• "Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love—difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs - everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness - Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events—to the heart that loves, all is well."
  • - St. Therese of Lisieux

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Catching Tadpoles and Enjoying the Benefits of Nature Play

As you know we take morning walks everyday. During one of these walks, we found a stream of flowing water near Lolo Boyet and Lola Fanni's house. So we let curiosity take over and peeked in. We found tadpoles! They were swimming happily around. We did not think of catching some because we did not have a container with us. But our little one was very curious and would always remember the "ta-pows mi-mimg" whenever we passed by the stream.

So we decided to catch some so we can have a closer look.

We prepared our things: a fish net borrowed from Lolo Boyet, and a glass bottle with a lid.

And off we went with two dogs in tow. It was 7:00 in the morning.

Read on to find out how exactly this activity benefited our family of three.

When we arrived at the stream. Teo was so excited that he immediately dipped the net into the pool where the water was deeper. Realizing that it would take more than just the act of scooping to catch some tadpoles, he gave the net to 'Tatay'. So 'Tatay' demonstrated how it was done.

Teo and Tatay putting the tadpoles in the jar.
Then 'Tatay" let Teo have a go. His first try yielded no tadpoles. But then he caught two big ones on his second try! He was so happy and the look on his face was accomplishment. 

The water in this stream is clean by the way. It is from a leaking water supply pipe. If it had been drainage water, I'd think twice before letting Teo catch tadpoles. But again, a little dirt would be always beneficial.

So we took home the tadpoles we caught. Teo insisted that he carry the jar himself, so we let him. But I honestly was afraid that he would drop it and break it. But of course, I had to restrain myself and show him that I trusted him. The tadpoles were all safe.

He is happier because he gets to challenge himself and successfully accomplish what he wants to do.  Like carrying the jar full of tadpoles, for example, I allowed him to carry it because the jar could be replaced and we could get more tadpoles. He is also happy when he finds and picks up things. Teo usually puts them in the seat compartment of his toy car; which he usually 'drives' when we take walks. He plays with these loose parts at home.

Happy and content with our forty five minute walk, he is usually cooperative and follows the rest of our morning or afternoon routine. But of course with the occasional 'No.' when I have requests.

As soon as we got home, we decided to transfer the tadpoles to another bottle so Teo could see the tadpoles better. Again, insisting that he do the transferring, Tatay gave him the watering can so he could pour the tadpoles into the bottle.

We watched YouTube videos of the life cycle of frogs during wind down time. And talked about how the tadpoles grow into frogs. Teo, even with his limited expressive vocabulary, retold the events that had happened with much excitement. 

I did a watercolor sketch of a tadpole on my journal while Teo watched. I invited him to draw too but he declined and said "Watch you." So, I took the opportunity to talk about the parts of the tadpole.

By the time we finished talking about tadpoles, it was lunch time. And then bath time. While settling down for nap time, we agreed to bring the tadpoles back to the stream this afternoon so they can go into frogs. I bet Teo dreamed about tadpoles and frogs that afternoon.

Another thing I like about nature play is that it makes Teo question. He's not yet in the why stage but often asks "Was da?" What's That?" And, at this point in his speech development, anything I say, he repeats. 

We let go of the tadpoles that afternoon. As Teo poured the contents out of the bottle, he said "bye-bye" to his tiny black friends. Then, we stayed a while to watch them swim about.

"Buh-baay ta-pows."

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