Wednesday, July 2, 2014

C is for Cookie (And Cruz and castle and camera!)

Summer is a break for our family, a chance for a more low-key schedule, later mornings, and more time for play and less work.  But the teacher in me also looks forward to more time to do what I love for the ones who I love the most.  When I dreamed about being a mom, my visions always included refrigerators full of little works of art, paint splattered easels in the corners of bedrooms, and field trips, adventures, and new discoveries with my littles in tow.  When I was teaching, it was easy to identify the students whose parents invested in their learning at home - the ones who sat at the kitchen table and helped with homework, the ones who read Harry Potter before bed, and the ones who found as much joy in learning beside them.  I love watching Cruz discover new things and find much joy in making learning come to life for him at home.  

We are blessed with an amazing learning center that blows me away with what Cruz has learned.  He takes pride in being the weather helper, or flag helper, or prayer leader each week, can tell us a very animated story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Apednego, knew the life cycle of a caterpillar when he was a year old, and has been working on writing his name for the past year.  And while play is still at the center of our little man's world, he also loves to learn about new things.  It's so fun to watch the wheels turn as we tell him about the world around him.  This afternoon I was pulling some weeds in the garden, explaining the difference between the plants we want to keep and the ones we want to pull.  He was so interested in this concept and was asking lots of 'why' questions.  It was one of my very favorite parts of teaching - I felt challenged on a daily basis by the minds and questions of my students.  And now, I get to learn with and from my three year old.  My students never asked me about breast feeding, though. ;)

The past few summers, Cruz and I have spent a few weeks studying the colors of the rainbow.  We started the week with a discovery box, full of objects of the particular hue under study, and spent the rest of the week creating projects, visiting new and loved places, and talking about colors.  And now that Cruz is a color pro, I thought we'd spend a few weeks this summer exploring the letters of his name.  He knows how to spell his name, can identify the letters in signs or in books, and is on his way to getting those Cs turned the right way and writing his name in a straight line.  I purchased a preschool letter and number workbook from Target, but want to be careful to not be pushy and too "schooly" with him.  So, the last couple of weeks, we've been doing some fun projects, all centered around the first letter of his name, and having lots of fun conversing about a world that is full of the letter 'C.'

Some highlights of 'C' week...

I started our letter of the week with a discovery box.  It was mostly filled with things from around our house - a car, crayons, carrots, and a camera, as well as a fun snack of cookies and crackers to munch on while we explored. 


I rounded up a few books to highlight and read throughout the week - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Cow Loves Cookies, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, and Pete the Cat.  Lately, we've been reading so many superhero books and it was a welcomed change for both of us!

We did some arts projects.  My favorite was the letter 'C' road pictured below.  Cruz loves to use glue and he had fun assembling the road.  We also used glue to put together a caterpillar craft, and painted a cupcake and with matchbox cars!

And of course, had ourselves a cupcake...

We baked a 'cake' for daddy's birthday and blew out candles...

We did a science project...grew our own caterpillar/butterfly!!!

We went on many 'C' scavenger hunts.  Had Cruz walk beside the stroller and stop to point out the Cs he found in our neighborhood - on mailboxes, street signs, license plates.  This was no prep work and probably our favorite activity of the week! 

It was a fun week that took more like 2-3 weeks to complete all of our plans!  And blog posts of our past color weeks: red week 1 and 2, green week 1 and 2, blue week, yellow week, and orange week 1 and 2.


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