Silence! Learning in Progress

The wind blew furiously and rain pelted us so hard I almost decided to pull the car off the freeway. The clouds were dark and ominous, and I think I even heard a hint of thunder in the sky, but still my two older sons decided to roll down their windows. I gritted my teeth in the front seat, annoyed. If it were a sunny summer day, they'd be complaining about the wind, I thought to myself. I started to ask them to roll their windows up, but when I looked in to the rear view mirror, I couldn't help but stop and smile. The boys were having so much fun! They giggled and screamed at the wind and remarked on how wet the rain made their fingertips. One would roll his window partway up and they'd notice how it made a helicopter sound and made their ears feel funny. They're learning right now, I realized. It might be a little obnoxious to me, but maybe it's not something I should immediately stop them from doing. They're discovering things about air pressure and weather and physics that they won't be introduced to formally until much later in life. Should I really make them stop, or should I hold my chin up and let them have a little fun?

Annoying to you is amazing to them.

Yeah, sometimes annoying is just annoying. But often, that thing your 2-year-old keeps doing that is driving you nuts is teaching her something. She's interacting with her world and figuring out how it works. Understanding that banging two blocks together makes a certain sound or singing the same nonsense words over and over again are not simply activities meant to try your patience. Your child is actively discovering and learning, every minute of every day--and as long as no one is actually getting hurt, maybe you should just let them be.

It's hard to step back and realize that sometimes, especially after a long day when you've already had enough. I'm also not saying that no matter what, you shouldn't ask your children to calm down or be quieter. I eventually made my boys roll up the windows, but I did my very best to give them a while to discover first. Does a few more minutes really hurt all that much?

Just land your helicopter, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment.

Embrace the crazy. Let it unfold, and keep thinking about how much they're learning. We live in a generation of helicopter parents, constantly standing there ready to stop their children from doing something they shouldn't. We need to spend a little less time hovering and become lifeguards, watching from the sidelines and ready to jump in when necessary, but otherwise enjoying the view in peace and quiet.

Treat all moments like learning moments.

Because they are. And some day, your children will thank you for the freedom you gave them to explore.


Six Word Fridays: Offering

makes me think of sacrifices made--
a burnt, a sin, a peace--
things done for a special purpose.
given humbly but not always taken:
the choice is there even so.
with open heart and engaged mind,
a gift laid out with love.


Rainy Day Treasure Hunt

April showers have come a little early around here, and I've got an extra child for half the day because school lets out early all this week. 
Rainy days + lots of children = extra attention required to keep them happy!

So I whipped up a quick treasure hunt to give them something to do on this wet day.

It all started with a note. I told the kids a pirate stopped by and left a note for them. Then note contained clue #1, which led them on a hunt through the house to find all of the clues and finally the prize!

I included a few activities to integrate a little of our "schoolwork" in to the activity:

The kids had to finish this worksheet to get the next clue.

I asked the children to count the red dots on this paper, and choose the correct location based on their answer.

I "hid" the letters of the word "bath" on this coloring sheet. They had to find the letters, color them, and then work out what word it was to find the next clue.

Finally, they found their prize! As promised, there was something sweet (a Jell-O No-Bake pie), something new (an unopened board game we hadn't tried yet), and something fun (Perler beads they always ask to play with that I rarely let them actually get out).

Checking out their "booty"

Finished peanut butter pie...a laborious team effort (getting 4 children to share all the duties without fighting is way harder than it sounds!)

The kids had tons of fun searching for their treasure, and the activity kept them busy for a couple hours. What a great way to pass the time on a rainy day!!


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday, and we decided to celebrate today my adding a little Seuss in to our day's activities!

We started off by collecting all the Dr. Seuss books we have in our collection and reading a couple of our favorites (the day's not over, though--we'll get them all!).

Next, we played a little game I like to call "Pin the Hat on the Cat." Each child colored their own hat and cut it out. Then, I blindfolded them and let them do their best to get their hat on the cat's head! (I am, by the way, obnoxiously proud of my Cat in the Hat drawing. It's a Jennie original!).

After that, I let the boys watch the animated version of Green Eggs and Ham while I whipped up a batch of our own for lunch. The eggs are green from adding pesto. The "ham" is actually turkey because we don't eat pork, and I wrapped it around a pickle to add a little more green (and because I knew they were more likely to eat it that way!). 

Hope you're all having a happy Dr. Seuss Day! I think we might make it a family tradition!