The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


When a turtle saves the day

Creating this pretend critter is just one way kids can learn as they play every day

We made a turtle today. Not a real one, of course. It has a paper-plate shell and a head and legs made from green construction paper. While my 3-year-old son, Ogden, sponge-painted a green design on the shell, I explained how the paint will dry through evaporation.

We discussed the number of legs a turtle has and then found our turtle book to study the pictures. When our project was complete, he asked me to read Old Turtle by Douglas Wood. It's a beautiful book about a wise turtle who has much to say about God. The "turtle session" was the best part of our day.

I wish I could say we have such moments every day. But between play dates, feeding my baby daughter, grocery shopping, church play-group and co-op nursery school, there isn't always time for one-on-one creative play and learning. And parents who work full time away from home find themselves in a bigger bind.

When a rare bit of free time with your child presents itself — or for a long day at home together — it may help to have a resource on hand chock-full of activities. The idea for making the turtle and the related lessons is from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, which suggests 260 weekly activities from birth to age 5.

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March issue

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