Show Love Around the World

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Raddish Kids had a heart-warming lesson this month about different ways that cultures celebrate love, specifically on Valentine’s Day, but also throughout the year. As a kindergartner, Travis is working on learning and showing empathy, so it was a nice lesson to make things concrete. First, we spent a few nights devoting story time to books about love, including:

  • Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
  • Best Friends (Owen and Mzee) by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff
  • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose

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After each one, we discussed the type of love relationship it entailed. Sometimes it was two friends, sometimes a parent and child, and sometimes members of different species! This was a great jumping-off point for talking about what love means, and how we might express love differently towards different people (or animals).

Travis said he shows love to a parent by hugging, but love to a friend by playing.

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Raddish provided lots of links to learn more about other cultures’ love traditions, including silly bits like how to say “love” in Klingon. Some made Travis giggle, like walking barefoot in Slovenia. Overall, though, this section of the lesson was geared towards older children and Travis was too antsy to sit and go through all of the customs.

Instead, we jumped ahead to the project: making up his own love celebration. The provided worksheet helped direct Travis’s thinking, but he gave a lot of silly answers before honing in on a real idea.

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He wanted to celebrate sibling love (aww!) so we ended up combining this with a winter picnic for Veronika.

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I loved watching them play and share the moment together!

Finally, we put together a Love Jar. Decorate any container you like, whether a shoe box or a mason jar or anything in between. Travis drew designs on a mason jar with permanent markers, including hearts and arrows.

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I left out post-it notes by the jar with the idea that he can write down a moment he appreciated or loved each day.

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Reading these out can become a special moment each week! We finished off all the heart-shaped fun with a quick compound word game from Raddish, filling in the blanks on “broken hearts” to complete each word.

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Winter Picnic

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We’re in the final stretch of winter, and if you’re equally sick of being indoors and dying to get your toddler outside, here’s the perfect idea: Don’t wait! Throw a winter indoor picnic instead.

While Veronika was napping, I set the whole stage including big blankets on the floor, soft balls to throw and play with, and a picnic basket full of little lunch items.

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When she woke up, she immediately needed to check everything out. The balls were a blast to play with, and soon she and big brother were happily devouring their meal.

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We invited a few “babies” along, and Veronika loved putting them in and out of the picnic basket!

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Older kids might have fun talking about favorite warm weather memories as they eat. My two were just thrilled with the change of location from the kitchen table! Did they eat as much as usual? No, but we sure had fun.

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Nature Collage

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This was Travis and Veronika’s first art project together, a really wonderful milestone for siblings.

It started with a nature walk! On a gorgeous spring-like day, we took Veronika out to stretch her legs, and although she has come along on nature hikes, this was the first time she walked on her own two feet.

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Travis was a great help along the trail, pointing out the names of objects. “Log!” he told her proudly, and also pointed out grass, acorns, pine cones, sticks, pebbles, and dirt.

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Of course dirt had to be explored.

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When Veronika saw that big brother had a walking stick, she needed one too!

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As we hiked, the kids added treasures to a brown paper bag. Because it is late winter, there wasn’t a whole lot of color, but there was beauty to be found in dried brown leaves, curiously-shaped sticks, and bristly pine needles.

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Once home, I asked Travis what shape we should draw on construction paper. He chose a butterfly, but anything else from nature – a flower, a favorite animal – would be fun.

Working together, we dripped on glue and applied bits of our nature finds into a collage. Travis loved using an acorn for a big eye and pine needles for antennae. Veronika loved pressing down pieces of leaf on the wings. Something for everyone!

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She even loved squeezing the glue bottle.

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This project helped shape an absolutely beautiful afternoon, and I hope you find the project equally magical.

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