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  • Melanie Patric

August's Last Blast of Summer and Caterpillar Changes...

While the day promised summer temperatures, this mist morning delivered a taste of fall. We were mezmerized to see tiny water droplets reveal a spider's work in the early morning hours as the children filtered in.

Later, we finished up our last day of our sunflower circle time fingerplays and the last retelling of the story about why sunflowers hang their heads. Our sunflowers have grown so big that we discovered that they are about three to four times as tall as the children. We measured with a string last Friday! We also discovered that if each of us were to stand on the other's heads, our stack of children would be about five feet taller than the sunflower.

The children and enjoyed a lot of nice outdoor time in the warm weather today after our morning routines. We began with a little ball tossing...

...then moved on to sandbox discoveries.

Some of the children enjoyed molding shapes with containers...

... while others were very serious about "cooking" in the sand kitchen. "Cookies" were being prepared in the pictures below.

We picked an enormous amount of tomatoes from the garden... and a few of us ate some cherry tomatoes straight from the plant. Warmed by the sun, the tomatoes were the quintessential taste of summer.

When we came back inside, we took some time to look at our caterpillars. Two of the caterpillars (named Big Bug and Flutter) have turned into a chrysalis! The last caterpillar, named TIny," is reaching maximum caterpillar length, stretching out at about 3 1/2 inches. We looked very carefully at the chrysalides and noticed that there are slightly darker green lines where the lines on the butterfly's wings will be and lines where the butterfly's belly has them, too. Amazing!

Equally amazing are the shining golden-colored dots on the chrysalides. Scientists are not certain why Monarchs and their relatives have shiny metallic dots on their chrysalides, but best guesses include the dots having something to do with color formation of the adult butterfly, that they might resemble dots of dew and help break up the outline of the chyrisalis, that they might indicate a warning to predators, or that they might filter a wavelength of light that is harmful to the developing butterflies. It's lovely to find such mysteries in something as tiny and mundane as a chrysalis.

Soon all the caterpillars will be "sleeping" and our period of waiting will begin.

Later in the day the children and I had fun reading I Am a Bunny, a picture book about the seasons that features colorful and realistic butterfly pictures. We also liked reading our moon books one last time.

See you tomorrow!

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