Friday, July 23, 2010

Tadpoles and an Ant farm

That's what the boys and I did today.

A friend of ours has a small pond in front of her house, filled with hundreds of tadpoles. She offered some to us, so we stopped by and picked up eight. We have a small round habitat where we can watch them grow and change. Later, that same habitat will be perfect for keeping a pet frog (assuming at-least one survives). I hope they all make it to adulthood, but I don't have a very good track record taking care of small pets. Hopefully this is one area where my boys will not follow my lead.

After lunch, we made our own ant farm. Using two small jars, one slightly smaller than the other, we went out into the yard and rounded up some ants. I'm a little concerned about the size of our ants. They were tiny, and so I'm not sure if we'll be able to see their tunnels. I figure we can give it a couple days, and if nothing happens, the boys and I can go hunt some larger ants.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Business

Earlier today, Nico decided he wanted to try and make some money. He brought a box outside, and some finger puppets, and thought he could entice our neighbors to pay $5 to see his puppet show. After a very brief amount of time, he gave up, saying no one wanted to see his show. (On a side note, I don't think he had actually planned out a show, so even if some one had stopped to watch, they probably would have asked for their money back after he failed to produce.)

He still wanted to make some money, and it was blisteringly hot outside, so he decided a lemonade stand was a better way to go. Out went the box, out went a pitcher of lemonade and some paper cups, and his shop was set up. He wanted to try and charge $5 a cup, I convinced him to start with $1 a cup, but warned him he may have a hard time getting people to pay even that much. Less than five minutes after walking out the door, he made his first sale, and his first dollar.

After about 20 minutes he came back in and asked if there were any snacks he might be able to sell, along with the lemonade. I had some spare boxes of raisins I said he could have, and suggested a price of $.50 per box, and some crackers, which he wanted to give away, to make people thirsty, so they would buy more lemonade. Smart kid.

After an hour he started becoming discouraged that people weren't walking past him, and some had told him no. I told him to be patient, and stick with it. He stayed out there almost three hours, and in the end he sold a total of three lemonades, and one box of raisins, and came home with $3.50. He was thrilled with himself.

This is his first business, soliciting our poor neighbors. I see myself as his financial backer, since I supplied the lemonade, cups, raisins and crackers. Tomorrow I may take him out to the store, and see if he wants to spend some of his money on some cookie dough, have him bake the cookies, and then try and sell them along with his lemonade. This way he will gain an appreciation for cost versus profit. How much is he willing to spend today, to make more money tomorrow? I think I will also suggest that he make a sign, displaying just how much the cookies and lemonade cost.

Although I feel bad for unleashing this on my neighbors, I can't help but look at all the wonderful lessons he is gaining from this experience. From social skills, to money handling, to business administration he will learn more in the few hours a day he spends on this project than he ever could sitting in a class room. Yeah for unschooling.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Is there such a thing as bad pretend play?

I ask because yesterday my boys were pretending to smoke. They were using the sticks from their tinkertoys, and pretending that they were cigarettes. They even made pretend lighters, and were pretend coughing.

At the time I didn't say anything to try and stop them. But I've since been wondering if there is such a thing as bad pretend play? If pretending to smoke will someday lead to them trying it for real, or will allowing them to pretend satisfy that curiosity, so they will never actually smoke?

I've since decided that so long as they keep things in the realm of pretend, I will not interfere.

Are there any pretend activities that you will not allow your children to engage in?