Thursday, 18 September 2014

Nature table and homemade playdough - how we spent some quality time together

When I wrote my Scope and Sequence for this year, one of the biggest goals I had made for myself was to slow WAY down. The reason I started doing tot school with my son was to spend 1 on 1 time with him, but as we progressed with school I noticed I was spending less and less time focusing on my child. Today's post is about how I did just that and enjoyed some serious Mommy-son bonding time while we explored nature!


Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood


During the summer, I noticed that I was getting more and more distracted during our lessons. I was constantly thinking about household chores, new printables, researching things for our construction site [aka new home], and of course, working on so much for this blog. I knew that once I started our unofficial school year, I would have to slow down if I wanted to enjoy our activities and honestly, if I wanted to enjoy spending time with my son more. As I noticed my to do lists growing, I also noticed the amount of temper tantrums growing, too. Ya know, 'cuz negative attention is better than none at all apparently. 

However, I've been consciously trying to be more in the moment and pay more consistent attention to my tot. I'm putting in an effort to turn off the technology (mostly - I've started playing classical music during our lessons), focus on my son, and just have fun with him. I clean up the kitchen in the morning, but leave the remaining chores for after our morning homeschool session. As long as the kitchen is tidy and I don't have a pile of dishes calling my name, I can usually manage this. 


Yesterday, my 2 year old melted my heart and showed me that all of that Montessori effort we've been putting in has been paying off. I loved our activities so much that it's taken the place of my normal weekly summary. What did we do? We explored nature!

We started off with a walk. I took a paper bag with us, on which I wrote 'leaves' in Russian. 


Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood

I took no technology: No phone, no camera. We went down the street to a field that is surrounded by lovely trees and bushes, and collected some 'specimens' to put into our paper bag.  Afterwards, we headed to a playground and went down the slide a few times before heading back home. 


Once we were home, I prepared the ingredients for our work. We started making a homemade playdough!


Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood
Mr. Toddler got to make it all himself. I simply measured out the ingredients and put the tools in front of him. No instruction was necessary- he knew what to do straight away and started pouring and mixing! 

After we got it at the right consistency, it was ready for exploration

Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood


After he explored the playdough for several minutes, I took away the bowl we had used to mix it, wiped the extra flour from the table, and put down a piece of baking paper to contain our mess [which worked fabulously!]. I brought a toy knife for the dough, and took out our specimens to set up our nature exploration table. Then... I sat back and watched. 

Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood

Mr. Toddler started taking the little branches, and poking them into the dough, molding the dough, and leaving leaf imprints in it! I loved watching him and eventually started gently telling him about each leaf or twig. 

Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood


Before we started on this work, I got out a broom for the cleanup afterwards. Mr. Toddler noticed the broom about half way through his playdough fun. He got up, grabbed the broom, and started sweeping! It was brilliant! I love how tidy he is and was very glad to capture the moment on camera!

Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood

After Mr. Toddler finished sweeping, he returned to his table, and sat down to work once more. I added another element to it, by bringing him some cookie cutters.

Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood

This work was so much fun to put together and it was so educational, not to mention easy! All I did to set up our nature table was gather some sticks, twigs, and leaves from trees in our neighbourhood! 

Homemade playdough recipe


Homemade playdough and nature table invitation to play by Welcome to Mommyhood

I'm a bit apprehensive to call this a recipe. It was such a simple homemade playdough and there are so many wonderful recipes out there. All I did was combine the following: 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric 

This was literally just a dough, but it was cheap, easy, and got the job done! I loved how soft it was, and because we covered the table with baking paper, the mess was easy to clean up! Most of all, Mr. Toddler had a blast making the dough, exploring nature, and working on his fine motor skills! We spent two whole hours on this work, and had a perfect morning!

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Today, I am linking up at:  A little bird told me, Preschool and kindergarten community, Tot school Gathering PlaceThe Thoughtful SpotLove to Learn LinkyThe Mommy Club Resources and SolutionsLink and Learn, TGIFHip Homeschool Moms