- Zac had two friends over today! We started with indoor play time. The kids played and the adults chatted and read the nature books we had out on the coffee table from the last few days of P&P. One little five-year old boy wanted to learn finger knitting so I sat with him and gave him a lesson and his mother read him my absolute favorite book for introducing knitting, Red Berry Wool by Robyn Eversole. All of the children ended up cuddling on the sofa and listening to her read this sweet story.
Red Berry Wool
by Robyn Eversole
After our vigorous movement-filled Circle Time, we had our Nature lesson for the day. The story was I'm a Pill Bug by Yukihisa Tokuda. This is a GREAT book! I can't express enough how awesome this book is. I had a little dish of white sesame seeds ready and poured some in each person's hands when we got to the part about how small baby pill bugs are.
I'm a Pill Bug
by Yukihisa Tokuda
Then we took plastic cups and went outside searching for pill bugs (aka sow bugs aka roly-polies). We found them under bricks and under stumps. One (pictured below) had half of his old shell on him, just like in the story! We observed and collected and set them up with little temporary habitats and then spent the rest of the morning in free play outside.
My new eager finger-knitter helped Becca take apart and re-weave the finger knitted tipi, which had fallen over and then gotten tangled up. Next time I really need to place the end of each bamboo pole into a heavy flower pot.
Friday, August 24
- Today Zac and Becca had indoor play time (including turning a copier paper box into a boat and coloring it with block beeswax crayons) and then did Circle Time together and had an absolute blast. Zac is really getting into the wrapping games. Last night when I laid down with him to help him go to sleep, he wrapped me in the sheet and rolled me back and forth and said the verse to me. It was darling. Our story was "The Dragonfly's Tale" from Tell Me a Story and we looked at the dragonfly pictures in Maryjo Koch's Dragonfly Beetle Butterfly Bee.
Zac's grandmother is recovering from a heart attack and we wanted to send her a present, so Zac painted a wooden dragonfly for her. I gave him a sponge brush, four colors of paint in an ice cube tray (pink, yellow, spring green, turquoise), and an art tray. No water. Putting water in a sponge brush just turns the paints thin and you get a soggy mess. Keep it dry and they will layer and blend beautifully.
Saturday, August 25
- A day of family time! We read A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston, sipped drinks from a straw (like the butterfly's tongue), visited the Farmer's Market to look for more plants for our butterfly garden, and went to the 23rd Annual Insect Awareness & Appreciation Day at War Bluff Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. This location stumped Siri, so I'll tell you where to find it. It's 228 Bushwack Road in Golconda IL.
A Butterfly is Patient
by Dianna Hutts Aston
My three teenage daughters were far from thrilled at the thought of Insect Awareness & Appreciation Day and when we got there we found only five tables set up. It looked like a very small event. But it turned out to be one of the best days of family time we've had in years. The 500 acre property belongs to the Illinois Audubon Society and it's absolutely gorgeous. One table was registration and raffle tickets (we won a book on stink bugs), one table was the aquatic insect supplies and there were trips down to the pond to catch and identify insects and their larvae, one table was insect crafts, one table was the filmmakers who made the documentary which was showing plus an aquarium filled with monarch caterpillars and chrysalises, and the final table was filled with insect specimens and collecting equipment and the lady who ran it would lend you a net and help you identify what you caught. Leah had an absolute blast catching butterflies and got five in all. Besides the activity tables and the documentary screening and the raffle, there was plenty of time to run around and play and look at their stunning pollinator and native plant gardens, plus an incredible potluck (Hank makes the best lasagna I've ever had) and an evening concert by a local band. The moon was nearly full and pink when it rose. It was a just a great afternoon and a beautiful evening and all four of my children had a wonderful time.
Sunday, August 26
- Today we changed up Circle Time and did some different movements after our opening song and verse. I used Shakta Kaur Khalsa's book Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children. I've had this now out-of-print book for 13 years and keep coming back to it. Here's what we did:
- Buzzing Bee, page 42
- Cricket Rub, page 95
- Spider Stretch, page 39
- Butterfly, page 11
- Butterfly/Chrysalis, page 43
After our yoga poses, we read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert. Zac loved this book so much we read it twice. It has a bouncy rhyming text and is short and sweet... perfect for this age!
Then he used his little green wheelbarrow to carefully transport the three new native plants we bought yesterday at the Farmer's Market. We have a tiny butterfly garden in the backyard with just three milkweed plants in it. We will be adding two Prairie Blazing Star and one New England Aster. We got out the shovel and the trake and the watering can. And then we ran out of steam. It was a hot day! So we headed to Giant City State Park instead, where I checked out two of the IDNR bins for next week's start to the school year (Local History & Geography is my first main lesson block with the older kids) and then we played in the shade of their playground.
Monday, August 27
- Zac had two little friends over today which worked out perfectly!
After some indoor free play we gathered for Circle Time. We shared our new animal yoga poses with them, read Waiting for Wings, and headed outside where all of the plants and gardening supplies were gathered, ready for planting! Each boy got to dig a hole and plant a plant. Then we made a butterfly muddle to add to the garden. I used an old Pyrex pie pan and the boys filled it with damp sand, added some large flat rocks, and sprinkled in some salt. We will need to add water to this every day. A "muddle" is a shortened way of saying "mud puddle," and if you ever see a butterfly drinking from a mud puddle it is because there are important nutrients in there which they can't get from flower nectar alone. A lovely hour of free outdoor play wrapped up our morning.
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