Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer Begins For The Boys

Yesterday was the last day of school for Cava, so now the boys are both officially ready for summer. While Cava was sad to leave his teacher, Ms. Davis, and second grade behind, I will help him transition into summer more easily by making summer a bit more structured like school. One of the new rules of summer is that both of them have to read before they can go anywhere or do anything. To help with this, we went by our public library and signed both boys up for their summer reading program.

The children's librarians are always happy to see Cava and they loved the excitement he had (he was literally bouncing up and down) as they explained the reading program and all the activities they will be having for kids this summer. He also greeted all of the librarians with, "Happy summer's day," which they loved and repeated back to him. Once they were both registered, we set about finding a stack of books for each. Cava loves series books (he and I are currently reading Peter and the Starcatchers together), but he's begun reading The Buddy Files and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series on his own, so he got the ones he needed to read for that series. He and I also got some books by Patricia Polacco, one of our favorite authors.

Along with the library, we went to another of our favorite places: The Schiele Museum. Normally, the boys (especially Cava) rush through the museum in a matter of minutes, but to put an end to the whiz-bang approach they have, I decided we were going to play some games that were also educational. First, I used the Schiele's own scavenger hunt and we split up into teams to see who could finish first (to prove that you found each one, you had to take a selfie in front of the answer to each clue). Benjamin went on his own and Cava and I teamed up together. Even though we didn't beat Benjamin, Cava and I had a blast trying to figure out the clues and taking photos of each other.

Before we entered the museum, I also told them that each of us was to learn three new facts that we didn't know before. This meant that they had to stop and take the time to actually read the plaques next to the exhibits and not just stop briefly, look quickly, and then dart off to the next. The new fact that was all of our favorites was the one we read about caribou, but also applies to deer, and that is that their hair is hollow like a straw so that it makes it easier for them to cross rivers.

In each of the different rooms of the museum, I told them to find three (three is the magic number) things that they had never noticed before and they delighted in showing off their finds. Cava won by finding something none of us had ever noticed before - a necklace made from claws. 

As much as they took to the prairie dogs, one of them took to Cava as well. He even began jumping to get his attention.

Another game I created for the boys to play was that one of them would stay in the room with the dioramas and find something hidden in them, then they would call the other two back in to try and find it. Whoever found the hidden item first, got to go next. They loved this and we played that for twenty minutes and they might have kept on playing except we had to go to the planetarium for their 11:00 am showing.

What I loved most was spending time with my sons and watching their enthusiasm and, even more so, them getting along with each other.

On the car ride home, the boys were both talking about their favorite things that we saw and what we did. You would've thought they'd never been to the Schiele before. Certainly it's the first time I've been with both of them and spending almost two hours there. It was definitely an awesome first day to our summer together. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer holds in store for us.

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