Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Right next to our house there is a playground by the creek. And although we live in suburbia, there is quite a bit of wild life and nature to experience there. This just goes to show that it is possible to experience nature wherever you live.
As we were walking, Marcus and Sophia noticed some wild flowers and decided to stop and pick them. We talked about the name of the flower (Queen Anne's Lace).
The kids in their trusty radio flyer wagon holding up their flowers:
Marcus made these observations about nature:
"Flowers are beautiful to look at, and they smell good. But they are yucky to eat."
Words to live by! :) But, I liked it that he was using many of his senses to experience nature.
While we were at the playground, Marcus decided to give one of his flowers to a little girl playing there. I thought that this was very cute. Not to mention I was so proud that he offered up one of his possessions (without prompting from me) to another child.
Near the playground there runs a creek. And typically we are able to see a bull frog that visits the creek. But not today. :(
So, instead we decided to look for rocks and sticks to throw into the water. I don't know what it is about this activity, but it could keep them occupied for hours. (It is always the simple things...right?)
So, here we are looking for sticks...
..And looking for sticks some more...
Out of the trees comes a wild rabbit!!! (Yes, click on picture to see a larger version and actually spot the rabbit.)
So the kids go running towards the rabbit at full blast. Then all of the sudden, Sophia trips and then Marcus falls over her.
They pick each other up and keep running. The rabbit sees them running and freezes into position. Sophia is saying "RABBIT!!" in a very high pitch, excited voice. And Marcus is saying, "Its ok little rabbit. We aren't going to hurt you. We just want to talk to you."
And surprisingly they get VERY close to the rabbit.
But, just when they get close enough to almost touch the rabbit, it runs off.
The kids were very sad that the rabbit ran away. We spent some time trying to look for the rabbit in the trees, but it was no where to be found.
"Mama," Marcus said, "Why did that rabbit run away."
"Well," I explained, "The rabbit was afraid of you. He thought that maybe you might hurt him."
"But, I wasn't going to hurt him. I just wanted to talk to him."
"Oh," I said, "You wanted to pet the rabbit?"
"No! I don't want to pet him. He might bite me. I just wanted to talk to him." Marcus continued.
It is a hard thing to explain to a young child why wild animals don't want them to pet them. You know?
Later that day we were in the car when all of the sudden a young deer ran out in front of our car. I stop fast. And so does the deer. He stands there frozen in the middle of the road.
"Look Marcus and Sophia!" I say, "A deer."
"Is his name Bambi?" Marcus asks.
"BAMBI!" Sophia cries in excitement pointing.
And then Marcus continues to talk to "Bambi."
"Hi Bambi," he says, "Are you looking for your mother? Its ok Bambi."
And then Bambi runs off.
Well, after all of these close encounters with nature, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce a great children's book called Play with Me, by Marie Hall Ets.
I was first introduced to this book by the Before Five in a Row collection. It is a great book about observing nature. And it talks about how sometimes we must be still and quiet in order to see the most. In the book there is a little girl who wants to play with some wild animals. She does everything she can to talk to the various animals, but they all get scared and run away. So, she just decides to sit by the water. But, as she is sitting quietly without moving, the various wild animals slowly come out of hiding so she can see them. She sees a bull frog, a rabbit, and a deer (amount other animals.) All animals that we happen to have had direct experiences with!
So, I showed Marcus and Sophia the pictures of the animals we had seen. And I showed them the pictures I had taken at the playground earlier of them with the rabbit. Next, we talked about the deer we had seen who ran back into the woods. Then I read them the book.
I think they thought the book was written for them. I had read them this book before, but they never took much interest. This time they thought it was wonderful.
Isn't it neat how God provides these perfect learning opportunities for our children? I couldn't have asked for a better way to expand upon this wonderful story.