There Really Is No Place Like Home (Good Thing, Too)

For almost a year now the pandemic has kept most of us close to home at one time or another. Or maybe multiple times, since it surges and then settles down and surges again. I’m aware that homes all over the world and even in our own neighborhoods undoubtedly vary widely in form, color and size. But our homes are our shelters, hopefully our safe havens. So I decided to do an episode on the different types of houses people live in, as well as different building materials and colors. I enlarged the idea to include the ‘homes’ that different animals inhabit.

I put out a lot of my Wizard of Oz collectibles, including the ruby slippers that my daughter Katie made me literally a sequin at a time. I have a couple of snow globes, Christmas ornaments, and other Oz-themed items. I have a stuffed Toto and all of the characters in tiny Madame Alexander dolls courtesy of MacDonald’s happy meals many years ago. I used this display to introduce what Dorothy learns from her experiences in Oz: there’s no place like home. I have some books I used to read during my nanny days about different kinds of houses including igloos, log cabins, mud huts, and more. One is about the colors of houses and another about ‘homes’ in which animals might live. I read two poems, one about the animals and the other about people houses.

I wanted the little ones to be aware of the many kinds of houses people live in, and then make the point that it doesn’t matter what your house looks like; if the people inside love you and you, them, then you’re home. The buildings, colors, etc. don’t matter. Acceptance should extend to people who live in trailers and log cabins as well as castles.

The news is telling us that domestic abuse is on the rise because families have literally been locked in together to stay safe from the virus. Unfortunately, safety can become dangerous, especially if the situation was already tense. I was coming into this topic with the idea of diversity. I couldn’t assure them that home is always safe. But, Pollyanna that I am, I still believe that for the majority of people, it really is love that makes a house a home, no matter the house. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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