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In these final few days before Bentley gets here, we have simply been focusing our toddler homeschool on things that Kingston likes and is enjoying playing with and exploring. His most recent fixation has been on lizards or "yizards" if you ask him! After a recent trip to the science museum this week, we picked up this awesome bag of reptiles: Wild Republic Polybag Reptile 5 Pieces (FYI I'm blown away by that Amazon price, since I paid DOUBLE that. I can't believe how inexpensive they are on Amazon... Also, if you haven't checked out the Wild Republic Polybags, they are amazing, perfect for little fingers, and so affordable!). Inside the bag is a chameleon, iguana, Komodo dragon, gecko, and a frilled lizard. They are big, sturdy, and incredibly detailed. K has been toting them everywhere. It was pretty apparent that he would enjoy a lizard small world, so I threw one together for him!
To make the small world, I used one of K's favorite sensory materials: rice. This was my very first foray into dying rice (I used the vinegar method - 1 tbsp vinegar for every cup of rice along with a varied amount of food coloring). The rice was multi-colored yellow and orange and looked so citrus-y that I knew I wanted it to smell like that too! I added in some Sweet Orange Essential Oil and some Lemon Essential Oil (both of these are from Eden's Garden which we LOVE! They are so affordable and have great quality oil!) Some turquoise tissue paper water , rocks , and some trees from Kingston's beloved Animal Planet Zipper's Safari Play Set and the bin was ready to be explored!
Let me preface these pictures by saying that my sweet boy was dealing with an allergic reaction to some bug bites the day we played with this bin. His ears are swollen more than double the size they regularly are! Poor kiddo. But he was in great spirits and they have since thankfully gone down to normal size!
Kingston couldn't wait to play with his bin, and immediately went for the iguana.
We took our time identifying each one by name, talking about their different characteristics, pointing out their body parts, and identifying their different colors. K loved showing me the different parts and showing off all of his lizard knowledge.
He engaged in imaginative play and took the different lizards swimming and for a drink of water.
Then, they each had to go for a climb on the rock wall and take turns basking in the sun.
The frilled lizard, which we both find completely fascinating, got a thorough examining while on the rocks.
K loves the iguana, and spent a lot of time taking care of it. When he finally turned his attention to the rice, I asked him what it was. He immediately said, "CHEESE! Nom nom nom" and went right to feeding the iguana some. It was pretty adorable! I explained to him that it was rice and asked him what it smelled like. He told me, "Oranges! It stinks!" I just about fell over laughing, which prompted him to say "it 'tinks, it 'tinks" over and over again!
Here he is (my poor swollen boy) checking out the spikes on the iguana and the length of his tail. I can definitely see us using these awesome lizards for a math activity in our future!
When he was finished with his pretend play, he turned his attention fully to the scented rice and began exploring. He picked up, poured, threw, and shook the rice for quite some time. He also enjoyed spreading it all around the bin with both his hands and the lizards' tails.
I loved watching him get right into the bin. This blend of citrus essential oils is an uplifting one, which would explain his awesome attitude throughout the rest of the day. He had such a blast with this bin, and has been playing with his "yizards" both in and out of the bin constantly!