Clemyjontri Park, aka “WHEEL WHEEL”

There are swings, monkey bars, climbers, rocking horses, slides, and more space than all parks I went to as a kid combined, but we spent all of our time at the “WHEEL WHEEL!” (his words) The life-size firetruck was pretty much all of his current interests made into the best structure ever: truck, wheels, climbing, slide, and did I mention, wheels!

​​When he finally decided to venture out from the life-size fire truck, of course we went straight to the child-size car. More wheels! And even more exciting for him, it was a blue car (just like ours)!

​While taking pictures/video of his excitement, I started reflecting on the vocabulary that was growing from these experiences too. He had already begun to say, “car” and “wheel” prior to our visit, but while we were at the park he developed a new understanding for the word “wheel”. This was a word used for the tire on something moving, but it was also the word used for driving, a steering wheel. It was like I could see the lightbulb going off in his adorable head, “Oh this is a wheel and this is a wheel. They both spin! WHEEL WHEEL!”

And what day would it be without music? He loved the giant swinging maracas almost as much as the bongos. Gave me ideas for future backyard DIY projects too!

Ok, time for me to geek out again! In addition to the vocabulary he was learning from this trip, I was excited to see him learning about some physics concepts and bigger wonderings too. While he may not say it aloud, I know these were some of the questions his brain was trying to solve: How do you make the steering wheel spin, how is it connected, what does this look like underneath, can the wheel spin both directions, how much force do I need to use to make it spin or spin faster, can I fit through the tire wheel, how do I move my body through this space, and (my favorite) how close can I be without bumping my head?

I know some of you are thinking, “This chick is needs to cut back on the coffee, she’s seeing things”, but this is the beauty of early childhood. All of these concepts he is learning through play, through his natural exploration with his environment. I didn’t decide that we would work on any specific skill sets for this trip, but I am lucky enough to be able decode what he is learning while playing thanks to all of my early childhood studies.

Although I didn’t get more pictures since I was playing along with him the whole time, I did want to mention another reason I loved this park as a mom and early childhood educator. This park is truly inclusive of all children; from adaptive swings, to ramps on all climbing structures, large open spaces between structures, an area with quiet spaces, a maze wide enough for wheelchairs, and more. Everything mentioned above was integrated seamlessly throughout the entire park.

Every child should be able to go to a park and be a kid. Clemyjontri provides an amazing space for every child to have fun without feeling different or left out. Loved that this park was so much fun for all of the grown-up’s inner children too! Can’t wait to go back for more “WHEEL WHEEL” fun soon!

 

 

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Imagination Begins!

​What does a random basket of toys and banging a drumstick have to do with all of my excitement?? Watching the first video probably leaves you thinking, “Ok, so he likes to bang the stick into a pile of stuff, what’s the big deal?”

Watch the second video and see….

​​GET IT?!?!? The first video was dipping the wand into the bubble liquid, the second video shows him taking the bubble wand to Daddy to blow bubbles.  I know it’s not recreating the wheel, but seeing this happen is as exciting as seeing first smilies or first steps.

This is the first time he is using found objects to reenact something he has seen and done in his life without any prompting. When children are able to demonstrate this level of play, it means their brain is capable of more advanced cognitive flexibility, creativity, imagination, taking on various social roles, and directing their play in a new way. If you want to geek out with me, I found a great article with more scientific fancy words that explains pretend play’s importance in child development. 

No I don’t think these videos will be enough to get him early admission to Harvard, yes I do this he’s a genius (he is my kid, hehe 🙂 and yes, I’m super excited to start a whole new level of play with this kid this summer.

 

Takoma Mamas Reunion!

Kicking off summer with an amazing group of mamas and babies (and the dads all taking the photos!) It was so much fun to be back in the group that started most of our lives as mamas over a year ago.

When we met in colder weather back in 2016, all of these now super fast toddlers we’re tiny squishes. My little guy was the youngest attending for while, we started when he was just 10 days old.

Back then we bonded over loss of sleep, sore nipples, being pooped on, and trying to figure out how not only keep these tiny people alive, but how to grow them into amazing people. Just my opinion, but I think we all have done a fantastic job so far!

Watching them walk, run, talk, blow bubbles, feed themselves, and socialize with other kids their age at the gathering may have been as much fun as the mamas had catching up too!

So thankful for this group of women who helped shape me as a new mom in the early days, and who continue to share in smiles now!

Summer fun with baby!

So excited to get this summer started with this super fun little guy! While we aren’t singing and dancing in Zumbini or snuggling to dance in Baby Mombo we like to stay busy all around this town! 

Follow us this summer to see all the fun we’ll be having in and out of classes! 

Love,

Mama and Baby!