For the last week or so Liam and I have been participating in the Go, Play, and Learn challenge over on one of my favorite blogs, Nerd in the Brain. The timing was perfect. Liam and I have been exploring the worlds of construction and transportation for a while now and I was more than ready for a change… apparently so was Liam as he has jumped right into this new subject to explore wholeheartedly and picked up much more than I originally thought he would with his little two year old brain.
For the most part our activities this week have focused on art, open conversation, and outdoor exploration. These three methods are what works best for Liam to learn and are how I typically address new subjects. For the subject of clouds we started and ended with outdoor exploration, Liam loved this approach as he loves to go outside and play. I loved it because our exploration included lots of walking and I am still trying to lose the last of the baby weight (as an added bonus the fresh air makes Liam and his infant sister – Catriona- sleep like rocks).
We went for walks and talked about the sky and what belonged up in the sky (the sun, airplanes, and helicopters was the list that Liam came up with on our first walk). I slowly introduced the subject of clouds in relation to his precious airplanes and helicopter, of which there are plenty flying overhead as we live in a touristy area. I often find Liam staring out a window looking up at the sky in fascination because there is an airplane flying over head (“see the airplane Mommy? I see it!”). I swear he manages to spot every single airplane that flies over our house no matter how high up they are every clear day. Liam and I had long discussions (for a two year old… so really like 15-20 minutes) about how airplanes fly through clouds sometimes because they are “way up high in the sky” (which is one of Liam’s favorite phrases). We talked about helicopters hovering under the clouds. Then I slowly began to introduce the concept of different types of clouds.
I kept things basic and did some research before we started our conversations (The best website resource I found was at Science For Kids). We only discussed three types of clouds: Stratus, Cumulus, and Cirrus. I also pared down the facts I taught him to one or two about each cloud type. We did art projects… lots of them. I introduced sponge painting for the first time (he is now addicted) as well as making pictures with cotton balls. We also found a video on YouTube of a story called The Cloud Factory which touched on some basic facts while creating a fictional and fun story about how clouds are created. We keep looking out the window, even on rainy days (and especially on cloudy days). We (still) continuously talk about the airplanes that fly through those clouds and how sometimes when the clouds are hanging low like a blanket (Stratus clouds, which he been correctly naming) we can’t see the airplanes that are flying over head. His favorite clouds are Cirrus as they don’t get in the way of his airplane viewing, though he also likes Cumulus clouds because he likes to watch the airplanes fly through them. So far I am pretty impressed and have thoroughly enjoyed watching his mind work to relate a new concept to something he already loves.
As an added bonus I also have some new art for the refrigerator 🙂