Beyond the nursery rhyme -- a simple origami paper craft and an appreciation for life’s experimental journey, beginning at childhood and beginning again at parenthood.
Activities and crafts: what is it about them that kids love? Maybe it has something to do with the creativity, imagination, tangibility, or just the permissible messiness. A good activity usually involves movement, energy, busy hands, busy minds, colorful “tools,” a few paint stains, and towels to wipe away the “end of play” (until the next time!). Perhaps it’s also the itch of curiosity and quest for discovery through experimentation: How will this turn out? Can I build it? Will it float? When will it erupt? How fast and far will it go?
Well, it has been said that “Play is the highest form of research.” Here in the Primerrily Treehouse we see no better way to research American values than through play! The treehouse is the essence of childhood activity. While not every kid has one, the spirit of the treehouse lives on in every kid-friendly craft or game. When learning is play-based, you show them that learning is fun and learning about America is exciting!
We see how our country's democratic republic share much in common with parenting and childhood. For one, we are all “great experiments” in the making: we have good days and bad, and along the way our experiences give us an understanding to help us uncover more knowledge and more truth. As parents, activities help us learn more about our kids, ourselves, and the relationship we have with each other. The type of bonding that occurs in such shared activity is unique, as compared to the type of bonding that occurs over conversation or during story time.
While any type of bonding between you and your kid is absolutely precious, Primerrily's Treehouse stands to remind us -- parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. -- that we’re never too old to initiate and participate in kid play. As we send ideas from our digital Treehouse to your own activity space, our goal is to help you and your kids create, imagine, experiment, and play -- all the while practicing character-building virtues and understanding foundational American values. Your kids will be learning, but they won’t even know it. In the Treehouse, we’re less about telling and all about showing and doing!
In honor of the Primerrily paper boat logo, we’re making hand-folded row boats for our inaugural Treehouse activity! Not only will this “sing-along” activity help with fine motor
skills and processing “order of operation” for petite minds, the Primerrily paper boat is the perfect upcycle activity. Now all those lovely yet discarded coloring sheets at home, or those printed announcements and completed worksheets in your kids’ backpacks have renewed purpose!
As we fold and pinch our papers into boats, we’re singing one of our favorite classic nursery rhymes, “Row Row Row Your Boat.” The calmness of the tune and the simplicity of its lyrics make this song popular among our kids and us grownups alike. Upon a second glance at the lyrics, we’ve discovered a renewed appreciation for this timeless tune:
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily, merrily merrily
Life is but a dream
“Row Row Row Your Boat” is more than a catchy melody – it’s a metaphor for an ideal life. We find journey, effort, leisure, nature, hope, and merriment all packed into this simple four-line rhyme. One of our greatest hopes is for our kids to experience life in this way. The “merrily” in Primerrily and our iconic mini-mighty paper boat are nods to this sentiment. We're all about developing strong virtues, values, and character to help kids learn to row their boats merrily down life’s streams -- both smooth and choppy. It also signals that while we aim for specific destinations or goals, so much of life is actually about the journey. Like America’s journey -- constantly developing, innovating, fixing, striving, growing -- our kids are on their own journeys. We want them to know that how they grow is as important as what they grow into.
Our other great hope is that you’ll enjoy this early parenting journey with us. Together we’ll row merrily and gently, as well as enthusiastically, exhaustedly, and generally as best we can . . . because that’s all part of the parenting gig. But along the way, we’ll remind ourselves to zoom out for the big picture showing us that this life -- particularly this stage of life -- is truly a dream.
Questions for your kid:
What do you “see” (in your mind’s eye) as we row our boats gently down the stream? (e.g. ducks, fish, whales, alligators!)
What are some gentle things in your life? What are some merry things in your life? What are your favorite dreams?
Do you think this will float, sink, or swim? Let’s try it in the bathtub tonight!
Arts & crafts & song:
Sing along with your kids as you make your own paper boats, gently and merrily, together. You can reuse all those 8.5"x11" papers coming home from class, recycle paper restaurant menus which often replace reusable menus these days, and/or decorate with these origami folding papers in a spectrum of colors (red, white, and blue are among our favorites!). Don’t forget to decorate your boat with stickers and markers. Finally, name your proud vessel . . . S.S. Primerrily has a nice ring to it!