Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Of Dirt and Other Delights

on April 28, 2012

One of the things we love most about our current home is the huge semi-enclosed courtyard where our kids can run and play, chase butterflies, pick wildflowers, or sprawl under a tree and watch a bird build its nest. There is, however, one small patch of dirt where seemingly nothing will grow. And guess which one spot of earth our kids (along with the neighbor tykes) find most attractive?

Most days, I specifically ask the girls to play in the grass. I’m just not a fan of dirt in any form — on their clothes, on their bodies, or tracked into our apartment (not to mention Baby Bear’s propensity for eating dirt). For the past couple of days, though, Little Bear has sweetly asked, “Mommy, if I sit on the sidewalk, may I please dig in the dirt with my shovel?” Sigh. Who could say “No!” to that? Not this Mama!

So today, I didn’t even try to discourage dirt play. Instead, I dressed the girls in play clothes and turned them loose.

Digging in the dirt

Little Bear carefully filled her dump truck, then drove it to a new location where Baby Bear promptly dumped it. They repeated this scene several times over, then proceeded to give their feet a “dirt bath.” (We’d read about different ways birds clean themselves earlier in the week, and Little Bear found the concept of a dirt bath fascinating …)

Little Bear wanted to make her dirt pile more inviting to the local bird population, so she topped it with bird seed and built a “nest” of twigs, grass, and weeds alongside of it. Baby Bear wasn’t particularly interested in nest building, so she toddled over to a tiny flower bed (that also refuses to grow anything) and “planted” herself:

Growing in the garden

Just as the Texas heat drove us indoors, one of our young neighbors came out and asked if he could play. We ended up inviting him and his brother in for a fun-filled impromptu play date that ended only when the entire crew needed lunch and rest.

Little Bear spent some time on and this afternoon while Baby Bear napped. She used her alphabet Duplos to build words in the -at and -an word families. She counted out the date in Duplos, then grouped them to show that their were two groups of ten and eight ones in the number 28. She also spent some time playing with Play-Doh and succeeded in fashioning a surprisingly-recognizable Play-Doh person.

Once Baby Bear woke up, we braved the heat and headed outside for a little more fresh air and sunshine. This time, a dove came within a few feet of the girls, and Baby Bear attempted to catch it. She’d toddle after the bird, and the bird would waddle along just a few steps ahead of her. Then the bird would tire of the chase and fly up to a low branch, leaving behind a bewildered Baby Bear. She’d stand on the ground, staring up at the bird, and pointing as if it say, “How did he do that?!?” Eventually, she’d lose interest and toddle away. The bird would fly right back down where she was playing, and the chase would resume … again and again … and again. Little Bear, meantime, acquired magnolia leave wings and “flew” around the yard herself a few times.

We ended the day with some farm-themed read-alouds, which included the following:

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