The month of November was entirely beautiful. I knew going into the holidays that I wanted to take things slow. I wanted to enjoy my littles and protect their schedules so that they would have plenty of opportunity to play and discover.
The art projects recommended in AYoPS have been lovely so far. Sunflower painting was an activity all four boys jumped into with big smiles. My youngest is still not too sure about certain paint textures, but we see steady improvement as he engages with each sensory activity. We never force him to do one, we just make it available to him.
I have found that providing one special play box filled with something he really loves is great incentive to keep working through sensory activities he is not too fond of. A shiny reward after a morning of hard work. Lately, the treasure is this tiny collection of Safari Toob birds.
He sits for well over an hour with them. We bring abandoned nests inside for him to use along with the birds. Sometimes he builds them nests out of leftover ribbon scraps. (We had plenty of scraps left over after making hand kites for all the boys!)
November turned out to be a slow and steady month for us. The older boys plowed through their work in the mornings while the littles played at the table with different bins. We would all rush out the door after finishing our schedules block times and play outdoors. There are aspects of AYoPS that the eldest children demand to be a part of. We save those big activities for the afternoons.
Every month I have been laminating seasonal prints on construction paper. In November, we used pumpkin prints numbered 1-10. We used leftover seeds from our “pumpkin-cano” as counters.
We tweezed a lot of Indian corn and saved the kernels for our “On the Farm” sensory bin. (Kernels + Farm themed Safari toob)
Our gummy bear science project survived exactly 4 hours and 30 minutes. I came back to the classroom and discovered 4 empty jars and 2 mangled bears on the floor. I am assuming salted gummy bear and vinegar gummy bear were not quite palatable.
Out of all the November activities in AYoPS, pumpkin-cano was our hands down favorite.
Lots of mileage out of this pumpkin.
First, the boys pulled out the guts. Then they washed off the seeds. We saved some for baking and the others went into a wood bowl to be used as counters in the classroom for our November activities. Next we went outside and got all the ingredients ready for the eruption. Everyone was shrieking with excitement and gearing up with enthusiasm. The eruption was fun. We did it a few times. Then one brother asked, “I wonder what it would take to make this baby explode?” Well, a few minutes later we were throwing the pumpkin down from various heights. I was surprised how much height and force it took to finally bust that sucker open! We saved the pieces of pumpkin and carried them out to our compost pile. We laid one piece out on top, buried another piece and left a third piece partially buried. We observed the way it decayed over the next few weeks.
One of my favorite things about AYoPS is the monthly character trait development. I am always surprised and delighted to find that focusing on one trait over and over for four weeks, becomes a part of my children’s character. I am always tempted to do too much, too fast. Some things are better absorbed in a slow and steady way. This month, I wondered how I would teach my barely verbal 3 year old how to be thankful. I still don’t know if he completely grasps the concept, but I do know that because of faithful repetition, “thank you” is a regular part of his vocabulary now. I like to think of it as a little thankfulness seed, just waiting to grow with time.