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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Winter Leaves

I am so happy about the quiet and uncomplicated activity that Leo and I completed on Wednesday morning. I usually plan a jam packed Wednesday for us, but for some reason I was uninspired this week. Instead, I turned to the Sid the Science Kid website and chose the Leaf Investigators activity. Backyard Science is an enjoyable cycle because the activities feel simple and home-centered. Sometimes that’s just what we need.
Leo and I collected, sorted, and made art with leaves. When I first read through the activity, I paused to be grateful for the southern California climate we’ve recently adopted. While my friends and family back in Massachusetts are digging out from feet upon feet of snow, Leo and I can tour the backyard looking for green leaves.
I explained to Leo that we were going to look for leaves of varying sizes, shapes, and color. He was all in. In fact, he went inside to get his number one holiday gift: the Grabber Nabber. Leo loves picking things up with claw-picker-upper-thingy. The tool was made for an investigation like this.
We wandered around the backyard and up our street looking for leaves, examining bugs, naming flowers, and looking at the little details around us. We collected our leaves in a plastic bag. Leo held my hand as we walked along. The moment felt precious. We found flowering jasmine and Leo was so excited about the smell. He said it was sweet and like a perfume. It made us both giggle. I got silly butterflies in my stomach because I was overwhelmed by our cute and fun time together. Mommies are allowed a ration of sappiness from time to time, I think. (Daddies too!)
After strolling around outside, we came in to do some sorting. We dumped the leaves out into a cake pan and made plans. I asked him to tell me how he wanted to sort. Leo decided on size, color, and in order of “favorites.” Both of us were engrossed for a while as we examined the leaves, talked about their properties, and debated how to sort them.
Then we decided to do an art project. Making art out of leaves is something I remember from my own childhood. So, Leo sorted the leaves by size and glued them to a large piece of paper. We called the final product “Leo’s Leaves.” I am absurdly pleased that he can write his name. We hung the leaf art up to dry and Leo came back to it throughout the day. He proudly showed it to Henry after school. I love listening to Leo retell our investigations. His summaries are so exact and he often adds details that I forgot or missed, like “The leaves in the puddle were yucky and the Grabber Nabber got wet!”
I feel full of clichés about Leo and Henry these days: He’s growing up before my eyes, our time together is passing by so fast, what happened to my little baby boy? As a rule, I lean towards sentimentality when I reflect about Henry and Leo and how they’ve grown. But in the real life day to day, I often forget to savor the moments and enjoy the simple times with them. The clichés are all true. The time IS going by fast and I am happy to slow it down every once in a while.
What are your favorite Sid activities for a quiet afternoon? How do you find the time to enjoy the little details of life with your children?

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