Spring is quickly turning into summer here in the desert, and that means the return of sand play in the backyard. My son very happily digs, pours, mixes, and covers himself with sand for long stretches throughout the day. I can see him from the kitchen window while I work on my own projects. An empty clay pot is used for mixing mud pies as well as creating volcanoes. An unused Frisbee holds the mud pies. Our yard already had a large, shady play area when we moved in, and so far, the sand holds more draw than the swing set or the play house. I am so happy to see him playing outside and getting grubby (clothes come off and pockets shaken empty before he comes back into the house, though!) Life has changed too much since I was a child for him to enjoy the freedom to roam the neighborhood (and even the forest) like I did when I was young, but he can roam, dig, and pretend play in the big, fenced backyard as much as he wants. Oh, and it looks like Sefton the Chorkie pup (dog #3) will enjoy digging in the sand as much as he does!
I went into the house while my son was working at his outdoor art table and I came back out to find his very first long string of letters, written in green (his favorite color) Sharpie across the tabletop amidst the paint stains. Cs, Ds, Es, Fs, and Gs. I was truly blown away. We haven’t worked much on letters; he was just three in December. I absolutely love the surprises that can pop up when children are left to their own devices. Using permanent ink Sharpies is a rare treat, and perhaps the use of a special tool inspired him as well.
When you live in the desert, rain is something to luxuriate in. My son probably doesn’t remember much of the many, many thunderstorms we had in Houston, so it was lovely to take him out to play on a rare rainy day in our new home. After catching the rain from the downspout in several different containers (and pouring it out on the plants), we put some watercolor paintings from the day before in the rain to see what they would do. The colors were beautiful as they ran and mixed. (The original paintings were done with liquid watercolors, which have been fantastic to work with.)
We recently began a little children’s lending library at our church. Adult church libraries are common, but we are blessed with many youngsters at our parish and a children’s library seemed like a good idea, as Orthodox Christian children’s books are hard to find in public libraries! We’re starting small, just a basket full of books and a checkout sheet (stocked with titles from the recent huge sale at Ancient Faith Publishing). We hope to add more titles and invite parish members to contribute used and new books.
A roll of black and white antique map wrapping paper was perfect for many hours of coloring, and a nice change from the usual children’s coloring book fare. I found these at H*me Goods. I continue to be amazed at how far my son’s fine motor control and patience for coloring have come in the last year.