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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Inch By Inch, Row by Row: How Does a Garden Grow?

After a couple of week's to adjust to the transition from being a working mommy to a stay at home mommy camp counselor, we're getting into the rhythm and slower pace of summertime. Continuing on our overarching theme of Inch By Inch, Row by Row, we're beginning by exploring how a garden grows. The garden we planted from seed in the early spring is now a natural area for play and exploration. We even got it into the ground last night just in time for a majorly rainy and stormy day today!

We are still in the (perpetual) period of noticing what works and doesn't work as well with our days together. Planning our themes and activities on a weekly basis has worked better than plotting out our whole summer in one fell swoop. S has really had an interest in the theme of gardening and so we've settled in it for a bit to explore his interests. I plan and prepare for a theme related activity or two each day but some of our favorites were the unplanned ones--like a parts-of-a-plant nature scavenger hunt we went on at a local park yesterday. S collected all kinds of leaves, twigs, bark, seed pods and pine cones to add to a nature bin at home (just an empty plastic shoe box).

S has loved getting his hands dirty in the garden and in the house. Here's a peek at some of our art and sensory activities
"Dirt Dough & /River Rocks Sensory Play" (baking soda and water plus food color) High Five

We read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed and used some flowers that were on their way out to paint a paper plate sunflower. Afterward S glued on seeds in the center (dried beans and corn kernels)
Invitation to Play: Parts of a Plant Playdough

S especially loves on of our favorite Friday morning rituals: Invitation to Create Art--I throw a disposable tablecloth on the table and some theme related art supplies. He has at it (and so do I) and clean up is as easy as taking and tossing the tablecloth afterward--just in time to set the table for Shabbos! This particular week was flower themed.

One thing that wasn't working as well was overdoing it on the outings and field trips. We limit longer ones to after naptime to avoid the disastrous accidental car nap and enjoy shorter activities in the morning. One thing that did work very well at home was doing a massive toy rotation. S usually plays downstairs, so I did a selective swap of the toys that were out in his play area and the ones that had been put away in his room for a while.  He was so excited to be reunited with some of his old favorites that he was content to play at home for most of the afternoon yesterday. I'm definitely glad I did this before today's unexpectedly rainy day!


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