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Simple Positive Play at Tower Grove Farmer's Market

Simple Positive Play has been presenting at Tower Grove Market since April 2023.

Simple Positive Play has started participating in the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market this season! We create a playful experience every second Saturday of the month and feature a different theme each time.

The first one in April was inspired by bird and worm puppets and the desire to develop kits to encourage creative play. There were puppets available to purchase in addition to play kits that included crafty supplies like construction paper, feathers, yarn, pompoms, googly eyes and more. Did the kits include all of the materials to make the bird or worm puppets available for purchase? Like a deconstructed version to assemble at home? No. Are there enough materials to creatively design a unique version of a bird or worm? Absolutely! We’re talking open-ended art exploration with a hint of inspiration.

The Free Open Play activity was making bird headbands using strips of construction paper, feathers, stickers and chenille stems.

The theme for the Saturday in May was Flowers and Fans. This was one of my favorites to offer. I had a little better understanding of how to navigate loading and unloading our supplies and also developing a space that was more dynamic than what we presented in April.

That’s not my favorite part, though. A couple of volunteers helped to create paper flowers for the activity. We used squares of tissue paper, accordion folded them and adding the chenille stem to keep it all together. At the Farmer’s Market, students could “Finish the Flower” by pulling apart the tissue paper to reveal a little flower. We were able to better incorporate our volunteers in the prepwork for the space.

Still not my FAVORITE part. My absolute favorite part was being able to hand out paper flowers to passersby and just gift people with little tissue paper flowers. We had people of all ages stopping by to create one of their own flowers and the experience really illustrated the idea that playfulness is for everyone.

Superheroes was the theme of June 2023. We developed the list of themes early in the year to try to make it easier to focus on things for the summer months. I’ll be honest, superheroes had me STUMPED for a bit. I was stuck on making capes. CAPES!?! In a 10x10 foot space, I wanted young people to spread out a cape and decorate it. It wasn’t coming together logistically.

The way I thought about making inexpensive capes was to use plastic tablecloths but I wanted to be more eco friendly and didn’t want to promote putting plastic around your neck. I can sew, though. Could I sew lots of capes to have available for purchase? Nope! I was able to purchase the fabric at a low price from Fabric Wholesale. I cut the fabric to appropriate sizes. I matched the thread colors to the fabric colors and was ready. After I sewed my first cape, though, I didn’t feel like it was good enough quality for me to ask people to pay for it but it was too labor intensive to just give it away. I pulled an Edna Mode from The Incredibles, “NO CAPES!”

We did make masks, though! I grabbed a stack of paper plates, cut them in half, attached large popsicle sticks (or craft sticks) to one side, and used a paper punch to create eye holes and a notch for the nose. Easy breezy.

There were also mini super heroes the kids could make using popsicle sticks and cupcake liners, which is an idea I got from Making Life Blissful. At our booth, we prepped a bunch of popsicle sticks with googly eyes to make it easier to assemble.

While looking for crafts or projects to have available at the farmer’s market, we came

across Pipe Cleaner Super Heros from Frugual Fun for Boys and Girls. I decided to give the project a try to see if I could break it down. I use this example all of the time but, do you ever look at a recipe video and they’re like “You probably have all of the ingredients at home! Just grab your [insert expensive rare ingredient here] and then use your [insert expensive kitchen tool here] to get started!” That’s what I felt about this activity.

To be honest, I did have access to beads, pipe cleaners and googly eyes but they weren’t the right size or color! I didn’t have access to the recommended markers, either. The only other issue I had was thinking about how to teach kids to twist the chenille stems and thread straws and beads in a farmer’s market environment where everyone is usually at different stages of the activity. I ended up just making a dozen to showcase. They are super cute! It’s hard to appropriately translate some crafty products to some events.

Being part of Tower Grove Farmer’s Market has revealed so many things! We’ve been able to meet so many other organizations and people who are willing to offer advice and support. A major goal is to create a stronger link between the material we have available at our space in Ferguson and the experience we’re able to provide when we visit festivals, markets and other events.

Stay tuned to see how we grow!

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