Monday, June 30, 2014

The Patience of a Frog

Why do some children run and scream when they see reptiles and bugs, but others scoop them up and get real close?  I believe that the more you are exposed to what you don't know, the more you understand it, or are more comfortable with it.


It's the season for frogs and toads.  They are hopping about underfoot while we play, little movements seen out of the corner of our eyes, until one of my boys scoops one up....then it becomes a free for all to see who can collect the most.


It wasn't always this way.  My older son was timid, and almost just as jumpy as a frog when he touched one, or if one landed on him.  His dad gave him tips, and showed him how to catch them without hurting them.  He was curious, and wanted to check them out.  The more he handled them, the more confident he became.  It took a lot of effort and patience to catch them, a journey that has evolved over several years.  Now he teaches his two year old brother how to catch and handle them, and he is just as eager, and able the more he does it.


Each time a toad gets away is another opportunity to be patient... 


another opportunity to practice being gentle... another opportunity to inspect their bulging bellies... 


and another opportunity to learn more about them.  


If it weren't for the patience of those toads and frogs being caught, poked, prodded, and squished (for an unfortunate few) over and over again, children wouldn't be as patient with them.  Children wouldn't know as much about them.  Children wouldn't appreciate them for what they are, and what they do... because nothing is cooler than watching a toad eat a bug!

Many times, it is the smaller things that teach us big lessons in life.  Patience is a virtue.


"Every journey begins with a single hop."  -Kermit the Frog

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ice Boats

In the throws of summer, all we want to do is stay cool.  Water play becomes more of a daily activity, partially just to make the heat of the sun more enjoyable.  An even better addition that is a favorite is ice!  Ice cubes are awesome, but they don't last very long in the water and the heat.  

A while back I came across a fantastic, natural, spin on using ice in water play on Reading Confetti (click the link for a great tutorial).  It is a big hit at our house, and it lasts longer than little ice cubes!



Using larger containers with wide openings is key to getting them to float.  The bigger the boat, the longer it will last too!  We preferred using foil or plastic wrap to Reading Confetti's method of securing the stick poles while the boats froze.  Simply cover the opening of the container with foil and poke the stick through the foil so it won't fall over while freezing in the water.  A little warm water run over the outside of the container once they are solid helps pop the boats out immediately.

The boys loved poking leaves onto the sticks for sails and flags, and they added little animal and people figures atop the boat's surfaces.  Using different sized plastic bowls and containers allowed the boys to take guesses as to which boat would melt and sink first.

Stay cool with your kids a little longer this summer!

Other water play ideas from Little Moments:
Life in the Water
Floating Blocks

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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Perfect Spot To Sleep

Are you familiar with that moment when....your child could not fall asleep, when they would not fall asleep?  How do they finally find that comfortable slumber?  Where do they find that perfect place to rest their head?

My boys and I recently read about a Panda, a Panda named Chengdu.


Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep.  My boys turned each page of this book, waiting to see what position the panda bear would be in next, waiting to see if he would fall asleep in the bamboo grove with the other panda bears.  A simple scene at night, under the stars, and two dark eyes staring from the page, hanging in different positions from the bamboo.  There are even a few pages that open up in different ways, a surprise for this simple setting!  A twist at the end of the story gave everyone a chuckle in our house. 

Reading this story many times with a six and two year old was a breeze.  The repeating phrases made it easy for my six year old to predict and read, it was short enough for my two year old, and the pictures were pleasing for all of us.  

The story lead to discussions about bamboo, pandas, and favorite spots to sleep.  Incorporating these topics together, I set up an invitation to play with loose parts using rocks, cardboard tubing, and a little paint...



I painted pandas on both sides of each rock; one sleeping, and one awake.  They provided many counting opportunities, and retelling of the story.



Using river rocks make it easier to stack snuggling pandas.


They created homes by leaning, stacking, and standing different lengths of bamboo, all while finding the perfect spot to sleep for the pandas.

We even used our cardboard bamboo as a prompt to paint our own pandas.





We loved Barney Saltzberg's new book...and if you ask me, the perfect spot to sleep, is reading Chengdu could not, would not fall asleep. with your children in your arms.

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided to us for review. All opinions shared here are our own.  This post contains no affiliate links.*

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