Down the street from our house, Play and Learn has started up again for the school year. This great program is put on by the Tacoma Children’s Museum, and gives the kids a bunch of cool opportunities. For one thing it’s a wonderful indoor destination for the cold weather seasons, and it’s even closer than the actual museum location.
At Play and Learn, Edie and Gabe have had chances to play with new toys and sensory material, learn new songs and grow our attention spans with Cheryl’s circle times, and hang out with neighborhood friends. Cheryl is fun and funny, and full of great ideas to try, and the best part is she understands when we get wiggles. She gives us chances to dance off the sillies, and if that doesn’t work we can play quietly outside the circle and listen in.
Sometimes all the kids running around takes our full attention. Other times, the interesting blocks or special art materials give us a chance to practice focusing in the middle of distractions. Every time we go, the little friends learn a new song. Edie has been singing “Leaves are falling down” all week, and today Gabe’s new favorite was “Squirrel, shake your bushy tail!”
One of the last days of summer, we set off for a run. Edie was really fast on the sidewalk and Gabe was really fast on the hill. We got up to the top of the hill next to the reservoir and looked out over our city and the mountain. It’s great when we can find playspaces mixed into the urban environment, because they tend to me more engaging than playfields or constructed spaces, and our imaginations get more exercise.
Our bodies got lots of exercise too. Once we got around the reservoir, we discovered a great hill for rolling down. It had a lot of grass clippings and a bit of dew on it, but that just made it better for rolling down. We sang Jack and Jill over and over, and the little friends ran to the top to tumble down over and over too. Sometimes we were rolling sideways, and sometimes somersaulting. Always laughing.
It was such good kid exercise and so much fun that we hardly minded taking a shower outside with all our clothes on and then changing into dry things in the entryway afterward.
On the first day that Gabe came to play with us at the white house, we decided to take a bike ride to the park. Edie and Adele both really like Wright park in the Stadium District of Tacoma, because it has a duck pond, a great climbing area, lots of parkish natural spaces, and even a conservatory with tropical plants. But it was Monday, so the conservatory was closed. Anyway, we all went out to the bike and got ready to go. In this picture, we were feeling silly with all the safety straps. Right after that, we put our helmets on, because of course we never ride bikes without helmets.
One of the great things about Wright Park is that lots of other kids like it too! We were trying out the swings when we first got there, watching the spray ground fountains, and wishing we had brought our swimsuit. Then a bunch of other kids stormed onto the play structure! We raced over to see what they were up to. Turns out there was a princess with her pet baby bear and her pet cat, and also some flexible performers who tried a bunch of roles. Gabe got a great chance to play along as a dragon, and he and the baby bear explored some problem solving techniques for play land. Edie joined the play as an Edie, which is a fantastical creature that mostly watches princesses to figure out how to do that princessy stuff.
When we all got a little worn out, we headed around the duck pond for some nature and chasing. On the way there, we luckily discovered a squirrel to chase, who led us on a crazy adventure through the horseshoe pits. Finally, we arrived at the pond and shared some snacks. We only shared our snacks with each other. Not the ducks. Because of course the sign says not to.
On the whole it was a great adventure for making new friends, practicing important play skills, checking out our community, and getting used to our routine and rules for working together.
A great book we always like reading after Wright Park is “Make Way for Ducklings,” by Robert McCloskey, which deals with a family of ducks who live in a park pond that is startlingly similar to our own park pond. Except Wright Park needs one of these swan boats:
We go in Grandpa’s truck to the store for Poppy’s concert. I get a hot coffee please? Vanilla, thank you.
Grandma can dance! We dance outside too. I see a lady getting a massage.
It’s Jamie. And Rayner. And I give him a kiss on the cheek. Thank you Poppy. You played very well.
This baby needs toys. I will share my spinning rainbow toy with him. This baby is a boy.
Nickel gets a sunflower for me and for Betty and for my friend Abigail. After the library we can go to the farmers market. We can go downtown.
There is the black kitty. He is my neighbor. Don’t catch him because he’s scared. Just smell my hand.
Make sure to check out the Huckleberry School page on Facebook … some changes are coming and more of Edie’s pictures and commentary will be available there, while this blog takes a slightly different direction.
Here’s Betty, and Abigail, and Nickel, and where’s me?
Where’s my leotard go? I want to try it. See my leotard, I couldn’t find it? I want to wear it right now. Help me, it’s kinda tricky. Now pull it up. Nope, I better turn it around. The bow, it is in the front.
It’s for ballet. I do remember, now I’m a big girl so I can wear it like my mommy.
Eggs. Our eggs. From the chickens!
Melon! It was on top of the mountain. Yummy!
A breakfast we grew in our garden. Blackberries, plums, some eggs… kinda yummy!
Let’s do parcore. I’m running and jumping off this. Iris, you can do that? Swing on this bar! I can do it all by myself. Now you catch me!
There is a police car. I don’t want to get in it; okay, I’m gonna sit it the back. Don’t make a loud noise. No thank you.
Iris loves the slip and slide. No thank you. I will just sit here with Poppy.
Me and Iris are going in the bouncy house now. I want to jump so high! Oh, that slide. Don’t crash me. No, I need space. Okay. Thank you!
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