Simon now stays at his preschool two hours longer than before, and is part of what they call “Lunch Bunch”. He absolutely loves having the extra time to play and learn, and having lunch with his friends.
As for me, I find it so strange to be packing a school lunch for my three-year-old. It feels like he is still a baby in many ways, and school lunches seem like a big kid thing. The difference in time is only two hours, and yet I found myself teary-eyed all over again the first day he stayed longer. He is growing up fast!
I am also trying to have a little fun packing his lunches, and have decided to share them here with you. These are the first three preschool lunches that I have made for Simon.
Sometimes he is so busy chatting at lunch that he doesn’t finish, in which case he will eat the rest for his snack when we get home. Right now my biggest challenge has been making sure that he gets protein. His school has a no meat policy, because it is located in a synagogue center, so I will be relying on other foods for his protein source, which is just as well since he isn’t a big meat-eater anyway. He loved his butterfly lunch today, and I am looking forward to finding more ways to get him excited about what I pack, and to make it enticing.
Simon: Finger painting
We are down to less than ten weeks left in the 52 challenge, and I think this might be my first portrait that doesn’t include Simon’s face. But I love this photo, and I love the way he always ends up painting with his fingers in the end, even when he starts out with brushes. He loves to dip one finger into each color and watch the results unfold as he “walks” his fingers across the white paper. I enjoy observing him while he explores with art materials.
This week at the Library where I work as Storylady, I presented a Three Little Pigs themed Storytime program for the preschoolers. After I read some stories, and we sang some songs together, I set up a fun sensory project for the kids. I got my inspiration from a website called Fairy Dust Teaching, and then put my own twist on it.
First I made some homemade playdough, using this recipe. I decided not to add any coloring to the dough, so that the materials would really stand out. I put out cut up pieces of raffia, piles of small sticks from my yard, and some brick colored stones from the craft store to represent the straw, sticks, and bricks that the three little pigs use to make their houses. Since the focus of this activity was meant to be about sensory play rather than a finished product, I told the kids to just have fun with the materials while thinking about the houses that the pigs in our stories had made.
I received a lot of positive feedback from the parents about this activity, and the kids had so much fun sticking and mixing the objects into the dough. As you can see from the photos, I also brought some of the materials home for Simon to play and experiment with, and he had a lot of fun too.
The three stories that I read aloud today were:
The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague (My favorite interpretation on this classic!)
Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda (I asked the kids to play the role of the Big, Bad, Wolf and do the huffing and puffing along with the story.)
Rabbit and the Not-So-Big-Bad Wolf by Michael Escoffier (This one might not have any pigs, but it has excellent illustrations, humor, and a plot twist that the kids loved.)
We also recited “This Little Piggy” on our fingers, sang “Old MacDonald” (with cow, pig, and wolf on his farm), and “The Pigs on the Farm go Oink, Oink, Oink” (to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”).
I had so much fun reading aloud and singing with the kids, however, I think the playdough activity was definitely the most fun today!
In the morning I got up early to start engineering my horizontally braided hair for my Pippi Longstocking costume. (At work, all of us Children’s Librarians dressed up as various Children’s book characters.) I dropped Simon off at preschool in my costume and was the only parent dressed up so early in the day. His ghost costume was in a bag because his class was going to all get dressed up together. (That way, no little ones would be as likely to be scared of their classmates in masks.) After work, I picked Simon up and we drove to go surprise his Papa and Mimi both at their work places. By the time we finished doing that, Jeramy was home from work and it was time to get ready to take Simon Trick or Treating.
We usually go to a neighboring town, which has a shopping village made up of well-lit streets that are lined with little touristy shops and outlet stores. This year though, it was raining and super windy, so we went to our local Mall instead. It was perfect because we were indoors, and Simon walked happily up one side of the mall and down the other, while store employees in costumes handed out candy to all the kids. He loves Trick or Treating and was so polite, wishing each candy hander-outer a “Happy Halloween!” and saying “Thank You!”.
Finally, we went to my Mother-in-law’s house for a pizza dinner, which has also become a Halloween tradition over the last three years. Jeramy and I sorted Simon’s candy into a pile that he can have, and pile of stuff that was loaded with food coloring or too choke-able for his age. I know it is supposed to be a myth that children get a “sugar high”, but after being allowed a couple of sugary treats, Simon was all wound up and difficult to put to bed. It was a long day, but I love Halloween and dressing up, and so does my child, so we had a lot of fun.
Did you or your kids dress up for Halloween? If so, I’d love to hear what your costumes were, and if you blogged about it, leave a link with your comment!
Last night I did some drawing in my sketchbook while relaxing on the couch. I forgot to put my art supplies away when I finished, and this morning, Simon noticed the bin of drawing supplies sitting on our current makeshift coffee table, and asked: “Mumma, what are these?”. I told him they were art supplies and he asked “Can I use them?” “Sure!” I said, and went to get a large pad of newsprint.
We spread out paper and supplies out on the table, and worked side-by side. Simon was mostly interested in experimenting with charcoal and a rubber eraser, two things that he hasn’t used before. I sketched while he experimented with the feel of new materials, and I made it a point to let him experience the trial and error of attempting to erase various drawing mediums.
Since moving, our routine has been really off. The house is still a major work-in-progress, and I have a harder time finding my way through our routine as I adjust to our new surroundings. However, this reminded me of our frequent morning art time, and I hadn’t realized how much I had been missing it!
I love working side-by-side with my little one, being creative together as our first act after breakfast.