A year and a half ago, I bought the chicks a box of Stockmar Modeling Beeswax. In my usual style, I dove right in and opened the box without any prior knowledge and found...that the wax, beautiful in color and scent, was hard as a rock. I put it in the art cabinet for over a year and thought we could use it when the chicks got older.
Then I learned in conversation with my friend that you first warm the beeswax by holding it in your hand, and it becomes pliable. Ahhhhhhh. It all suddenly made sense. It wasn't that all the people doing Waldorf beeswax crafts had superhuman strength. It was just that they softened the wax before using it.
So Ninna and I have started the most lovely of reading rituals with the beeswax clay. I promise you that if you try it, you'll love it. Here's what we've been doing:
1. Choose your book. We've been reading Little House in the Big Woods. While we did do this activity with a short book one night, it's been nice to do it with a chapter book because there is some continuity with what we make, as you'll see in a moment.
2. Choose your wax. Since our wax was still unused and still shaped in identical rectangles, Ninna has just chosen one color per evening. It's just the two of us doing this, so we've divided it in half and each taken one piece. We go with whatever strikes her fancy, but if you were following the Waldorf daily colors or had something else going on, you might have more of a purpose to which color you use.3. Read while warming your wax. Ninna and I each close our hands around the clay and hold it while I read a chapter or two of the book. As I'm reading, she'll occasionally peek at hers to see how soft it is. As it's warming, more of the amazing beeswax smell is released, and your hands also pick up the smell. It's lovely.
4. Sculpt! This is, of course, the best part. After I finish reading the chapter(s), we each mold something from our clay. We choose something that relates to what we've just read, and since Ninna is still just four years old, it's usually something straightforward rather than symbolic--a person who appears in the chapter, a central object, etc.
We've been saving them and have formed quite a collection. Here are some favorites, including Laura, Mary, a lollipop, a heart candy, a sled, a piglet, and a kitten, all of which appear in the book. Can't tell which were made by the 34 year old and which by the preschooler? Yeah, sculpting is not my forte ;).
We still have a few blocks of clay left, so we're still adding to the group we've already made. When those are gone, I plan to have us start again and re-soften the items from the collection to make something new. This will not only prevent the accumulation of too many of these; it will also help keep the focus on process and experience rather than only on finished, final products.
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