May 28, 2014

Exploring Rocks with Toddlers

For the next few weeks in Toddler Homeschool, we are focusing on Nature - an all encompassing combination of nature, plants, and some weather studies! Outside is Kingston's absolute favorite place to be. He begs to be outside all day every day, and hates coming inside. So, that is where we have been spending the majority of our time! This unit couldn't have come at a better time. 

Another love of K's happens to be ROCKS. I haven't met a toddler yet who isn't obsessed with them. We have rocks in every room in our house, in the car, and rock gardens we've created in the backyard. Everywhere we go he has to point out rocks. He is fascinated. So, what better way to kick off our Nature unit then to EXPLORE ROCKS?! In order to explore rocks, we first had to find some. So we set off in the backyard for a rock hunt. Kingston was super excited. With his bucket in hand, we set out together to find some fun rocks to explore. 

This was so up K's alley. He ran from spot to spot in the backyard searching for rocks. It helps that our backyard pretty much has zero grass at the moment and has every kind of nature life you can imagine. Every rock we found was so different from the last. He picked up rocks on the surface, and also worked to dig half buried rocks out of the ground.

He placed his bucket on top of this giant rock and asked me to get that one. I had to explain to him that it was too big, so we just examined it instead. (That rock probably covers 3 ft of yard!) 

We visited the rock garden that he made previously and picked some of the best rocks from there. He was incredibly focused on the task at hand, and did a great job filling his bucket!

Our backyard is really large, so we got some great exercise in covering the rugged terrain. 

K was desperate to pick up the biggest rocks possible. By the time we were finished, our bucket was so full that I couldn't even carry it. We had to enlist the help of Dada's big muscles to get it up the stairs and out to the deck!

After some lunch and a nap, our next task was to examine the rocks and wash them! I set the bucket of rocks and a toothbrush out next to our work surface (our sand/water table cover turned upside down). Kingston waited patiently until I was done, and then rushed outside to see what we were doing.

I poured a bucket of water onto the center of our work service, and K began taking all of the rocks out of the bucket. As he removed them, we talked about the different sizes, colors, textures, and designs on them. They were so varied. He was incredibly interested in discussing each one. I have to admit they were pretty fascinating! 

We had collected more rocks than I thought, but K worked diligently to clean all of the dirt off with the water and his brush. As he worked, we counted the rocks. When he was done, he brought each one to the table to lay out to dry. 

We looked at them more closely and talked about our favorites. Later on in the week we will be painting them and using them as learning tools! 

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