Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sensory bin: egg shells, compost, and seed starting

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 Some days I think we may have too much fun.  Other days, I know for certain that we do.

This week's sensory bin just kept morphing.  I had saved the dried-out rose tops from Valentine's Day to put into a bin, but when I opened the bag I had them in, I discovered they had gone soft.  Soggy roses are much less exciting than crunchy ones.

I had made eggs for breakfast, and the shells were waiting to be added to the compost.  Perfect.

After a good rinsing, I set up the bin.

The rubber mallet was very popular.

My coffee cup was also popular, and did not go unbothered.

When she did this with the water beads, they bounced all over the place.  
The fact that she replicated the experiment made me very proud.

This was Monday, and all our eggs were crushed, which is perfect for composting, but terrible if you were planning on doing this all week.  Had I planned for eggshells, I would have turned some of our yellow pom-poms into chicks, found books about eggs, bought enough eggs to make custard or merengues or frittata, just for the sake of letting V. use eggs in more ways.

I had also planned on starting some tomato plants this week, and knew we had some gorgeous weather ahead.  Then V. dumped the bag of scraps waiting to go to the compost on the kitchen floor in hopes of finding banana peels; one of her stranger food favorites.

So, compost it was.
Given that this was done on the fly, it was a huge success.

I had already bought the materials to start seeds, and pulled several books off our shelves that fit the subject matter.  Shown are two of my most favorite: The Curious Garden and Growing Vegetable Soup.  We also read Peter Rabbit, The Lorax (and it is Seuss Month!  How fitting!) and that little brown book on the table about organic gardens and colors.

All that was left was organic matter for the compost.  Once I opened the bag of roses, they crisped back up, so we have rose heads, daffodil heads, leaves, eggshells, a chopped up banana peel, dried potato skins (that crunch so nicely!) and coffee grinds.

I soaked the coconut fiber seed starter for an hour before starting this.

Once she got the idea of what was in the bowl, she started adding things from the yard: more leaves, grass, rocks, tree bark, sticks... it was a good connection.

I call this her discovery face.  She does it whenever she finds something new or intriguing.

Not what she expected!

When she started to raise the soil to her mouth and I grabbed the camera and not her hand, I realized that this might not be everyone's reaction.  There is nothing in any of this that can cause her harm, and so I let her try it.  If you want your kids to learn and don't want to be the parent that just says "no!" all the time, ask yourself if what they are doing will hurt them, if what they are doing can cause some sort of harm to others or belongings you don't want broken, and if the answer to both of those is "no", then let them do it.  Learning is messy, hard work, and kids know how to do it in ways that are best for them, most of the time.

And then we checked on the cat.

I suggested she "put the seeds in the soil", which she did like this...

... and like this.

After a properly messy morning, V. had a bath and a 2-hour nap.  Nothing like a little fresh air and sunshine.

Now we wait for our plants to sprout.

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