Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Lights, Lemons, and Little Explorers

on March 25, 2012

Hands-on learning at its finest ...

I had to disappoint Little Bear this morning with the news that since she was still running a fever, she couldn’t go to Sunday School. She turned her puffy, watery eyes and runny nose toward me and said, “But I feel fine!” … So we compromised and took our germs outside, where the birds and squirrels could have cared less, instead of spending the morning in a small room packed full of other little people.

Over the past month, we’ve been blessed with some desperately-needed rain here in West Texas, and for the first time since we moved here, the yard is alive with tender green growth and tiny flowers. Each excursion outdoors is a veritable treasure hunt, as Little Bear hunts for new patches of flowers or some unknown leaf. This morning, she was greeted by a sizable patch of tiny yellow flowers peeking through the clover and was overjoyed.

Little Explorer

She also found some new weed growing beneath the magnolia tree and tugged on one of its leaves, only to have the whole weed come up in her hand.

A fragile root

Her initial concern gave way to curiosity, and she observed that this particular weed had a weak root system. She asked if we should try to replant it, then decided it probably wouldn’t survive even if we did. (The brown leaf near the bottom and brown spots on the upper leaves gave credence to her theory.)

As the sun rose high in the sky and it grew unpleasantly warm outdoors, we came back inside and built an L out of Duplos. Little Bear had asked whether light could really fade colors, so we stuck our Lego L on a sheet of black construction paper and set it out in the sun to observe what would happen.

Using the sun's light to make a sun print

Living in an apartment complex sometimes hampers our science experiments, and this was one of those occasions. At some point, our L got bumped, so the finished product was not as perfect as I’d hoped. Little Bear was still able to see clearly, though, how the Texas sun faded the construction paper everywhere except beneath the L in the two short hours our project was outside. We talked about how sunlight could cause damage by fading upholstery, carpeting, drapes, etc. I also pointed out how the sun’s ability to “bleach” colors could work to our advantage by bleaching organic stains from clothing. (Baby Bear managed to get chocolate almond milk on two outfits yesterday, so tomorrow, we’ll experiment and see if the sun can do what Shout Advanced and Oxyclean couldn’t.)

Tonight, we read about light in our Kingfisher First Encyclopedia and headed outside to see how quickly the beam of a flashlight could travel and how far it could spread. Little Bear observed that the light became fainter the further it spread. We also made a futile attempt to count the stars.

When Mommy gives you lemons ...

... make lemon bars!

Last but not least, Little Bear finally got a chance to turn fresh lemons into lemon juice and help me make lemon bars. She struggled with holding our cheap plastic juicer still while turning the lemon, so she devised her own method of juicing. She held the lemon and spun the juicer around beneath it. It wasn’t the method Mommy had in mind, but it got the job done. Little Bear took one taste of the sour lemon juice and was not at all sure we could make something palatable out of it, but after sampling the finished product, she deemed it a success.

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