Thursday, August 25, 2011

The outing

Taking preschoolers to a wildlife park can be so much fun! And it's highly educational. Here are some specific instances in which you can really drive home a lasting life lesson.

1. Enlist their help in preparing the picnic lunch. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and pique their interest in the outing. Feeling like they're in control of WHAT they eat will make them want to change the WHEN, so you may need to prepare a whole new lunch when the first one mysteriously disappears off the counter when you turn to remove the bag of dinky cars from the Coleman cooler. Even if they have just finished breakfast. Just go with it.

2. Preschoolers are slippery creatures even when not lotioned up. Applying sunscreen can be tricky. It can be helpful to pretend you're on a mechanical bull. Or that you ARE the mechanical bull. It's never too early for some physical education.

3. After perusing the collection 31 stuffies, 12 dinky cars, a handful of coins, a precarious lego tower and a winter hat in the shape of a penguin lined up and waiting to go in the hallway, engage their interest and distract them with story time while stuffing them in the car as fast as you can. Do not go back in the house. Don't even look at the house as they can read your mind.

4. After all, it's educational at the gas station! They can select the grade and wash the windows. It's fun. They want this. The cars waiting behind you will understand and applaud your nurturing and explanatory nature.

5.  Resist the urge to slam on the breaks while traveling on the highway and threaten to "turn this car around", no matter how many times they ask the questions, "Where are we going?" "Where are WE going?" "WHERE are we going?" "Where are we GOING?" and "What did you say again?" These are all different questions that deserve complete and detailed answers. In writing. In triplicate. And notarized. Utilize road signs to foster an early love of letters.

6. Upon arrival, if there are birds roaming the grounds freely, they will be chased, no matter how large they are. Preschoolers must show them who's boss. It's the natural pecking order.

7. Fences are only for the rest of the crowd. That little path to the cougar's cage? It's all yours, baby! This hones leadership.

8. At 25 cents per handful, snacking on duckfood is not just fine, it's downright economical! Congratulate yourself for the brilliant way in which you've gotten them to eat their vegetables!

9. Not holding your hand flat whilst feeding the deer can result in a missing finger or 2. Or at least thinking that's the case. Such a great opportunity to review early mathematics!

10. Speaking of mathematics, running away and blending in with another family not only teaches subtraction and multiplication, it's also a good starting point for health sciences.
Raccoons are funny.

11. The coyote that appears to be stalking you IS stalking you. He's also teaching you not to drop  your guard (or your fly) for too long. A good lesson in cause and effect. If you run when someone is taking a picture, they'll get angry.
Speaking of coyotes.

12. Remember what you packed for the picnic? There's a memory game waiting to happen. Also, let's learn about volume and mass as it's crammed in.

13. Bodies at rest will remain at rest. Unless they fell asleep screaming, in which case, they will wake up that way so you can demonstrate the laws of physics and geometry while holding their hands and controlling a moving vehicle at 110 kilometers an hour. 
Don't poke the bear

14. In recounting your day, which may have gone on to include lessons of buoyancy, architecture and bladder control at a local body of water with a sandy shore (hello, geology!), don't forget to dwell on the boo-boos and tears. Blood builds character.

15. Photograph everything for posterity!

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