After working for a couple weeks in the preschool classroom, I began noticing that our reading center was getting very little use during free time. I suggested to our director that we incorporate something into the space to make it more appealing to the kids. I wanted it to be an inciting and cozy area, one which would promote reading and the desire to spend more time with books.
I pitched the idea of building a life-size tree out of wood and chicken wire and then having the kids help paper mache and paint it. Later, each child in the preschool classroom could make a leaf with their name on it to hang from the tree's branches. The "Giving Tree" could be added to for years and years to come.
The director loved the idea and told me if I wanted to build it, the school would pay for it.
Now, if I could just get my hands on a dreamy Handy Manny type who liked to build things....
much any hesitation on his part, we were off to the Mister's heaven on earth, Home Depot.
By the way, I love America. A whole lot.
Hubbin wasted no time snatching up the materials we would need.
Hook eyes so said tree doesn't topple over on the wee ones- check.
And a few other things that I didn't photograph. I was beginning to get a little flack from Handy Manny as he said I was the only person in history to ever bring a camera in Home Depot and document our purchases.
The man had a point.
Camera turned off and securely put away- check.
Next we headed over to Handy Manny's job site to do our work but not before ensuring our PPE was up to code. (Personal Protective Equipment...Kiewit is big on safety, people. And Keane would like to keep his job so we played by the rules. And God knows, I don't have a problem with playing by the rules. )
Handy Manny got to work at once: measuring, sawing, drilling, oh my!
I even contributed a little during this stage by measuring for the cuts. I draw the line (get it? draw the line? I kill myself) at that though. The drill and saw are heavy and powerful and these arms are twigs. Things would get ugly.
Once all of our cuts were done, we moved the party inside the trailer where it was warm and dry.
We attached the base and limbs and began to mold the chicken wire for the paper mache to adhere to.
As you can clearly see, I am very serious about my work. I am a recovering perfectionist after all.
Handy Manny was just as dedicated to his work but stopped just long enough to give love to his number
one two girl.
Alas, the finished (without-really-being-finished) product:
I think it will be really sweet when it's paper mached, painted and hanging over the kids while they read. I know I would want to curl up with a good book and a blanket under its branches.
Are you as impressed as I am?
I was so impressed, in fact, that I hugged the tree. Because I'm from Boulder and it's in my blood.
Stay tuned for part two where I will reveal the finished finished product. It might be a while but I will say that I started the paper mache with the kids today and it.looks.so.cool.