Natural Play Day: The Lemonade Tray

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Natural play is more than just reaching for unfinished wooden blocks or a play-silk, in my humble and NOT-so-professional opinion.  For our family, it is a method of teaching. It is a way of life.  It is taking responsibility for your own child with intentional parenting, as you equip them with all they need to know.  Taking hold of all that God has provided our family with and being content.

The application of this method, of course, will vary in each home, but essentially our method is the same.  Natural play means using the daily routine and rhythm of each God-given day in your home, to help instruct our children.

We proudly present "THE TRAY".  This is a simple way of presenting daily work and personal care instruction to your child at home.  We began with this tray . . . Okay, I know lemonade is not considered "essential" in most homes, but this is TEXAS and it gets hot.  It is essential in TEXAS!

Tray (obviously)
Raw Sugar
Knife (age appropriate - if your child is small, cut the lemons with them or have the lemons already cut)
Cutting Board
Measuring Cup (1/2 cup)
Small Juicer

Give verbal and visual instruction according to your child's developmental abilities.
Example: The Bug is 8 years old and has some experience in the kitchen.  She can work with a knife, but not independently.  I also only give her two or three step instructions and wait with her to complete them before giving her the next set of instructions.

1.  Clean your work surface.  Give child appropriate house cleaning materials.  The Bug is cleaning with vinegar and water solution.
Loving her choice of wardrobe on this particular day.

2.  Wash your hands.

3.  Listen to instruction from parent and then repeat instructions.

4.  Prepare Lemonade.  Cut lemons in half, if not already provided.
She loves when she is trusted with big responsibilities.  Look at that grin.

5.  Squeeze Lemons

6.  Pour Lemon juice into pitcher.

7.  Pour in desired sugar.  (Desired amount may differ from child to child . . .parental digression is advised. *wink*)

8.  Stir lemonade.

9.  Clean work space and put away ingredients.

10.  Enjoy lemonade sharing!

We are including at least 3 trays per week for the Bug.  Her older sister, The Squeaker, is 13 and enjoys preparing these activities with Mommy, so that helps a ton.  We are using these lessons to help our children connect with God and bring Him glory through work and learning to love the work they are called to by God.  Does she look joyful?  I think so.

What tray would you like to see next?  Leave some comments for upcoming posts.  Thanks!

The Joyful Socks Mom  

Where We Are At:
Homeschool on the Cheap!
Friday's Nature Table

P.S.  We have a HUGE little announcement coming up NEXT WEEK!  Be sure to subscribe to this blog via email so you won't miss the BIG small news! : )

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  1. I think a lemonaide tray is brilliant! My kids learned to make lemonaide young as we had a lemon tree! I tried to sign up to receive emails and was told your blog was not set up to send out emails. But I like you on facebook, so I'll keep updated.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and reminiscing over some lemonade. Thanks for the head's up on my feed BTW, it's fixed now . . . so feedburn, baby feedburn. LOL! Thanks for the Like and the encouraging comment.

  3. I love your philosophy on Natural Parenting.
    And the lemonade tray was a great idea. Would you ever use written instructions (maybe with picture prompts)?
    Although thinking about it, I do like the idea of giving verbal instructions which they have to listen to.

  4. Oh yes, I'll try everything once or twice! Written instructions would certainly work well with the Bug, who is a Reader/Writer styled learner. I would probably use the written method with something other than a "knife" activity, though. :)
    I think it is good to help a child and cater to their natural learning style, but to keep her working toward excellence, I am trying to get her learning with verbal and visual instruction too. The world will not "cater" to her as Mommy does . . . one day. Thanks for coming by!

  5. Thank you for linking up to Homeschooling on the Cheap! last week! Your post was my #3 most visited link from last week! Congrats! The new linky is live so feel free to stop over and link up more ideas! You can link up as many as you want.

    Thanks, Kelli

  6. Thanks Kelli! I hopped over for your linky this week. Thanks for hosting for the CHEAP homeschool mommas like me! : )


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