Last weekend, we went to the zoo as a family (along with a family friend). We've taken my daughter to the zoo many times, but it has been a few months since our last trip and as anybody knows with 2 year olds, their minds are little sponges. Well, this time we went and she was asking questions about everything - "What is that called, Mom?" "What are they eating?" "What is her name?" "What is that animal doing?" etc. It was exciting to be able to answer her questions and fill her little brain with a tad more information about some of the animals. It was because of her inquisitive nature that I decided we should go see the elephants get their baths and hear the zookeepers tell us more about them. Lilly loved the experience (so did the rest of us) and had a ton more questions after that. She was able to watch the elephant drink water with his drunk and spit it into his mouth and use his drunk to spray himself with water. We saw the elephant eat apples and swim in a giant pool as well as have a "bowel movement" in the pool - that was interesting.
This adventure got me thinking about how little I'm really teaching my daughter. I mean, I have a degree in elementary education and if I were teaching at a school, I would be spending hours a week on lesson plans and such but with my daughter I haven't set aside that time to think about what I'm really teaching her. So, I have been doing some research online and at our local library and have figured out that I'm going to start setting aside at least an hour a day to "teach" my daughter a new concept. My first topic - elephants. We went to the library the other day and we got all kind of books on elephants - fiction and nonfiction. I also got a book on paper plate crafts, one of which is making an elephant. :) Tying elephants into Noah's Ark was another thought I had - making a big mural of the ark and then adding different animals as we talk about them.
My daughter is going to spend a few days with my mother in a couple of weeks and I want to use part of that time she is away to come up with a plan for the next few months of topics to focus on and ways to incorporate it into our day. When I come up with a plan, I will post it on my blog for anybody who is interested.