Unexpected Discoveries

Well, today did not start out that well. M had a meltdown about her outfit; when she melts down, she yells, kicks me, and calls me mean. And of course, behaving that way makes her feel bad, so she really needs a lot of affection from me after it. Which, I admit, is a little hard, because I just endured being screamed at before even eating my breakfast. But it was short-lived, as it always is, and we went back on with our day, which turned out to be full of discovery.

As we were headed out the door to a friend’s home for a LLL mom-and-tot get-together, we realized that their best friend wouldn’t be there, and that it would be mostly mom-and-tots (no big kids). Yes, we are at that point where, as much as I want to sit and chat with friends, we need to be doing things entertaining for the kids, not me.

But, no worries, we just changed plans. M had been asking to go to the Natural History Museum again, so off we went. (I’m glad the girls do well with changes and transitions, it really was no big deal. Though they did have to discuss first if the zoo would be a better choice, but both agreed to go see the dinosaurs today.)

It’s amazing how much there is to do at a museum. We’ve been to this particular one probably about every other month or so (more in the winter months), and always come home with more knowledge and discoveries. It has a lot of great exploration rooms too, so I usually like to concentrate on just one floor/subject when we visit. But since today was a random visit, and the girls wanted to go through it all, we started at the top and worked our way down.

Usually, the girls went to their favorite exhibits, so some floors we rushed through, which was quite fine by me, because I only wanted us to be there an hour before the toddler’s naptime. The take-away learning moments that I noticed were: (1) spending time at the water and wind erosion tables to learn more about how water and wind can shape the land; (2) finally getting a chance to make a building and test it in the earthquake lab; and (3) discovering that wetlands filter and purify water.

Then home for nap and lunch. I did online research for wetlands activities, and we will be doing some experiments later this week to explore this topic further (we simply ran out of time today). M wrote and read the words she learned yesterday. The girls drew (M drew a barosaurus dinosaur) and played with their ponies and dinosaurs. After lunch I read another Pooh adventure while the girls did more drawing, and then we were off to speech.
I had been planning to run a quick errand after speech class, but C was visibly tired, so I decided we should stick around home instead. We had a delicious snack outside and played outside for awhile. The girls ended up performing some dance shows for me, until we discovered a new insect and caught it for observation and to sketch in our science journals. We first observed that it had 6 legs, two antennae, a mostly red body with some black. Seeing a visible stripe down the middle of its back, we knew it was a beetle. But our insect book had no beetle that matched! I started googling, and couldn’t find anything. My best guess was that maybe it was a juvenile box elder bug, because we have a lot of box elder bugs in our backyard, and they are red and black. So when I googled that, we found our answer! It was a juvenile Box Elder Bug! Now I wish our insect book showed the different stages for all insects. Maybe we will need to get a more thorough field guide eventually.

Then we finally got around to our assigned daily activity: Arts and Crafts. Today we did symmetry painting, inspired by a local blogger and the book, Math Arts. The girls loved this; it really was magical to open the fold and see the symmetrical designs and color blends. We will definitely be exploring this again!

Afterwards, the girls made more art, this time with stamps, while I bathed the toddler (who got a hold of some paint while I was distracted by a long-awaited, pleasant phone conversation). I even took a shower too, which provided much rejuvenation before the dinner chaos; I may do this more often!

I tried to put a major focus today on playing. I would have liked to start our experiments to follow-up the last-minute museum visit, but I decided play was more important, and we will fit those in throughout the week. I think we made a good balance of free play and structured activities. I like having a daily “subject”, but sometimes it can be too much if our day is already full of child-led, living learning. And it must have been a tiring day, as M collapsed in bed an hour early! (C, on the other hand, had a quick nap in the car, so she might be up late.)

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  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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