Wednesday, May 1, 2013

101 things to do outside with children #32...hope to get lucky

This week we've seen it all. Ducks perched on the roof of an urban home. A robin, singing in a snow-covered tree (yes, it's winter again in Minnesota). A squirrel perched on our window box, eating some sunflower seeds. A fat rabbit sitting in the grass.  All of these sights have made my own children gasp with delight.

The other day J and I took a (much-needed) break from building Lego starfighters in his room and I glanced out the window to see a huge rabbit munching on the grass. As we watched, our noses pressed to the window, J whispered to me, "She's eating a lot of grass. She must like it here!" and "Aren't we lucky that rabbit came to our yard?"  He was utterly captivated.  As far as he was concerned, it was an honor to have our yard chosen by this rabbit. When the rabbit finally decided it was time to move on, J was at the window, and considered himself quite lucky to get to see the rabbit hopping away. "She's moving! Mommy, she's moving! Look at those legs go! I saw her white tail!" Indeed, how lucky we were.

I love the way children so naturally slow down, notice the really special things. To an adult, seeing a rabbit in the yard is no big deal. Something that might inspire a smile, but not much more. Certainly not the focused atttention and rapt curiosity that J gave over.  What a joy to be a part of his excitement, his delight and his intense awareness of this "other creature" that came and paid us a visit.  He was so open to watching her, really watching her... noticing the little details in what she was doing, how she was moving, and every little element of her "rabbit-ness" -It might sound silly, but being shown a rabbit through the eyes of my son, I really felt like I saw a rabbit for the first time.

Throughout the day, he checked out the window, looking for "Bunny-bun" as he called her. When we went outside to the yard, he showed me the exact route the rabbit had taken to exit the yard, the exact corner around which she hopped to get to another yard. He even demonstrated the way the rabbit moved as she hopped. (Which, I might add, showed a clear understanding of how rabbits move, and how their bodies differ from ours)

"Do you think we'll ever see her again?" He asked quietly at the end of the day. He'd been thinking about this rabbit all day long. It really made an impression on him.

"Maybe" I replied. "Maybe she'll be back."

"I hope so." he said, "I hope so. We're so lucky she came here today."

Yes. We are so lucky.

Virtual book tour update: please visit Lets Explore for the latest stop on the blog tour. What a wonderful resource for parents and caregivers-anyone who values play in all its forms. Thanks for stopping!


  1. What a sweet moment to share! Love how this post demonstrates so many things happening in J's brain as a result of the bunny visit: intense observation, empathy with the bunny's feelings/experience, memorization, speculation about the future, and even a sense of his own "smallness" in the world.

    Lovely blog!

  2. I just discovered your site. I love it. It has great ideas that are simple enough for anyone to try. These activities remind us of how connected to nature we are. I have posted a link to your site from my science blog.