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Mothers Day

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A fingerprint flower.

Today Teacher Gail planned a couple of things to help our kids get ready for Mothers Day. First, they made cards, forming flowers out of fingerprints. She was even able to coax my own son into doing it (he usually steers clear of the art projects, alas), which I appreciated! Then, after a mighty snack of enormous strawberries and crackers, we headed outside. The kids took turns planting flowers in cups–decorated with shiny stickers, always popular with the two-year-old set–for their mothers (and there were actually three grandmothers, plus a grandfather, in our class today! We love to meet everyone’s families.).

It’s hard to believe the co-op is almost over for the year! Springtime is such a fun time of year to explore with our little guys.

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Eggs

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Eggs are fun!
Eggs are fun!

With Easter near, our activities this week were centered on eggs. First, Gail had a table set with several different open-ended play options: putting little fluffy chicks into plastic eggs, picking them up with different kinds of tongs, and sorting them by color.

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One of our buddies checks out Sweet Pea.

Next, a parent brought in one of the family’s chickens! We watched Sweet Pea peck at seeds and mealworms, and the kids learned to stay very quiet so that she would come near enough to pet her soft brown feathers. We even got to take one of her eggs home to enjoy for breakfast tomorrow!

Breakfast day!

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Breakfast play food: pancakes, eggs, baguettes, and a frying pan to cook it all in.

This week our theme was centered around sleeping: the kids wore their jammies and brought their favorite stuffed animals. One of the parents set up a big tent with blankets, so everyone could get cozy and read bedtime stories. And instead of our usual snack, we had breakfast! On our day, we made amazing waffles to go with delicious blueberry syrup, bananas, strawberries, and sausage. The kids filled up their plates over and over again!

Going to the grocery store

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Two cashiers work hard to ring up their customers' food.
Two cashiers work hard to ring up their customers’ food.

Last week Teacher Gail set up a little grocery store, stocked with tea, crackers, tomatoes, orange juice, and more–the shelves were full of our favorite foods!

The group took turns loading up their grocery carts and hand baskets before lining up at the two cash registers–the one with a beeping scanner gun was very popular. Each customer pulled their money out of the purses and wallets and loaded up the cloth bags with their treats.

Peace on earth

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Decorating a felt Christmas tree

This week’s co-op day was practically perfect. The kids put ornaments on the felt Christmas tree and played in the rice table in the first part of the morning. After sharing some raisin bread for a snack, Gail read a story and the kids made some neat Christmas tree artwork with tinsel. Everyone had fun!

We even managed some staffing sessions, where half of the parents go into another room and talk about new developments in the kids’ lives and other topics, like what we do for holidays and how we manage travels. It’s a good way for us to share solutions to challenges that we’re having, as well as a chance for us to get to know each other better–co-op is about kids, but it’s also a community that has to be built.

Artwork!

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A young artist makes good use of negative space.

Our activity today was to make real art! The kids painted canvases large and small, so that we could have some of their fine art hanging on our walls at home. (And bonus! we made the mess of painting at co-op, which is well equipped with dropcloths, smocks, and an an array of paintbrushes.) We have a new family on our day, a fun addition to our group of friends!

Field trip to the fair!

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At the fair!

Our first field trip of the year was to the Spokane Interstate Fair, which was held the week before Labor Day. This is a fun field trip because there is so much to see and do, plus it happens the week before Co-op officially starts, so it’s a great chance to see friends we haven’t seen much of during the busy summer.

This year, a group of about 10 families met at the front gate, right as it opened for the day, to avoid the crowds, heat, and nap time! The kids were pretty excited to see the animals and tractors, and the parents were even more excited that the games and rides weren’t operating yet to distract the kids! We started out at the mini tractor exhibit and then moved on to the petting zoo. Most of the kids were really excited to see the animals they read about up close and personal. My son was pretty excited to try and communicate with the animals, saying things like “moo” to the cows and “baa” to the sheep. From the petting zoo, we ventured over to the large barns where the animals were grouped for judging. First up were the steers, followed by the goat barn, draft horses, pigs, and small animals like bunnies and chickens. The highlight for many of the kids was seeing a real camel in person. Dolly, the camel, was even willing to let the kids hand her a carrot to eat!

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A boy checks out a Brazilian cow.

After a big time of seeing all of the animals, it was time for lunch. Everyone gathered at the central park area and had some food before departing for nap time. This was the first of a number of fun field trips this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what else our field trip coordinator has in store!