see if my windows will do this too! wonderful