Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

After the Rain


As we were finishing dinner this evening, we heard the welcome rumble of distant thunder that ultimately brought a brief, but needed rainstorm. The girls rushed to the window at the sound of the first raindrops and stood there, as if glued to the windowpane, for at least 15 minutes. Baby Bear drummed on the windowpane and babbled excitedly (and endlessly!). Little Bear danced around in front of the window, eagerly observing that the rain was watering the grass and trees, that it was splashing on the sidewalk, that the dirt was turning to mud, that the birds were playing in the puddles, etc.

The significance of what she had observed dawned on her shortly after the rain stopped. As we were ending a Skype visit with grandparents, Little Bear suddenly exclaimed “Puddles!”

“What?” I asked.

“Puddles!” she replied. “Mommy, the rain made puddles! Can we go outside and splash in them? Please?”

It was nearly 8 p.m., and both girls were still in their church clothes. But it was still quite warm outside, and rain is something of a rarity around here. Add in the fact that our theme of the week is weather, and how could I say no? … I couldn’t. We quickly changed into play clothes and headed outside.

Most of the rain had quickly soaked into the thirsty earth, but Little Bear found one good puddle. And, oh, what fun she and Baby Bear had with it.

Oh, what fun!

We stayed outside long enough to watch the sunset, then headed in for much-needed baths, a quick story, and bed. We’ll explore the science behind rain during school time tomorrow. Tonight was about having fun, making memories, and seizing the opportunity to enjoy some hands-on learning in the classroom of life.

No Comments »

Friday Fun

“If you and Daddy were glued together, you’d have two mouths, four hands, and four legs,” Little Bear suddenly declared before breakfast this morning.

“Hmm,” I replied, “how many noses would we have?”

“Two!” came the reply.

“How many ears?” I asked.

“Four!” she answered.

“How many fingers?” I challenged.

She counted aloud as if visualizing each finger, before proudly declaring “Twenty! And you’d have twenty toes too, because you have the same number of fingers and toes!”

“And there you have it,” I told my husband. “Math in action. How can I top that?”

… We left the textbooks on the shelf this morning and headed to the mall. Daddy Bear needed a necktie for an afternoon interview, and I figured I could introduce Little Bear to the world of bargain shopping. The word “bargain” exited the plan when the first tie I picked up had a $49.95 price tag and the second a $79.95 sticker.

“What do you think, Mommy?” Little Bear asked curiously.

“I think we’re in the wrong store,” I responded, taking her by the hand (less she accidentally break anything in Inflated Prices, Inc.) and heading for the one of the cheaper establishments.

We ultimately found a perfectly functional tie (Do ties actually have a function?) for $20 — still not a bargain in my book, but at least within the realm of reason. We also browsed through the children’s department in a futile effort to find plain denim shorts. Little Bear discovered a rack of fancy spring/summer infant dresses and noted that we could get Baby Bear TWO new dresses for less than Daddy’s one tie cost.

“True,” I said, “but what do we need to buy today?”

“A necktie for Daddy,” she answered.

“Do you think Baby Bear needs any more dresses?” I asked.

“Not really,” she said.

Bargain shopping rule no. 1: If you don’t need it, it’s not a bargain no matter how cheap it may be.

We were about to continue our search for plain denim shorts at another store when I looked at the clock and realized it was almost time to pick Daddy up from school. I’d promised the girls some play time, and making good on that promise trumped finding shorts.

Bargain shopping rule no. 2: If you can’t find what you want at a price you’re willing to pay today, you can always try again another day. Or try eBay. Or simply do without.

Little Bear finally managed to scale one of the play structures she’s been trying to scale independently for the past year:

"I did it!"

Balancing just like the big kids ...

Meantime, Baby Bear decided it was nap time:

"Wake me when you're ready to go home."

We used our time in the car to practice our address and phone number. At some point, I came up with the cheesy idea of putting the phone number to music and singing a silly little ditty that went something like this:

What’s your telephone nu-um-ber?
What’s your telephone nu-um-ber?
What’s your telephone nu-um-ber?

That’s my telephone number!

Within two minutes, Little Bear went from complaining that the telephone number was “too hard to remember” to singing it right along with me. She also succeeded in recalling it half a dozen times over the course of the afternoon and evening, so it actually seems to have stuck.

This afternoon, we reviewed our letter P verse and read the accompanying story in My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts. We read another chapter in The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport and squeezed in calendar time. Then, the girls and I headed to the bookstore so that Daddy Bear could have a webcam interview in peace and quiet.

Working on

I wasn’t sure how much time we’d need to kill, so I took the computer along. Little Bear did an lesson, while I stood guard between Baby Bear and a display rack full of Webkinz. (Bargain shopping rule no. 3: Stuffed animals are not a bargain at ANY price.) We also spent about half an hour browsing children’s books and managed to come home with only two.


Despite temperatures still in the low 90s (after 6 p.m.), the girls enjoyed some outside playtime once we got home. Baby Bear gravitated to the dirt, of course, but she was playing oh-so-happily with her back toward me, and I *thought* she was simply digging in the dirt. Um, no. When I walked over to see exactly what she was doing, I found her quite happily filling dump truck after dump truck with dirt, then delightedly pouring each load all over herself. … Applied physics notwithstanding, we cut play time a bit shorter than  planned and bumped bath time up an hour.

After early showers, the girls joined me in the kitchen for our final activity of the day: making Pink Lemonade Pie for Daddy’s birthday tomorrow. This was supposed to have been a project for Little Bear, but Baby Bear really wanted to get in on the action:

Little chefs

Little Bear did a fantastic job of listening and following directions, so I decided that tonight was the perfect time to introduce her to the time-honored tradition of licking the beater:

Good stuff!

While I cleaned the kitchen, Little Bear made a birthday card for Daddy and wrote most of “I love you” herself. Finally, we read a couple more chapters in our Bobbsey Twins read-aloud, followed by Little Miss Princess, How Raggedy Ann Got Her Candy Heart, and I Love You Because You’re You before bed.


A Whole Lot of ‘Nothing’

Today was one of those days when it seemed like “nothing” got done. Or rather, nothing preschool-related. I’ve been trying to get some much-needed deep cleaning done this week, and while the apartment is looking better, I haven’t had as much “project” time with Little Bear as I’d like. In fact, I almost didn’t post tonight; then, I reminded myself that this blog is supposed to be a record we are accomplishing, however much or little that may be.

When I took time to reflect on our actual accomplishments (instead of what I wished we’d gotten down), I realized that today’s “whole lot of nothing” actually included quite a bit of age-appropriate activity and learning.

We started the day with speech therapy. Little Bear is finally reaching the point where she can consistently produce the /k/ sound, much to the delight of her therapist (and the rest of us!). The highlight of the morning in Little Bear’s opinion, though, was learning how to play tic-tac-toe and getting to play Toss Across with her therapist and another child.

On the way home from speech therapy, we stopped by a landscaping shop that proved to be a hidden gem, an oasis of plant life that truly outshone any of the public gardens we’ve visited. Little Bear and I could easily have spent the afternoon there, had Baby Bear not kept trying to sample the plants and the mulch and the rocks and the water in the fountains. We came home with a beautiful tropical hibiscus, which we read about over lunch and re-potted while Baby Bear napped.

While at the landscape shop, we learned how to prune our non-flowering lantana in the hopes of generating some blooms.

Little Bear watched an episode of Sid the Science Kid and completed a couple of lessons on

We read three more chapters in The Bobbsey Twins Of Lakeport, our first chapter book read aloud (which Little Bear is devouring).

Little Bear traced letters in her salt box while I cleaned in the office.

We started a chore chart this week, and Little Bear took great delight in doing her chores (clearing the table, picking up toys, putting clothes in the laundry basket, and putting shoes in the shoe rack). She also helped with laundry.

The girls played in the dirt, played ball, watched a squirrel bury acorns, and tried to count the birds outside. They also enjoyed an impromptu play date with the neighbor kids, when the heat drover everyone into our apartment.

Little Bear practiced basic addition with blocks.

We read the following letter Pp books:

At Little Bear’s request, we ended the day with popcorn (a Letter Pp snack).

Add in some block play, some drawing and coloring, some puzzle time, and plenty of imaginative play, and I’d say it was a pretty good day for having done “nothing.”

No Comments »

The Pirate Princess

What happens in a classroom when the teacher goes on strike? Well, when the world happens to be your classroom, a surprising amount of learning takes place even in the absence of a formal instructor.

It was one of those days today. There were bills to pay and appointments to make. There was laundry to put away and a dishwasher full of dishes waiting to be emptied. There were meals to cook, diapers to change, beds to make, medications to dispense, telemarketers to ignore. And while I was trying to go three directions at once, with Baby Bear tagging along behind and impatiently begging for nursies, Little Bear posed the innocent question, “Mommy, when are we going to do school?”

After counting to 10 (or perhaps 100), I informed her that we weren’t “doing school” today and that her “assignment” for the day was to entertain herself.

… She took the task quite seriously and started by donning an old tutu, constructing a pink Mega-Block wand, and proclaiming herself a princess. Since she already had the Mega-Bloks out, she built a series of towers and compared their heights. She completed a wooden jigsaw puzzle, then helped Baby Bear fit pieces into a jumbo knob puzzle. Then, with lunchtime approaching and temperatures rising, we headed outside for some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. Little Bear climbed in my lap for some “private Mommy time” (her words), while Baby Bear pursued the birds and squirrels. When Baby Bear’s exploits took her in the direction of the picnic tables (which she considers her personal jungle gym), we followed after. Along the way, Little Bear found a stick. The stick became a sword, the picnic table a pirate ship, and the green grass a dangerous stretch of shark-infested waters. The Dread Pirate Little Bear declared herself the protector of Princess Baby Bear, and so ensued a fantastic game of make-believe.

Little Bear asked me to get the camera and take a picture of her “pirate face” as she wielded her sword to save Princess Baby Bear from a fearsome shark:

Why, don't all pirates wear ruffles and flowers?

We, uh, obviously haven’t had many discussions about pirates and what exactly they do. (She saw part of an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates at speech therapy one day and now thinks that pirates live on boats, talk to birds, and help people.) We’ll wait a few years before spoiling her innocent fun with cold, hard facts.

We headed back inside just in time for Caillou. Caillou and Co. kept the girls entertained while I cleaned out the refrigerator and turned Sunday and Monday’s leftovers into lunch. Then, we all piled into the recliner for some rest time and reading.

Little Bear got out her dry erase board and practiced writing the letter Pp while I got Baby Bear to sleep. When she tired of writing, she did an alphabet dot-to-dot page. Then, she headed back to the toy bins and had a picnic with her stuffed animals.

Little Bear's Pp Sound Box

I spent nap time organizing the girls’ clothes and emptying a box in the process. Little Bear immediately snagged it and asked if she could use it as a letter Pp box (an idea she’s borrowed from Jane Belk Moncure’s Sound Box series). I told her that she was welcome to the box, but that if she wanted to create a sound box she either needed to do it on her own or wait until tomorrow. She chose the first option. After wandering around the house for a few minutes, she called me into the living room and asked me to take a picture of her with her box. She’d filled it with …

  • a puppy pillow
  • a puppy lovey
  • a pair of pajamas
  • a wooden pig
  • a stuffed panda bear
  • two wooden bears
  • a pot
  • a pan
  • a pinwheel
  • a can of pineapple
  • a jar of baby food peaches
  • a picture of her parents
  • a puzzle

Finally, she climbed on top of the overflowing box because, “I can pretend to be a pirate or a pig or a princess or anything!”


No Comments »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers