Today has been one of those full-on, child-led learning days. Its been an education!! Apologies, as this is a long one…
While H went off to her gym class, I had a couple of jobs to do which involved driving to lots of places and popping in for 2 seconds. When we’d finished we were driving past the docks and saw a sign about an arts and crafts shop which I’d completely forgotten had recently opened. We decided to stop and have a look as we still had some time before H was due back. We had a mooch around and E gasped in awe and amazement and all the locally crafted stuff, and decided she wanted to buy a highly expensive painting on canvas…they had a greetings card version of it luckily, so got off lightly 😉 They were advertising arts and crafts workshops too, but apparently not planning to run any for kids at the moment 😦 I left my name with them as E would be really interested in anything like that, and I’m sure I could find a gaggle of equally keen local HEors if they could put something on!!
We came out of the shop, and the lock was straight in front of us. E wanted to walk across the lock gate bridge and peer over the side. We heard a great deal of commotion and found that a mother duck and 2 ducklings were in the main dock, and a little duckling was stuck the other side of the gate in the lock, who must have been swept in as it was filling. E wanted me to go and buy a net and fish it out! Luckily someone more quick thinking went and spoke to the lock keeper who opened the lock gates. This involved lots of noise and beeping, which I think disorientated the mother and ducklings who were struggling to find eachother. At that moment I saw the helpful man chasing a seagull, and he came back with the news that a seagull had swooped in and taken the duckling 😦 I was really shocked! Nature can be truly horrible! We had been watching all these events, willing the baby to find the mum…poor E. I checked that she understood what had happened, and she had. She suggested we caught the gull and cut it open to get the duckling back…too much Little Red Riding influence there I think! We walked back to the car, and she admitted she was more upset about the duckling than she was about her recently departed rabbit. We talked about seagulls on the journey home, and where they are from at the seaside, and the type of food they eat, and why they are now found in cities like ours. E has had past incidents with seagulls including being divebombed with poo, so they are not her favourites!! I mentioned culling, which I know is done in our city centre, where they oil the eggs, and E could see why this would be necessary, and we spotted loads of gulls sitting on roofs all the way home.
We also talked about food chains, and where we fit in, and where sea gulls fit in, and how they scavenge for food. If an animal has no food source it cannot survive, we talked about extinction, and then how seagulls eat anything, so they are very successful in that way.
Car conversations are great for exploring loads of subjects, and we moved from seagulls to pigeons, another pest bird in cities, and then to rats. I told E that during the Tudor-age (a favourite subject of E’s) rats carried the plague, and lots of people died, we talked about sanitation and how it has changed since then, and how they used to throw the chamber pot-contents out of the window!
We had fab friends over for lunch and to play for the afternoon, and I heard E tell my friend all about the duckling and everything we’d talked about. It turns about that she had taken part in egg oiling previously for the local council, and that they also replace eggs with dummy eggs, anything to stop so many eggs hatching, while tricking the birds into not laying replacement eggs or making a new nest.
After E had been begging me to use my sewing machine to make costumes using the book she got from Hobbycraft the other day, I thought I better do something!! Knowing my friend was a whizz with a sewing machine I asked her to give me a lesson or 10 in how to set-up and use ours! We managed it, and E even made a little cape for a wooden spoon with her new found skills. Now I’ve got over my fear of the thing, I’m confident we will be using it often!! Now to invest in some cotton and some material…
Rather than doing useful things like putting the kids to bed this evening, I found a neat little game on food chains which I started playing on my own, knowing that if I called E over to have a look she wouldn’t be interested…but luckily she noticed and came over to have a nose and ended up taking over! She completed the whole thing, and found out some new things that she didn’t already know, and found several things she did already know too.
She then asked if we could find something on Tudors and rats, and she suggested Horrible Histories, and even showed me how to find the webpage!! We found another neat little game which she absolutely loved, which has a Tudor street-scene, complete with rats, poo and other delights! She was a bit worried that it had lots of reading, but I sat with her for a bit, and she realised that it read out all the text, so she settled down to it while I got H to bed, and kept running up to tell me what she’d discovered, including a woman in a theatre, who turned out to be a man! I explained about there being no actresses in theatres then, and men had to play all the parts. This particular example was Juliet from Romeo & Juliet.
I think that’s enough learning for one day?!