Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring Thing and Corals

Today was the day of the annual Spring Thing picnic with our homeschooling group. We missed last year's one, so we were really looking forward to attending this one. So yesterday evening I was busy making a very large pot of салат винегрет also known as the Russian beet salad. I was a bit worried since it has beets (and so many Americans seem to be averse to them) and pickles and onions.

Do you know how long does it take me to make 4 pounds of beet salad? It takes me 45 minutes, not including the time it takes to boil veggies. It might seem like too much time, but I assure you, I'm no slow poke. It's just Russian salads require all the ingredients to be uniformly and finely chopped.

Anyway the Spring Thing was awesome! We stayed there for the whole thing and I had a hard time getting M out of the park. First, there were all sorts of activities for the kids, including parachute games, balloons, water balloons and even a bouncy castle thing-y. I thought M was going to spend all his time at the bouncy thing, but instead he enjoyed the parachute and then - running around the big lawn with a group of boys armed with Nerf guns.

But that was until he discovered the Healing Oceans Together project. This project's goal is to create a card game that would be fun and engaging and would teach kids about marine life and how it can be protected.

They had a couple of tables, one for crocheting and one for creating coral reefs out of various recyclables and odds and ends. I was surprised how absorbed he became in making coral reefs with some egg containers, a paper cup, lots of salt dough and various pasta shells. Then he asked me to draw and cut out a coral out of a foam tray and spent quite a while coloring it.

Other children, mostly older ones, stopped by and they made really beautiful corals. One girl even made a salt dough dolphin jumping on the waves made out of a plastic bag, the entire structure intricately balanced on a stand made out of drinking straws.

On the way home, M kept talking about his coral reef and how now he wants it to grow. He asked me what could we do to make the reef grow. I explained that this one was a model, so it wouldn't really grow. But we could add on to it, I said. So maybe that's what we're going to do tomorrow.

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