Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Backyard Camping

The girls have this game they like to play on a very regular basis. They like to go in to the backyard and then pretend they are in the wilderness. Another variation of the game is the like to pretend they are "back in the old days" as Ari puts it. Yesterday turned out to be a wonderful day for this game.All of our fire pit wood has gotten wet in the backyard over the winter, so I helped the girls fashion a makeshift camp fire with some little candles we had hanging around the house.This photo is a little strange. I took it through the window upstairs in the house. When the girls get playing the way they were yesterday, the last thing I am wiling to do is keep getting in the middle of it. Their make believe goes a lot more smoothly if I offer supplies and a little assistance and then get out of the way completely.
They stayed out on the trampoline until it got dark, then came inside and made up another game and on it went.
Now to backtrack a tad. Earlier in the morning, Mina and I made pancakes on a large electric griddle. I am finding that cooking offers so many wonderful learning opportunities. Not just the math of measuring, but chemistry and many other things that just come up. Whenever we get out this particular griddle the girls like to throw little bits of water on it and watch it dance as the heat turns it in to steam. Yesterday, Mina asked if she might pour a small cupful of water on the griddle. After assessing the safety of doing so, I got her a little medicine cup, like the ones you get with children's pain medicine. It was fun and surprising to see that larger amounts of water formed first small bubbles and then joined together to create large bubbles that danced across the griddle until the water evaporated completely. Also, the water left behind calcium and other minerals on the griddle. So much science in such an unexpected way.This is a new favorite activity of Ari's. I picked up some wooden skewers at the store for no particular reason. I thought they might make interesting craft supplies or building materials when we create stuff out of marshmallows. Ari wanted to try burning one in a candle and then went on to discover that if you burned it, then put the flame out in a little water, you create a writing implement.

Another Ari creation.
Mina wrote this yesterday. It is a sign she is going to post on the door to her room. No dogs? Well that is because Panda, who is still a puppy, has a strange addiction to the eyes of stuffed animals. She chews them out leaving a big hole. Not surprisingly, this is alarming to the girls. Finding a favorite stuffy with a hollow ocular cavity is not so fun. I am impressed with how quickly Mina is taking to writing and how much she just does it on her own. I am pretty satisfied with the way natural learning unfolds and the wonder and magic of it happening right in front of my eyes in ways I could neither plan, predict, or obviously control.


  1. I also love the unfolding of natural learning:) Sometimes it takes being in a certain place to see it and appreciate it. Also love the writing with the burnt skewer.

    On the subject of cooking, Damek and I attended science movie night on tuesday at the main library and noticed that there is a movie coming up in March titled 'El Bulli: Cooking In Progress' about molecular gastronomy. The chef actually creates his menu in a lab.

  2. Very cool. One of the funny things that has been happening lately is a concept from when I was in Jr High will come up and I will suddenly understand it. Funny, the information sat in my head for over 20 years and all it is taking is observation of the concepts in a natural environment with no pressure and suddenly the concepts make sense.