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  • Melanie Patric

Combining Play Materials, Caterpillars, and the Slip-n-Slide...

It's fascinating how occasionally the children's play witll take a leap ahead developmentally. Today felt like one of those days because I noticed several instances where the children combined play materials of different sorts in novel ways with no input from me.

It all began after our morning routine when one of the children used a playsilk to enhance a block structure he was building. Soon after, the other children imitated him and soon we had a room full of peek-a-boo block play.

After block play was over, we took some time to maintain the caterpillars' enclosure and check out the caterpillars' growth. The biggest one (we named it "Big Bug") has beautiful long feelers and is brightly colored. We talked a little about why the caterpillars are so bright in color and though there were some good guesses ("[its] favorite color is yellow!"), the children were surprised to learn that the caterpillars' color is a warning to predators that it is toxic and tastes bad. Anyone who has ever tasted milkweed sap by mistake can attest-it's terribly bitter and awful tasting!

We also took some time to talk about how much the caterpillars eat now. After the caterpillars hatched, they only chewed tiny pinholes in the milkweed leaves. Now they are eating entire leaves down to the stem each day!

We ended the morning with some fun in the sun and water play. The children loved seeing the big, nodding heads of the sunflowers with their golden petals, and we're all still amazed at how tall the flowers are. Just look at the child in the blue and green striped swimsuit helping turn on the water in the picture below!

The slip-and-slide is a favorite for all of us, and today the children had a wonderful time cooling off under the spray. It wasn't long before toys from other areas of the back yard began to gravitate to the water play area...

Balls are more interesting to kick under a spray of water, and we learned that they can make a big splash in a puddle.

Filling and dumping is also lots of fun and provides the children with the perfect hands-on opportunity to deepen their understandings of full and empty, heavy and light, solid and liquid, spatial orientation, and more. It's so much fun to learn!

Last, we checked on one of our lovely white marigolds that had grown from a seed we started together in March. Isn't it pretty now? All of our hard work has paid off a thousand fold.

See you tomorrow!

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