Archive for » March, 2011 «

Discover the Secret Science of Dirt at KinderCare

Some of you may remember that we have an older daughter who is currently in college. When she was younger and my husband needed childcare, he turned to our local KinderCare. It was close, convenient and had a good reputation locally. And it was affordable.

Things haven’t changed all that much—it’s still close to us and we’ve been considering putting our 3-year-old son in a couple of days a week. I think he needs the socialization. And mommy just may, might, maybe need a tiny bit of a break. Maybe. But you know me, I can’t make up my mind. Yet.

Coming up, though, is the perfect opportunity for us to try things and see how they go. That’s because KinderCare is presenting a week-long Spring Break camp called the Secret Science of Dirt. During Spring Break, kids will have the chance to dig into the science behind “growing green” and get excited about the natural world.

Preschoolers (including my son) will experience hands-on science lessons, veggie cooking, and craft-making. I bet my son will love the science lessons, especially if he gets to dig in dirt. I imagine him coming home a little disheveled but with a big grin on his face. He’ll manage to find the dirt, wherever it is. Trust me.

Older kids will plant and tend vegetables, make compost, create garden-related crafts, and (after clean up!) prepare tasty veggie treats. I can only hope that seeing all of the kids eating and preparing veggies will inspire my son to try them.

I’m looking forward to this camp for my son. I think he’ll learn a lot, meet some new friends and get a chance to play with someone other than (boring) mommy.

Spring Break already over in your area? Take a look at their awesome Summer Camps as well.

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Want to discover some fun things to do at home? Check out this take-home adventure from KinderCare:

Science Adventures(tm): Take the Adventure Home
Fun, hands-on science activities to engage your child in discovery learning

By Science Adventures’ Andy, the Science Wiz

Indoor Lawn

As spring buds to life around us, it is the perfect time to engage a young explorer in nature. Children will discover what seeds need to sprout when they nurture a dormant grass seed into mini-pet lawns.

What you will need:

1 brand new clean kitchen sponge
1 Plate
1 Gallon resealable baggie
1 Straw
Grass Seed (Any Variety)

What to do:

growing grass on a sponge

Learn how to grow grass on a sponge - fun with science!

Soak the sponge in cold water for a few minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water, and place the sponge on a plate. Have your child sprinkle the sponge liberally with grass seed. Next, slide the plate into the baggie. Seal the baggie around the straw and have your child gently inflate the bag by blowing into the straw. Pull the straw out and seal the baggie. Success! You built a mini-inflatable green house.

Place the baggie on a sunny window sill.  Have your child check the baggie each day and report any changes they see. Make sure they add more water If the sponge dries out.

After the first day you should notice that water clings to the top of the baggie in droplets. This is because the sun has heated the water in the sponge causing it to evaporate, rise, and condense into drops. This is a great way of showing how clouds form and sometimes make rain.

After two days, the seeds should start to germinate, pushing out roots. The roots look white and fuzzy. The white strands are the roots seeking a home in some damp soil.

After 4 days, you will notice that the seeds have sprouted tiny green shoots. This is the grass. Each seed will produce one blade of grass.

After 7 days, you should have grown a small pet lawn.

What is happening:

Discuss what plants need to grow with your child. Plants need water, air, soil, sunlight, and space to grow. Our mini-green houses provided plenty of sunlight, water, air, and allowed the seeds to flourish using the nutrients that were packed in the seed. However, the sponge cannot provide nutrients long term. To continue the experiment, the grass can be peeled off the sponge and planted in a small pot.

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Disclosure: We will be comped the Spring Break camp at our local KinderCare learning center. Opinions here are my own and I am already a fan of the centers, hence it’s a good fit for us.

I am a hypocrite

My first son was born at a baby-friendly hospital. That sounds strange, doesn’t it. Aren’t all hospitals baby-friendly? Not really, by definition. It means that they support breast feeding and don’t offer formula or any type of formula-related freebies. They have formula on hand for when it’s needed, but they don’t accept it as a marketing tool. It is only offered when absolutely necessary. You won’t find any formula advertising there at all.

My second son was born at a different hospital. While the hospital supports breastfeeding and doesn’t give out formula-branded diaper bags, I did see some lids – for my pumped breast milk, no less – that were branded. And the OB and pediatrician practices were decidedly formula-friendly. This upset me greatly when I was pregnant. Even though my first son could have died waiting for my milk to come in & had supplemental formula until it did.

I didn’t want to see formula sponsored pregnancy journals or freebie bags with formula in them. One bag I was given was supposed to have info in it for me about registering at the hospital and other info. What I didn’t realize until later was that it also had bottles of formula in there. At first I was a little pissed. Maybe even a tiny bit outraged.

And yet? We’ve used that formula. Um, oops?

My second son, at almost 4 months has already had more formula than my other son EVER had. It has always been a convenience thing. When we traveled during the holidays, we would give him some if we couldn’t stop for a feeding.

We have also used it for afternoons when I’m out of the house and won’t be back in time for a feeding. Sometimes I have pumped beforehand and other times I didn’t. The formula is there for when I didn’t/couldn’t.

I am still a huge proponent of breastfeeding. It is my preferred way. But I’d be lying if I said my son is exclusively breastfed. He isn’t. And I do, to be honest, carry around a little bit of guilt about that. Maybe I shouldn’t. Or should. Either way, it’s there. And it is what it is.

What’s your dirty little motherhood secret?

Category: children  12 Comments

Behind the curve

We took our son for evaluation today. He’s 39 months old and still not talking. That’s a little hard for me to write. I try to act like it doesn’t bother me. But it does.

It does, because I worry. A lot. That I’m not doing enough. That working from home and having him here with me, instead of a day care or preschool, is hurting him. Holding him back.

I worry that I waited way too long to see about getting help. That he’s so far behind he’ll have trouble catching up. That it’ll follow him around, this inadequacy of his mother.

And he’s such a bright little boy, too. I don’t just say that because I’m his mother. He understands things that 5 and 6 year olds understand. I can see his frustration when he tries to communicate and we can’t understand him. And it breaks my heart. Daily.

On top of all that, while we were at the school, they had some sort of drill that involved a very long bell ringing. Like several minutes long. And then we had to go outside for a bit. It was close to naptime and the ringing had already agitated him. (Me, too.) And then the bell rang while we were outside. And it was. Really. Loud. And it freaked him out. Poor kid. Then it rang a second (well, third total) time and it scared him even more. Super loud noises have always bothered him. That was a sucky way to end his visit.

So now we’re under the gun to get him help. Quickly. To get an IEP in place and see if we can get him into preschool (which we can’t really afford) and get him caught up. Because regular interaction with his peers is what’s going to help him the most right now.

I just don’t know what to do. Except try to help my son. But I don’t know how. And it’s quietly killing me.