Exuberant Exploration

“The drive to protect our children is profound and easily can lead to cleansing their lives of challenge and depth. Early childhood is a time when children begin to live in the world and hopefully learn to love the world. They can’t do this when fenced off from the messy richness of life to live in a world of fluorescent lights and plastic toys, two dimensional glowing screens, and narrow teaching instruction. Scrubbing and polishing raw experience in the name of health and safety scrapes away the natural luster and meaning of childhood. Many of the wonders and joys of childhood that fuel the best in our adult selves are birthed in the unavoidable messes, bumps, bruises, and tears that come with exuberant exploration.” (Greenman, 2005b, p. 7)

Sink or Float Buckets

Most of our summer days are spent outside in our mud pit of a backyard. Our frequent weekend getaways and the blazing heat that this summer has brought has left us with a less than green yard. Composed of more weeds than grass and an equal amounts of rocks and dust we make do and tend to have a delightfully dirty time playing each day. The addition of water on these ever-too-often 90 degree days is a must and when the water hits that dust we get some serious mud! This is okay because I am rather partial to mud. So our hose is running more than my husband would like to know (wait until we get that water bill!) and since our play-space is riddled with buckets and pools and other things to fill up that’s what we do. The other day the boys were taking the hose around and filling whatever they could find. They filled 3 red metal buckets and let them sit for a while. When we had finally soaked our yard to my content I turned off the hose and they kids started to look for something new to occupy their attention. The buckets were there in a line, waiting, glistening in the sun, ready for dumping. At least that’s what I expected the kids to do with them given their track record. Much to my surprise one of the older boys found a pinecone and dropped it in.

“It floats!!” he screamed.

This drew in a crowd.

“What else floats?” I heard my son asking.

“A car?”

“Nope that goes to the bottom, it sinks.”

This dialogue carried on for quite sometime, each child taking turns guessing, gathering, testing. After the buckets were good and full they decided to sort the items per bucket, one for floating things, one for sinkers, and one for stuff that starts out floating and then ends up sinking. I love to watch them explore and discover in such a natural way. I had no hand in this activity. My role was to merely document and observe! Science happens everyday in the life of a child, we must merely foster that curiosity and set the environment so they can explore!

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While We’ve Been Away!

It has been over a year since I last posted anything on Our Dandelion Wishes! I don’t know how time got away from me but I think that the busyness that is life got to me. Oh and it’s so much simpler to just post pictures to our Facebook page, much less focus on writing or detail! I love sharing with families what we do at daycare each day but I struggled with the idea of coming up with a story to go with it. Or maybe I struggled with the time aspect of actually getting a minute to sit with my laptop and create! Whatever the reason, I have decided that I’m ready to join the blogging world once again!

So much has happened in the past year! Two new houses, one big move, a new job for Rob, grad school for me and the always growing kids have kept us on our toes! Now that we are “settled” (I say that lightly because I am not sure that our life will ever truly allow for settling) I think that I want to share the fun things that we do each day and the general going-ons of our life and my life as an early childhood professional.

And because I like pictures so much I’m going to share some of the great shots I’ve taken of my kids this summer at the lake, on the boat, and just having fun!!

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We’re Going on a Letter Hunt!

 

We take a walk around our little neighborhood daily, sometimes twice daily. We often walk to the park or over to the busy construction sight to check out the happenings there. Sometimes we just walk to walk. We aimlessly meander around the loop and talk about what we see. Our neighborhood is very little boxes-esque so there’s not a ton of variation when we set off on these walks. We generally see the same things; ants, dogs, trees, grass, airplanes. Sometimes there’s a bird thrown into the mix and occasionally we will see a car driving on the rode. These aimless walks are nice. They present me with such a wonderful time for discussion with the children. We talk about everything. Lately our topic of conversation has been hyper-focused, in a way only a three-year-old can, on letters. We talk about the letters in our names, the letters in our friends names, the letters on the signs, the letters on our clothes, letters everywhere! Last week I decided to really help this idea of letters-all-over-in-our-world by giving these kiddos a concrete way to represent just how many letters we see when we are out and about.

 

Each child had a small notebook with a pen to start with. They were each assigned the beginning letter in their name to find. Once they found their letter they would make a tally in their notebook and move on to find another one of their beginning letters. These guys were soooo excited! They were jumping up and down to see the letter “E” on garbage cans, squealing with delight to find a “B” on a license plate! Their excitement is wonderful and I love watching those little hands work to make the tally marks!

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The Best Pumpkin Patch Ever!

Our little group of boys plus one baby girl headed to the pumpkin patch this week. It was a beautiful fall day and I have to say the very best and most fun pumpkin patch I’ve ever experienced! This pumpkin patch had train rides, tractor rides, duck races, tricycles, a bouncy orange pillow thing (it’s hard to describe but after giving it a try myself I want one of my own!) This place was a 3 year old boys dream! Lucky for me I had three of those three-year-old boys in tow ready to dive right in to this autumnal wonderland! I can truly say that we will make Sweet Pickins Pumpkin Patch a new tradition. This trip and wonderfully fall like day has got me wanting a pumpkin spice latte, a cozy sweater and a whole lot of Halloween decorations 🙂 I am officially ready for this great season.  

Puddle Jumping

Fall is in full swing here and we can feel it in the air! We even needed jackets and hats today! While the kids were napping a rainstorm blew through and left a slew of puddles ripe for jumping in. When the boys woke up we got bundled and ventured out into the cold. There is no greater joy than jumping in a puddle and seeing how high you can make the water splash (especially to a three year old boy)! We may need to invest in some rain boots this fall, the boys got a bit chilly and a lot wet, but it’s just too fun to stop, or to tell them no. Shoes, socks and jeans always dry. And of course what’s a puddle jumping adventure without a few worms.

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Picture Walk

Picture Walk

We took a nice little walk today. E tried out the camera for the first time and loved it! After many many many pictures of his feet, and some not so flattering pictures of me I finally convinced him to take a few of the things we saw. The bumblebee was so big it literally couldn’t fly. E said “Oh its sad because it can’t go home to it’s mom and dad.” So sweet!