A week ago I was trying desperately to cook Sunday lunch (or Sunday dinner as we say in the South!). When your husband is a Preacher Man, Sunday is usually a mad scramble! We came home from worship services, and I jumped in with both hands cooking lunch as quickly as possible so everyone could lie down for their Sunday naps (these are mandatory in our house on Sunday!).
Of course, my sweet, little children were underfoot. And our kitchen is not that big. It is amazing to me that wherever I am, that is where they want to be. Bedrooms full of toys, but if Mom is cooking in the kitchen, they are there. Movies to watch, but if Mom is trying to use the bathroom, they are there. A backyard to play in, but if Mom is working on her Bible study, they are there. I have a love/hate relationship with their constant presence. I love having them with me because I know that too soon they will be grown, but I hate not being able to get things done by myself when I need to do so. I’ve not used the bathroom alone in almost nine years now!!!
Anyway, back to my ingenious, quick-thinking Mom moment. I was at a lull in dinner prep, and suddenly had an idea to keep them out of the way, but still in the kitchen. I grabbed some masking tape, sat on the floor next to the fridge, and started to tape of squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. into one big grid.
Naturally, they come over because they are curious.
Magpie: What are you doing, Mom?
Me: I’m making you guys something.
Me: You’ll see.
Monkey: Oo see.
Me: Monkey, run and get Mommy your animal puzzle.
When he comes back I take the animal puzzle pieces, and introduce them to the zoo on the side of our refrigerator!
We’ve had these magnet animal puzzle pieces since Chipette was a toddler and they worked perfectly with my brilliant plan. They have played and played with their zoo for two weeks now. Monkey makes the dinosaurs eat everything else in its cage which can get quite loud and destructive.
Of course, being a home school mom I’ve already thought up some ways to make it educational. We can learn about herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores by deciding which animals could co-exist in a zoo cage safely and which animals would need to be alone in their cage. We can learn about ecosystems and habitats by grouping the animals with other animals who could survive in the same climate.
I might need some more animals, but I can find some animal pictures on the internet, print them out on some magnetized printer paper, and have some more animals to learn and play with.
Next step is to read If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss and let Magpie have some fun with that. I’m thinking of having her make some imaginary animals to put in our refrigerator zoo. Fun, fun fun!
Sometimes running this zoo causes me to think on my toes and come up with something fun, cheap, and easy in the tree house,