We like to visit different playgrounds when we can. The other week, we took a trek up to Baird Playground. It was fun, but the best part of the whole trip was when we were about to leave. The boys wanted to try out the water fountain, because that is an oh-so-exciting thing to do when you are 3! Well, the drain was a little clogged, so there was water that had probably been sitting in the basin for some time. I wouldn't let them drink from the fountain because I didn't want them to get this old water on their mouths (and we always bring our own water, so they weren't dying of thirst).
They accepted that they were not allowed to drink the water....but nobody said they couldn't splash the water! Once they had splashed all the water out of the basin, B. filled it up with new water. He was the only one strong enough to push the button to get the water out; this was now his job and he accepted the responsibility with great pride.
An older lady who was walking by stopped to watch the rowdies; a look of horror on her face. She was itching to share some words with me, but I was too busy with the baby to listen to a scolding. Shame on us!
After getting completely soaked, the boys were permitted to take their shirts off for the walk home. What joy! They ran to each street corner (where they had to wait for Leila and I to catch up, in order to cross the road) excitedly, enjoying this extra sense of freedom. They often refer to themselves as "nude" if they have only their tops off, so I yelled out to them as they ran ahead of me, calling them "nude dudes", or "nuder duders". Or I would yell, "Hey dude! You're nude!" They thought this was hilarious.
The following day, Noah sat in a mud puddle at Lithuania Park and really wanted to take his wet shorts off. I had to explain to him that taking off the bottom half was very different than taking off the top half!
Aidas wanted to try on a baby carrier one day. We put in a teddy bear to represent his baby. What a sweet daddy he is! What?! What's wrong with wielding a hammer at the same time?
Leila has been enjoying the summer weather lying on a nice comfy blanket on the grass, watching the boys play. She is just sweetness personified. Enough said.
Here's a reading lesson I was giving outside, to anyone who would listen! We have been doing this at the table during snack, sometimes, as well. Won't be long before they're reading books to me while I sit back, relax, and eat my snack!
I would say that the most popular toys these days in the daycare are the couch cushions. The kids pretend they are in "gups" (? something they learned from watching "The Octonauts"). They also build forts on the couches, and then pretend that the couch is a boat. They then fight pirates, struggle through storms, etc. It is all about using their imagination, these days.
Here the kids are tracing letters. I don't want to force this formal type of activity on the kids (same with reading), since I think they'll have plenty of time to get into it more when they start school in September. I do, however, want to provide them with the opportunity to practise these skills, and I do encourage them to participate (or I try to trick them into participating). I think they will all have a strong base knowledge of letters and words when they start school (which obviously has a lot to do with literacy activities they enjoy at home, with their parents). The one thing I have always striven to instill in the kids, from day one in the daycare, is both excitement about and comfort with books. Again, this is something they also do at home with their families, but I feel that I have done my part in the daycare, in this first step of literacy.
Here is a puddle, created by the sprinklers being on that morning, that the kids stopped to enjoy. No one delighted in this more than Oscar though. He lingered on, playing in this puddle until there was no puddle left!
And here is the evidence!
I just can't believe how much this kid has grown since he started in the daycare. Time flies! What a beautiful little toddler he has become!
Okay, so I'm not done talking about the lovely Leila. Noah has been amazing with his little sister since she arrived. Aidas and B. have been great too. And now that Leila is becoming more alert and aware, the kids are becoming more interested in her. They are learning to be gentler and more cautious than they ever have been at the daycare. And she absolutely LOVES all of them!