Five birds, one glass of water. This old fable, as retold by Victoria Anonuevo and illustrated by Virgilio Almario in Isang Mayang Uhaw published by Adarna House, is about a clever sparrow who came up with a solution to his problem. How can a small sparrow quench his thirst after four bigger birds get their fill and leave him with a nearly empty glass?
A Glass of Water
The clever sparrow dropped some pebbles into the glass to make the water rise. For several meals, I would pour a little bit of water into Little T’s glass and give her a bowl of ice cubes. She would gingerly plop ice cubes one at a time and laugh in delight as the water rose. I was careful to just let her enjoy the moment and not ruin it by being scientific with “this is called displacement.” J She also tried out the new words she picked up, saying “it’s up to the brim” (from the English translation) and asking for water for the “Uhaw na Little T.”
Like Ang Pambihirang Sombrero by Jose Miguel Tejido, Isang Mayang Uhaw is part of our conscious effort to make Little T truly bilingual. With this book, we practiced isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, at lima as we counted the birds and the pebbles in the story. Little T got interested enough to learn how to count up to dalawampu!
Little T and I spent precious quiet moments appreciating, watching, and listening to the birds flying around the garden. Being with nature is something that I want to have more in our daily life, and we are blessed to only have to open the backyard door to do it. We attracted some birds with a bird-feeder we made from a discarded book box, but the airborne creatures are just too quick for my camera.
Poetry and Painting
We also spent one morning painting outside. We followed a tutorial on Wet on Wet Painting that is popular with Waldorf families. I told Little T that we were going to paint about birds and gave her some key words to guide her: sky, fly, swoop, rest, dance, and hop. The objective was not to draw birds, but to feel how it is like to be a bird. I then recited a poem we learned from Baby Boy’s Kindermusik class, Feathers:
fluffy, downy, tickly
floating, dancing, twirling
I try to incorporate some time in the kitchen every week, and would love to have Wednesdays as our regular cooking or baking day. For Isang Mayang Uhaw, we whipped up some Easy Sugar Cookies from All Recipes and used bird-shaped cookie cutters. This activity, as usual, worked on several levels:
- Visual perception as we determined what kind of birds the cookie cutters were
- Life skills as we baked and washed cookie cutters and cookie sheets
- A bit of math as we measured, spooned and leveled ingredients
- Physical skills as we mixed the ingredients and pressed the cookie cutters into the dough
- Fine motor skill as we put mini chocolate chips for the birds’ eyes
When we didn’t have butter the first time we planned to bake, Wonderful G got two slices of bread, had Little T cut it with the cookie cutter, popped it in the oven, and voila! Bird toasts!
Music and Creative Movement
Ah! Music soared in our little corner of the world as we danced to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a suggestion I found at Kindermusik’s See What I Saw Family Activity Book. Baby Boy giggled as we danced to the enchanting Bird’s Chorus (listen here) found in his Kindermusik CD.
Unlike children being herded to school stages to perform, Little T makes the world her stage. It was a joy to watch her flit around the garden while singing Once I Saw A Little Bird over and over. (And over.)
And far away she flew!
I was excited, too, to teach her Ang Pipit, a Filipino song from my childhood about a small sparrow’s life.
May pumukol sa pipit sa sanga ng isang kahoy
At nahagip ng bato ang pakpak ng munting ibon
Dahil sa sakit, di na nakaya pang lumipad
At ang nangyari ay nahulog
Ngunit parang taong bumigkas,
“Mamang kay lupit, ang puso mo’y di na nahabag,
Pag pumanaw ang buhay ko
May isang pipit na iiyak!”
I still have a lot of ideas and I would love to go to the zoo to visit the hawk, hornbill, egret, and rail featured in the book. There’s no hurry though. We can always pick it up again for another round of natural learning. For now, I am perfectly satisfied that my child is learning just by watching birds at the backyard, baking, painting, and dancing like a bird.