Posts in “Activities” Category
We have a very hungry new addition to our household and I'm not talking about a baby or a pet! During a recent trip to the plant nursery, my husband picked up an exotic plant called Drosera capensis, or Cape Sundew. Since its arrival, this carnivorous species has been capturing little bugs like a champ. The small dark spots on the leaves show how effective these plants are.
Kellan loves our new plant! He checks out the leaves every morning to see little fruit flies stuck to its "dew" covered plant hairs. The little droplets actually attract small insects then trap them while the leaf wraps around it like a tentacle. The plant secretes enzymes to basically liquefy the bugs and eat them. Kellan thinks it's creepy but cool.
Sundews are fairly easy to care for, as long as it has plenty of sunlight and plenty of water. We put our plant in a south-facing windowsill to maximize sun exposure. Hopefully, this will help during our dreary Pacific Northwest winter. This has also been a fun way for us to observe a plant's special adaptation. Now we know Venus Flytraps don't have all the fun.
I love a good picnic and this is the perfect time of year to do it. It requires a little bit of thinking ahead, but not too much. It's a great way to check out a new park and you don't even need a basket.
Here's a list of my favorite things for the perfect picnic:
- Water-resistant blanket - Wet grass = wet pants. That's a bummer. We have an outdoor blanket with a nylon backing that has worked perfectly at the beach, park and the tiny patch of grass in our own yard. It's lightweight and easy to clean.
- Frisbee - When my husband bought one of these a few years ago I made fun of him. "What's next? A hacky sack?" I teased. How wrong I was. Throwing a Frisbee around is fun!
- Messy food - Why pack a demure ham sandwich when you can bring something sure to drop all over your clothes like a bean burrito with extra guacamole? I especially love when Kellan takes both of his hands and wipes them down the front of his shirt. It's a picnic not a wedding, right?
- Clover flowers - When picking the perfect spot for a picnic, I like an area with a patch of clover with lots of little white flowers. That way I can busy myself with making garlands while Kellan and Erik are off making mischief.
- Ice cream - We don't actually bring this with us. We like to wrap up a nice outdoor meal with ice cream. It's a good way to add another layer of food stains to our shirts.
What do you do for picnics?
I recently took Kellan to the main museum in downtown Portland because there's a special auto exhibit that I knew he'd appreciate. Even though I was a bit apprehensive about taking a preschooler to a museum, I thought it was worth the risk. We ended up having a really fun afternoon.
Kellan loved getting close to some of the amazing cars on display. I did have to remind him not to touch, but he didn't make a fuss and he didn't run around like we were in a gym. We talked about the features we liked best on each car and picked which ones we would like to drive.
He did so well with the car exhibit that we explored other parts of the museum. In the contemporary art section, I thought for sure Kellan would ask lots of questions. There was a huge sculpture that incorporated a headless mannequin, but he was over it after a few seconds. What did catch his attention were the Renaissance paintings. Maybe it's the way some of the faces in the portraits seem to be following you!
We spent about an hour at the museum, which is just long enough for a preschooler. We ate lunch nearby and sat at a window to watch people get on and off the streetcar. Then we got ice cream and sat in a sunny spot at a park. We both had a blast and I was definitely proud that Kellan behaved perfectly.
Many museums have art appreciation programs for younger kids. Have you taken your preschooler to your local art museum yet?
One of my favorite pictures from when I was kid is of me in a nightgown holding a sparkler as far away from my body as possible. I've joked to my parents that I probably knew my pajamas circa 1979 weren't flame retardant. Now it seems like more families go see fireworks rather than setting them off at home and it's probably a much safer option.
No matter what your plans are for the Fourth of July weekend, it can be a great way to form lasting memories with your children. I loved going to fireworks displays as a kid because it meant I got to stay up extra late while hanging out with my friends.
We live in a place where it doesn't actually feel like summer until the Fourth of July rolls around - the temperature has topped out in the mid 60s all last week - so the beginning of July really signals the beginning of summer weather for us. My family is planning the all-American barbecue with a bit of kayaking before the food fest. We'll skip the sparklers, but won't skimp on other holiday fun.
What does your family love about the Fourth of July?
Preschool is quickly wrapping up for the year and I've had several conversations with other moms about what to do with our kiddos this summer. We've been comparing notes on classes, camps, and other activities to keep our high-energy preschoolers busy.
I've always wondered about the appropriate amount of hours to schedule in a child's day. We haven't ever signed on for too many things at once, but when summer rolls around, it is tempting to make each day productive and fun. Kellan and most of his friends don't nap any more so with a little bit of down time in the afternoon, it's possible to have plans all day. Of course, all of this means life gets busy for the parent shuttling the kids from activity to activity, but it's nice to have your kid fall asleep without a fuss at the end of a busy day.
Is summer about lazy days or keeping your kids active?
Is summer about lazy days or keeping your kids active?