Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Rain and Reading

on September 13, 2012

We woke to cloudy skies, wet grass, puddles, and a 20-degree drop in temperatures this morning — exciting stuff when you’re living in a hot, drought-plagued region with a dwindling water supply! With more severe weather in the forecast, we headed outdoors right after breakfast to enjoy some fresh air while we safely could.

Little Bear observed that it was noticeably cooler outside — cool enough, in fact, that she was chilly. She noted that the wind was blowing and that the wet grass was filled with chattering birds. Baby Bear, meantime, observed a small puddle on the sidewalk and made a beeline for it. She splashed happily for a few seconds, then literally threw herself down into it, laying flat on her belly and slapping at the water with her little hands. I realized then that play time would need to be followed by bath time, and if you’re going to have to bathe kids before lunchtime, you might as well make the extra baths worthwhile. I gave Little Bear the OK to dig for worms in the moist dirt, then followed Baby Bear as she hunted for more puddles. Suffice it to say, Baby Bear’s puddle hunt proved more productive than Little Bear’s worm hunt. (Apparently, Texas summers are too hot and dry to appeal to earthworms.) Little Bear soon joined the puddle hunt, and we splashed happily along until both girls were soaked through. Then, we headed in for baths, dry clothes, calendar time, and our morning Bible story.

I had some time-sensitive work to do, so I let the girls watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I took care of Mom Stuff. Then came story time. We’ve been learning about community helpers this month, so this morning’s theme reading included …

We wrapped up our morning story time with several just-for-fun books, including Sandra Boynton favorites Tickle Time! and Fifteen Animals!. The final title paved the way for math, where we’re working on identifying numerals. Little Bear can count with ease, but she struggles a bit with numeral recognition. Today, we drilled numbers 12-25 using both flash cards and our 1-100 chart. We wrapped up with a game, where I called a number, and she raced to find it before time was up.

We worked through a couple of Mind Benders Beginning Book 1 (PreK-K) puzzles, four riddles in Can You Find Me?, and two short lessons in First Time Analogies.

The girls played while I fixed lunch and took a break after lunch. Baby Bear eventually fell asleep, and Little Bear asked to play on the iPad. She spent some time on ABC Food, did several dot-to-dot puzzles, then played a rhyming word matching game.

Little Bear covers the /c/ sounds with yellow buttons and the /s/ sounds with pink.

The iPad game led into today’s reading lesson. Yes, we’ve once again started formal reading instruction, this time at Little Bear’s request. We started using The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons this week and are currently working with the sounds /a/, /c/, /o/, /s/, and /t/. I learned through brief experience with another popular reading program that Little Bear needs hands-on activity in order to focus on the task at hand, and The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons lends itself to such use. Today, we used buttons to cover target sounds, used Wikki Stix to match letters with pictures representing their sounds, and used a fun pointer to blend sounds from left to right. Little Bear ended today’s lesson by writing all of this week’s letters in her salt box.

Singin’ in the rain

By the time Baby Bear woke, an early afternoon thunderstorm had given way to a steady, gentle rain with no thunder or lightning. Little Bear had asked several times if we could go out in the rain, so I changed the girls into jeans, old shirts, crocs, and rain coats (although I’m not sure why I bothered with the latter) and took them back out. Little Bear hit the grass running, dancing in circles, and singing about how much she loved rain. Baby Bear, meantime, was pretty excited over the wet stuff falling from the sky as well … then, she discovered MUD.

When she first stepped off the sidewalk, the naughty mud stole her shoe.

“That’s MY shoe!”

She fussed for a minute, rescued her shoe, then decided to stick a dip a curious foot into the sticky brown stuff:

“What is this stuff?”

… It was love at first squish!

Stepping in with both feet …

Little Bear splashed in puddles, rode her bike through the puddles, and tried to catch rain drops on her tongue.

You haven’t lived until you’ve caught a raindrop on your tongue!

Finally, she too made her way over to the mud, telling me all the while, “I don’t like mud. Mud is yucky. I don’t want to get my feet all yucky and dirty. OOOH! IT FEELS GOOD! MOMMY, I LOVE IT!”

Mud between her toes …

Making memories …

Turned loose to play in the mud for the first time EVER, the girls would happily have played outside until nightfall. I didn’t want them getting too chilly, though; so I finally lured them in with the promise of hot chocolate.

The girls were so dirty that they went straight into the shower, clothes and all. I rinsed raincoats, rinsed clothes, rinsed girls, scrubbed the tub, then refilled it with a warm bubble bath and two mostly clean girls while I and a bar of Fels Naphtha waged war on the mud stains.

Once clean, Little Bear helped me make “real” hot cocoa and “porridge” (oatmeal with apples, raisins, and cinnamon) for a warm easy supper on a cool end-of-summer night. She finished up her fine motor work for the day (a cutting activity, a pasting activity, a coloring page, and a couple of sticker puzzles) while I cleaned the kitchen. We wrapped up the day building with Wedgits, playing a game of Colorama (with Baby Bear rolling the dice), making pattern block animals, and reading at least a dozen just-for-fun books before bedtime — all in all a fun ending to a memory-filled day.


2 Responses to “Rain and Reading”

  1. Susan says:

    Oh, your post is full of so much joy of being a kid!!!! LOVE IT!

  2. Janet Smith says:

    Julie, I can never tell you enough how proud I am of you and your work with the girls. I hope you are saving copies of all your posts. It would be great if you could make a book out of them to give to them(and grandparents, hint,hint) , when they are older. Just an idea. love to all, Grandma

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