Based in San Francisco, is an early childhood education blog by Tiva Lee Samaru. HER posts explore; through videos and other resources - original early childhood education curricula and ideas for enrichment classes, as well as, tips and tricks for classroom management and general childcare.

Clothespins are meaningful

Clothespins are meaningful

As a child, clothespins were commonly seen and utilized.

My father would always do the laundry on Sundays. Our responsibility consisted of folding and packing them away and sometimes hanging them out to dry on the clothesline. The latter was the exciting part. We lived in an extended family set up and shared a huge clothesline with my uncle and grandfather who lived right next door. My uncle, Mots as we commonly called him, had these tiny buckets filled with clothespins and a very systematic way of hanging out his clothes to dry. My father also adopted that practice and passed it on to us. Sheets all together in the back row. T-shirts side by side with underwear tucked into the front as they took up too much space when hung individually.  Something about the monotony of hanging the clothes was appealing. My twin sister and I absolutely enjoyed it. We took our time and at times went a little overboard with color coordination. But, to this day I recall that bucket, full of clothespins. So many clothespins. My little mind was always fascinated by how full it was and the sound of the clothespins as they shifted and adjusted themselves as they were removed from the bucket one by one.

I always enjoyed Sunday drives, looking out the car window and seeing clothing on clotheslines blowing in the wind. Drying in the sunshine.

Playing in our spacious yard and running through and under the hanging sheets, hiding behind them and pretending to be a ghost, as my father, grandfather, uncle, or mother shouted, "Get out of there! You will dirty the clothes!".

Such beautiful childhood memories are associated with that clothesline and the many clothespins that held up our clothes as they transitioned from wet to dry. Although we had an electric dryer, my father was slightly environmentally conscious or maybe financially conscious and only used it for certain types of clothing and on certain occasions. Most of the clothing dried outdoors, which worked in my favor as the chance to stare at them or play with them as they dried remained alive. 

Clothespins played a key role in my childhood and adulthood. To this day, in Trinidad and Tobago - my homeland, you can still see so many clotheslines draped with colorful clothing. And, it's not that we can't afford to purchase electric dryers, it's just that we are blessed with that beautiful sunshine for most of the year, so why not make use of it instead of relying on electronics that leave striking carbon footprints everytime a load of laundry is dried. Compared to my life here in San Francisco, California, a clothesline is a rare sight - particularly outdoors.

Nevertheless, clothespins are meaningful to me and my students are always intrigued by them. Their unique shape, purpose and how they are used are a few reasons why. As it relates to arts & crafts they are so versatile and can be used to represent so many different things from cars, to planes to animals and even people. They are very easy to work with and can handle quite a lot of processing.

One of the first animals I ever made using clothespins is a bird. It was a really simple project with one additional step primarily because I used the normal clothespins instead of pre-colored ones. But this didn't add too much extra time to the project, instead, it made me happier about the outcome and a lot more impressed with the final product.

Take a look!

I took the time to film this process so you could see the way I made my little birds. I used five clothespins and the entire project probably took me a little over thirty minutes. Fortunately or unfortunately, this video isn't thirty minutes long though. Phew! Nevertheless, you will see all the tools I used, the combinations and finished product.

My students absolutely loved these birds, so they are worth the energy and time.

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