Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Little Girls, Big World

on October 3, 2012

Little girls, big world

For a third day in a row, we left books on the shelves this morning and began our day outside. Little Bear rode her bicycle up and down the sidewalk, while Baby Bear ran after her — and after the squirrels, the birds, and even the occasional falling leaf. The girls paused to collect acorns, Little Bear in hopes of “planting” them and growing a yard full of oak trees and Baby Bear simply to examine them.

“Look what I found!”

Little Bear used a stick to write her letters in the dirt, while Baby Bear and I made rows of one, two, three, four, and five rocks. The girls had just returned to more active play when Daddy Bear came home from school and reminded me that library books were due today. So we wiped the dirt off the girls’ faces, made Baby Bear take off her beloved squeaky shoes, made Little Bear put on a pair of shoes, and headed to what Little Bear excitedly referred to as her “most favorite place in the whole wide world!”

Once at the library, the girls played on the computers in the kids’ area while I hurriedly grabbed a bag full of books.

Alphabet games

A girl and her bike

We ran a few more errands, then headed home for stories, failed attempts at naps, and more outside play, this time with friends. The one painful lesson of the day came when my child who refuses to keep her shoes on outside ran barefoot through a ginormous hill of red ants (we’re talking at least 2 feet in diameter and swarming with hundreds of tiny red ants). A dozen or more ant bites, many tears, and a baking soda foot soak later, several lessons were acknowledged:

  1. Ants are not our “friends.” They will bite, and their bites hurt! (We’ve had some debate over this issue in recent weeks. Little Bear has previously tried to convince me that the ants are her friends and that they’ve told her they won’t bite her if she plays with them. …)
  2. Mommy has good reasons for insisting on shoes in certain areas of the yard. Disregarding this rule can be painful, as evidenced by a grass burr encounter last week and the ant hill encounter this week.
  3. It helps to watch where you’re going — especially when you’re barefoot, especially when you’re pursuing a playmate who just stirred up a giant ant hill and brought its angry inhabitants swarming to the surface.

We finally got around to tackling a couple of our workboxes after dinner and baths this evening. As we sat down to play an addition and subtraction game, Little Bear allowed, “We didn’t get much school work done today.”

“Did you learn anything today?” I asked.

“Oh, yes!” she replied.

“Honey,” I continued, “Life itself is school, and the world is our classroom. You’ve used your senses. You’ve used your brain. You’ve used your muscles. You’ve listened to stories and created stories with your own imagination. You’ve played alone and played with others. You’ve made choices, and experienced their consequences. … We’ve most certainly ‘done school’ today. We just didn’t complete many worksheets along the way.”

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