The crunch of a good leaf pile is definitely my favorite thing about fall! Think back to the best memories you have of your own childhood. I'll bet there's one similar to this on that list. What are some of your other favorite memories of play as a child? Asking yourself that question is a fantastic place to start when thinking of things to do with kids!
We had a great time with the process of making our own applesauce today! There is something so powerful in being trusted enough to use REAL tools to do a job! The kids and I peeled the apples, then used the slicer to cut them up, and added the ingredients to start cooking. They were so excited to learn how one of their favorite foods is made, and were just as excited to get to eat some for snack! :) Of course, they also enjoyed snacking on the apples themselves throughout the whole process. I think between the four oldest kids, they ate the better part of eight or nine apples, before we even got around to the applesauce! I can't think of a better sensory experience than something completely edible, that smells delicious, can snap and crack in your hands, or even feel mushy, is smooth and shiny in one spot, and rough and wet in another...so much great, authentic sensory input today, even for the littlest ones!
We went out to finish picking a few more of our mini pumpkins this morning, until little hands got too cold (it can't really be time for gloves ALREADY, can it?!?) and then we came in and made a fresh batch of slime! Ours today is equal parts glue and liquid starch, but there are LOTS of fun slime recipes here: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/04/slime-recipes_26.html
It was pumpkin harvest day today! We have had so much fun watching our mini pumpkin vines grow up over our wire tunnel and produce pumpkins, and we had just as much fun picking and collecting them today.
I really had hoped to post more of our progress on our Outdoor Classroom here, but I do have it all in an album over on our Hilary's Home Daycare Facebook page. I'd love it if you'd go check it out! :) I am so extremely happy with our Outdoor Classroom right now and I am already looking forward to the start of the next growing season so we can start it all over again!
I am pretty sad that summer is coming to an end, but we are not going to let that stop us from enjoying every last bit of nice weather in our new mud pie kitchen! (Though I think it will make a fun snow pie kitchen, too!) I still hope to add a real kitchen sink on the left side, but it's definitely usable! The kids were so excited to see it ready for play this morning, and they have already spent hours scooping, digging, squeezing (great pre-writing work!), counting, measuring (math concepts), role-playing, planning, communicating, problem solving (VERY important social skills), just rolling in the new dirt patch, and having SO MUCH FUN!
We were also in the mood for some painting today, so some jumped right into that as well!
Chalk paint was a big hit yesterday! Equal parts cornstarch and water, with food coloring or liquid watercolor mixed in, then frozen. The kids had fun using them as chalk, and then even more fun when they discovered that as it melted, it made oobleck...one of our favorite sensory materials! They loved watching the colors swirl and run together as it melted.
We had lots of fun experimenting with exploding sandwich bags (vinegar, warm water, and baking soda) this morning! And then we had more fun scooping, pouring, sifting, touching, holding, tossing, measuring, and mixing all the ingredients! Learn how to mix up your own exploding bags here.
The kids had brand new butterflies waiting for them when they came today! We got to release two Black Swallowtail butterflies that we caught and cared for as caterpillars a couple weeks ago. They were not overly eager to fly right away so we got to observe them right in the garden for quite a while! This led to great discussions on how to tell a male from a female, and we got to see the "proboscis" in action! Now that we have a butterfly house free again, we'll have to get a few more caterpillars in it, I'm sure!
We have tadpoles! :) I have been going out searching, but hadn't been able to find any yet in the spots I'd been checking. But, thanks to a great friend who found AND delivered, we have tadpoles to observe and care for again this summer! We have six tadpoles, and they range in stages of development, from one with just a tail and no limbs yet to a frog with just a tiny nub of a tail left, and all phases in between.
These are a different variety than we had last year, too so that should be fun! We identified last year's tadpoles as American Toads. Since toads keep growing throughout their lives, those tadpoles and new toads were SO TINY! The tadpoles we have this year seem HUGE in comparison!
We learned last year that we can feed the tadpoles frozen lettuce bits. Freezing the lettuce first helps to break it down and make it easier for the tadpoles to eat. Beyond feeding them, there really isn't much else we need to do for them...we just get to observe the magic of science! :)