We’ve been trapped indoors all week because it is too cold to play outside. If I had magic powers winter would be gone and we’d be out in the garden. Instead, I brought the garden in to us.
We haven’t had much success with our indoor gardening in the past. Indoor ornamental plants do OK but our attempts to grow edible plants indoors have usually failed. I decided that this time we would try growing sprouts.
First the toddlers checked out the sprouting supplies that I purchased from Sage Garden Herbs;
Yesterday we spent the day at Kildonan Park. We’ve been there before – many times – and I wrote a post about their playground here. This time however, we didn’t spend any time at the playground – we were otherwise entertained.
We began our outing by going for a hike. Stopping for snack along the way – cheese quesadillas, applesauce and water — plenty of water. The scorching temperatures and high humidity meant many breaks for water and rest in the shade.
Some people had to work outdoors in the heat. We noticed some workers on the other side of the road were preparing to take down a tree in the park. The children were fascinated as we watched from a distance. First they cut some notches;
Then they brought the tractor;
To push the tree;
Down to the ground;
We continued on our hike and then stopped to rest and play a little soccer;
We continued on to our lunch time shelter and were thrilled to have more tree falling entertainment right beside our table! First the notches again;
We were waiting for the tractor to move closer but then we noticed the rope. This time the tree was pulled down instead of being pushed;
When it landed it was VERY loud;
One of the children didn’t notice – sleeping through the whole show. After lunch we took some time to draw pictures of the flowers;
The gardens were pretty but I prefer the ‘natural’ look the coneflowers we saw by the creek on the way back to the van;
It was a great day at the park with plenty of entertainment.
I have two water barrels that collect rainwater to use for our garden and planters. Filling watering cans to water the plants is one of the children’s favourite outdoor activities;
The rain barrel that is located in the gravel area has also been used to fill containers with water for play and experiments;
The hot dry summer has taken its toll on our water supply and, even with some restrictions on the amount of water we could use each day, our rain barrels are now empty. My husband asked if I wanted him to use the hose from the house and fill the rain barrels. I said no. Empty rain barrels is part of the lesson.
So yesterday the weather forecast predicted rain and the dark clouds looked promising. We went outside to play. One of my ‘newest’ children said “I thought we wouldn’t play outside if it was going to rain.” I laughed. “But we love the rain, why would we stay inside?”
Then it started, slowly;
And the dust began to turn to mud;
The rocks look really pretty when they are wet;
And the children noticed all the droplets of water;
And they were quick to react;
Sharing and working together;
But sadly the rain lasted barely five minutes — not nearly enough to produce the results we wanted;
I think most children are fascinated by insects, worms, spiders and the like. In my experience, those who are fearful or disgusted by these creatures have been taught to do so.
Having walking stick insects in our science area has given us the opportunity to study these insects up close on a regular basis. We have experienced their entire life cycle from egg to adult. We’ve watched them hatch and seen them grow each time they moult.
They have provided a chance for even the most timid amongst us to view insect life. These are not a species that is native to our part of the world so we keep them safely contained.
I will admit that I do not like all creepy crawlies – centipedes for example will have me moving very quickly in the opposite direction. If I do stay put I realize that they are moving quickly away from me too.
I make it a goal to ensure that I learn something about each new creature I meet and I encourage the children to do the same. Bugguide.net has been a tremendous resource for us when we find something new.
Even if we are fearful or disturbed by them we try not harm them. Instead, we discover their purpose and if we don’t like them we learn how to avoid them or discourage them from being in our part of the environment.
There are a few insects and spiders that I like to handle but mostly I prefer to just observe them. However, some of the children seek out these critters and enjoy all contact with them.
Others prefer to keep their distance and choose to simply watch the others interact. Eventually even these apprehensive children may attempt to overcome their fear and willingly venture forward.
Together we determine which ones are the ‘good bugs’ – the ones we want to have near by. We learn ways to dissuade those that are harmful and attract those that are beneficial. This year the addition of several native prairie plants has provided an enticing habitat for many bees and butterflies that we welcome in our garden.
No matter how small we learn to understand differences, acknowledge values, and work together and find ways to co-exist peacefully in the world we share.