sink icecubes

It’s only Day 2 of the observation project, and I’m surprised that I’m already beginning to see a few patterns in my daughter’s current interests.  When given a large quantity of similar objects such as sea shells or coins, my child loves sorting them into other containers, dropping them back into their original bowl/basket/container, and then sorting them out again.  I first noticed this interest last week when she was filling glasses with ice cubes for over half an hour — an activity that we iterated on by first filling a sink with ice, and then a couple days later asking for cups of ice to pour and play with on a long flight.

ice on plane

The other thing that’s been illuminating about this project is a realization that I can’t completely remove myself from the picture…especially at my child’s very young age. However, I can introduce my daughter to an activity, and then do my best to step back and see what aspects of it she’s most excited about.

Observations from Day 2

  • Filling bowls with rocks: Moving a pile of rocks from a large bowl, and dividing them into smaller containers
  • Filling cups with coins: She found a stack of 10 plastic cups, separated them, laid them out, and then dropped a coin in each one.
  • Floating in the Kayak: Enjoyed getting splashed, loved the bumpy waves. No complaints about getting cold, wet, etc. This follows a long-observed love of water in all forms: swimming pools, jumping in the ocean, etc.
  • Walking on a balance beam. This has been a long favorite, and when she spots any elevated curb, it suddenly becomes a balance beam.
  • Playing with the dollhouse with G-Ma: Play acting bedtime, cooking, climbing up ladders, etc.
  • Throwing things into a basket (diapers, balls, etc.), followed by the exclamation, “I am the best shooter!”


  1. you’ve done it once again rachelle!!!
    you never stop inspiring me, even when I’m resistant.
    I had one of those days today when all I wanted was to be alone in my studio. if I had one.
    so to say the least, I was quite distant today and Simone and I never manage well when I’m in need of space. she broke all the rules over and over. rough.
    so I read your blog and decided to look at her patterns. and low and behold. I was a little snarky while making the list and what almost all activities, whether I suggested them or she developed them on her own-she spreads everything every where. her clothes. her dress up clothes. bird seed. paint. food.
    Nola sorts.
    Simone spreads.
    truthfully it sends me over the edge because she is not interested at all in the clean up process, but I am going to look at her “spreading” a little differently now. how can I set her space up so she can spread and I don’t go mad:)
    thank you rachelle!!!!!!!
    (I wrote this on my iPhone and I can’t proof what I wrote. hope the rambling made sence. )

    • I’m so happy to read this, dan! What a wonderful observation — sometimes it’s obstacles and frustrations that enable us to see what’s in front of us more clearly. On the cleaning side of things, I suppose I got lucky with a kid who likes to sort. And there’s little in my messy, scattered genes that make me deserve this reward! Do you have any ideas on how to support spreading? I’d love to hear what you come up with?

      • oh now I’m in trouble. I was telling Dave of my spreading discovery and this morning he remarks how I am the same way. of course I become defensive because it’s all I know to do, but he’s right. I recognized the similarity the moment I wrote it into words. looks like I have to approach Simone’s space and my space with the knowledge we are both spreaders. I even spoke to Simone teachers and they agreed with a hardy chuckle. :))

        • I’m a spreader, too, and my little sorter is a blessing I haven’t duly earned! Although there’s still time for her to develop a spreading tendency, I suppose I’m glad to hear that this has brought some truths to light. xo

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