Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

All work and no play …

on June 15, 2012

After a painfully tedious morning yesterday (handwriting is NOT among Little Bear’s favorite activities), I wanted today to be fun and affirming. I filled our workboxes with tasks I knew she would enjoy and be able to complete successfully. Then, I gave her free reign over the day and told her that we could do as much or as little work as she liked and that she could complete tasks in any order she liked. Just as our day began, though, Daddy Bear glanced outside and noticed that the sprinklers were on. Little Bear has been begging to play in the sprinklers for the past two months, but the handful of times they’ve been turned on, we’ve either been gone or on our way out the door. Today, she got to run and play to her heart’s content:

Summer fun!

‘C’mon, Sister!’

Shared fun is the best fun!

Baby Bear wasn’t sure what to make of the intermittent, upside down “rain,” so Little Bear led her straight to the heart of the action. … And she loved it!

The girls played for about half an hour, til their clothes were soaked through and the light morning breeze made them feel chilly despite the West Texas summer heat. So, we headed inside for warm baths, dry clothes, and a second attempt at starting our school day.

Given the freedom to choose any of our workbox activities, Little Bear allowed that we needed to start with our Bible story. So we finished reading Rebekah The Mother Of Twins, which we’d begun the day before. Of all the stand-alone Bible story books we have, the Bibletime series by Carine Mackenzie are among the most accurate. They’re detailed enough, however, that we usually divide them into a couple of days and add in related activities. Yesterday, Little Bear opted to act out the story, pulling a wooden camel out of her basket of animals and pretending to draw water for it as Rebekah did for Abraham’s servant, instead of coloring the related coloring page I’d stuck in the bin. Today, she remembered the coloring page and wanted to make “rainbow camels” (along with rainbow everything else …) after we finished the book.

She pulled out the calendar time drawer next and said that we needed to add today’s number to our calendar pocket chart, but that she didn’t really want to do any other calendar time activities today. That was fine by me. After all, this was her day to pick and choose, and I’d told her I would follow her lead.

Then came the drawer I’d expected her to pull out first, a long-awaited ladybug craft from our Alex Toys Paper Plate Bugs kit.

Ladybug, ladybug

She needed a bit of assistance positioning the wings and gluing on the popsicle stick legs. Beyond that, she did most of the work alone, and her face clearly reflected the joy of a job well done.

After the craft project, Little Bear and I paused for lunch. Not one to be left out, Baby Bear opted to combine lunchtime with some fine motor skills practice of her own:

Honing those fine motor skills …

Thankfully, the blueberries had been washed before she helped herself to the container and appropriated her sister’s desk!

Workbox #4

Which one is shining brighter?

Following lunch, Little Bear selected a drawer that contained a copy of Sam and the Firefly along with a Lauri Toys Dot-2-Dot Lacing Bugs firefly card. Both girls crawled up in my lap to enjoy the story, though Baby Bear lost interest about halfway through the book. Little Bear loves this particular book and has heard it countless times over, but never seems to lose interest. Today, she helped read the text in the illustrations, although I’m not sure whether she was reading the words or simply reciting them from memory.

Next, we tackled the firefly project. Little Bear found the number 1 on the card, pointed to it, and asked me to get her started. Then, she was off with careful in-and-out action. Lacing cards have yet to become a favorite activity, but she’ll do them happily enough — and unbeknownst to her, she’s practicing the same motor skills that she needs for handwriting.

Workbox #5

Little Bear continued her fine motor work by independently completing the tasks in her fifth workbox of choice, which contained cutting, tracing, and coloring activities. After yesterday’s number writing task ended in tears, I was not at all sure that she’d want to tackle the tracing book today. To my surprise, she completed not only the activity I’d selected, but four more pages besides. Apparently, writing is a lot more pleasant when it involves dry erase crayons and brightly-colored wipe-off books!

After completing the 5th box, she took a well-deserved break and watched a couple of episodes of Team Umizoomi. Then the cubs braved the heat and heat outside for some afternoon sand play:

Never underestimate the magic of sun ‘n’ sand!

They came back in with flushed cheeks, ready to play in the cool of the living room and enjoy some random read-alouds. Then, fueled by her successes earlier in the day, Little Bear asked to do some pages in her just-for-fun Let’s Create workbook. She’s beyond the academic content of this book, but still loves completing the fun activities and choosing a “good job” sticker for each page completed. And while she may know her numbers, colors, and so forth, anything that builds her confidence and encourages her to write, draw, trace, or color is a GOOD thing.

The day ended, as usual, with a relaxing evening in the pool and another chapter in our current Bobbsey Twin read-aloud before bedtime.


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