Kids are so fascinating to watch. They are extremely uninhibited, determined, inquisitive, and earnest. Our job is to let them do things that will help them to stay that way without hurting themselves. For example, as I am sitting here at the desk, my young daughter is tipping back and forth on a footstool testing out the properties of gravity and practicing her balance. Each time she tips too far, the stool scoots out from under her and she plops down on the floor. Then she sets the stool up straight, and gets situated to try it again. This is very serious business.
Now, I could run over and help her tip the stool just enough so that she doesn't fall. Or I could take the stool away and give her some safe toy to play with. Don't get me wrong, she's not in any mortal danger here, but sometimes we need to just sit and watch our children and learn from them, instead of pushing them to learn from us. My little daughter will stay inquisitive until someone tells her to quit asking why. She will stay uninhibited until someone laughs at her. She will stay determined until someone tells her she is going to fail. So take a minute, put down the mop, forget the peanut butter on the windows, ignore that grimy high chair, and learn something from the amazing child sitting in it.
And now, on to the long-awaited Q week.
• Fill a quart jar with water and find out how many quarts it takes to fill a gallon jug or bucket. Gather other things that you can fill your quart jar with. Can you drink a whole quart of water? Eat a quart of applesauce or jelly beans? Try it. This leads us to our next activity.
• Pretend that everyone is queasy and sick and that you have to quarantine the house. Make a big quarantine sign and then decide what things you will do during the quarantine. Play games, make special treats, spend lots of time in bed reading stories together or coloring.
• Cutting a pie or an apple into 4 pieces, demonstrate how much a quarter is. Talk about how many quarters you need to have to make one whole. Practice dividing things into quarters. Explain that 4 quarter coins make one whole dollar. Then play the game where you roll a die and get that number of quarters. As soon as you have 4 quarters, you can trade them in for a dollar. Unlike playing with nickels and the pennies, all money must be returned. Or you can use this to hand out allowance. And contrary to my husband's belief, having money and dice on the same table does not constitute gambling.
• Pretend to be a family of ducks and play "follow the leader", saying "Quack, quack, waddle, waddle" over and over again. Go visit the ducks at a pond and listen to them quacking. Record the sound and try to imitate it. Oh, and by the way, what do you get when you put three ducks in a box? A box of quackers!
• Read several stories about different queens or kings. Have each person choose one of the characters they want to be and have a tea party or a ball.
• Gather all the ingredients and have each child make their own quesadilla. Think of other foods you could put on a quesadilla. Try some and create a new recipe. Here's a basic recipe to start with: