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  • Melanie Patric

Seashells, Sand Soup, Small World, and Cooking Zucchini...

July might just be better than June for water play, so we are focusing on oceans as our monthly theme. Our morning circle time routine includes two fingerplays about starfish, one of which goes like this:

Five little starfish lived in the sea,

Floating and moving as happy as can be.

The first little starfish crawled behind a rock to hide.

The second little starfish caught a wave for a ride.

The third little starfish searched for a treat.

The fourth little starfish found something to eat.

The fifth little starfish was crawling in the sand

When a child like you picked it up in her hand!

When we finished circle time, the children and I worked together to wash some beautiful shells to add to our collection of toys for the month. We talked about the varying textures, shapes, sizes, weights, and colors of the different shells. We wondered what the animals that used to live inside the shells looked like.

After a time, we set up a small world area where the children's choice of dolls and figures could go swimming, visit frogs on lily pads, interact with fish, and go to a castle on an island.

Of course, some of the seashells ended up on the "beach." Suddenly, we heard the monthly tornado siren drill, so we knew it was time to do our own tornado and fire drills. The children have become so accustomed to doing the drills that they know just what to do and have fun holding onto the railing as we descend the basement stairs or hold hands and walk to the tree in the front yard.

After our tornado and fire drills, we set off to pick vegetables in the back yard, and it's a good thing we did- we harvested several cucumbers and some extra large zucchini! Once the gardens had been tended, the children settled down to play in the mud kitchen.

Mother Nature ensured that "soup" was on the menu. Her recent downpours had filled some of the pots and pans in the kitchen which was a perfect invitiation for creative play.

Soon it was time to prepare for lunch.

The chidren took turns grating sections of the enormous zucchini we had picked earlier, and from the zucchini we made a wonderful pasta sauce.

Here's the recipe we've decided is best:


whole wheat pasta (we use rotini)

2 medium zucchini (or one super-big one!)

1 c spinach leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 c grate parmesan cheese (reserve about 2 tbsp for garnish)

1/4-1/2 c reserved pasta water (to thin sauce)


Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, grate zucchini. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to instructions. Add olive oil and zucchini to pan and saute over medium-high heat until zucchini is softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, stir and cook until spinach is wilted. Take zucchini mixture off heat and spoon into blender. Add enough pasta water to make zucchini mixture blendable but not runny, doing batches as necessary. Add parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Drain pasta and pour zucchini sauce over; stir to mix. Serve with garnish of parmesan.

Later in the day we read Jack's Garden and thought about which of the insects and small creatures in the story we've seen in our garden. Worms are our favorite!

See you tomorrow!

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