Kissing Hand cookies
     "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn has become a classic back-to-school story because of the sweet way it reminds kids (and parents,  too!) that their parents' love stays with them no matter where they go.  In anticipation of school starting for many of the kids next week, today we read the story and made these sweet Kissing Hand cookies for a snack to go along with it!

    We had fun taking turns to measure and add the ingredients, and then rolling out the dough and cutting out our handprint shapes.
    And hopefully, the sweet snack afterward will help us remember the story of "The Kissing Hand" as some of our group heads off to school!
    Jake made us some really fun new wooden block toys over the weekend that we added to our "loose parts" collection outside  this morning.  I am excited about adding more and more loose parts as I see the benefits they offer to the kids in the form of creativity, problem solving, and concrete experiences.  The kids got right to work building and balancing with the new blocks and they seem to be a big hit! :)

Our butterfly hatched
    I walked past our caterpillar jar early this morning and noticed that I could see the black wings and yellow spots through our chrysalis, so I knew it wouldn't be long before our butterfly made it's appearance.  I told the kids we should make sure to check on it this morning, hoping to show them what I had seen, but by the time we all got out there the butterfly had already come out!  We must have just barely missed it though, because it's wings were still all folded and wrinkled, so it was fun for the kids to be able to see that.

The kids were really excited and asked great questions, like "What will the butterflly eat?" and "When is it going to fly?"  So, we watched it pump up and stretch out its wings, and we found its "proboscis" and talked about how that rolls out to become like a straw that it drinks flower nectar through.  Once we had all had a chance to get a good look at it,
...I carefully moved the stick that the butterfly was clinging to out of the glass jar and into the mesh butterfly house.  Since I have just a small group here today, I am hoping that we can safely keep it in the mesh house until tomorrow when a few more of the kids will have a chance to see it, and then set it free.
We gathered up a few flowers and orange slices and put them in  the butterfly house, so there will be some nectar available in case our butterfly gets hungry before tomorrow.
Then, hopefully she will fly out to our garden and lay her eggs on our Angelica plants so we can find them later and witness the full life cycle!
Preschool bubbles
    Today we tried out lots of different ways to make bubbles!  We had a big bucket of bubble solution and had fun blowing bubbles until it was almost all gone!  We used the traditional bubble wands that come with bubble bottles,

...we really gave those fine-motor hand muscles a work-out by making our own bubble wands with fuzzy sticks (pipe cleaners).
We used straws and string to make giant bubbles,
...and we used cut off plastic bottles with nylon pieces rubberbanded to the end to make lots and lots of little bubbles...bubble snakes!
The kids really had fun stomping those "snakes" after they fell to the ground!