I admit that this project was not entirely open-ended. I did have an idea in mind, but I was curious if Anna will guess what I had in mind. I provided her with a black piece of construction paper, several strips of white paper and five pumpkins that I made out of craft foam. Then I put all this in front of her and said, What can you do with this? Anna counted the pumpkins and immediately said, Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate! Then she executed on it completely independently. She cut, glued and drew faces on the pumpkins while quietly reciting the poem to herself as she added more pumpkins and then announced that this is her birthday project and put it into her special “safe place” where she puts projects that she is particularly pleased with. I have to admit that I am pleased too with how it turned out, and how she actually completed it fully without any prompting on my part.
Our second project was more open-ended – Anna had some dark Halloween stickers from The Children’s Place and wanted to use them. I added some more foam stickers and gave her some orange construction paper. In no time she was busy putting stickers into her pan and making cookies with the rest. A lot of her projects turn into pretend play involving food. I wish she ate as well as she “cooks”.