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Landon’s Zoo

by Maureen Slamer

“Nana, I’m bored. There is nothing to do here!” Landon exclaimed. 

Nana looked puzzled. “ Looks like we have a problem. I wonder what you could do?” Landon slumped on the couch. Nana waited and waited.

“Hey, I got another box of those magnetic tiles. What about opening that up?” Nana said. “They’re in the closet.”

Landon walked to the closet. “Whoa! What are in these crates?” Behind the box of tiles sat two large plastic tubs. 

“I found them in the storeroom. They were your Mom’s and Aunt Rah’s. It’s their Beanie Baby collection. I forgot we had them down there.” 

“Can I play with them?” Landon asked.

“Sure,” Nana replied as she walked to the kitchen to start dinner.

Landon pulled the crates and the box of tiles from the closet. He knelt quietly digging through the animals. Man, there are a bunch! Mom and Aunt Rah must’ve had so much fun with these! Landon thought.

“Nana, I’m gonna make a zoo,” Landon said as he opened the box of tiles and began to sort through the shapes. 

“Great idea!” Nana yelled from the kitchen. “I knew you could figure it out.”

Landon worked for what seemed like hours. Occasionally, sounds of tiles crashing to the floor echoed into the kitchen. “Nana, come and look. I made a zoo!” Landon shouted. Nana came to the doorway and surveyed the construction site across the living room floor.

“Do you need signs for the animals like in our zoo? If so, there are crayons, paper, scissors and markers in the junk drawer.” Landon jumped up and raced into the kitchen. He pulled handfuls of crayons and paper and a pair of scissors from the drawer and raced off. Nana shut the junk drawer, shaking her head and thinking of the messy cleanup ahead of her. 

“Nana! I don’t know how to spell the animals’ names,” Landon yelled.

“Write what you hear,” Nana yelled back as she peeled potatoes. 

“But it doesn’t look like your writing, Nana.”

“Landon, that’s okay. You write like a seven-year-old.” 

“Okay, I guess.” Landon mumbled as he cut, colored and labeled. “Tape, Nana, I need tape.”

“Try the junk drawer. I think I have some in there.”

Landon yanked the junk drawer open. He pawed through the mess. “Got it! Come and see.”

Nana finished the meatloaf and put the pan in the oven. “Coming!” Nana walked into the living room. Landon stood proudly in the middle of the zoo.

“Nana! Let me show you. Here is the buffalo. Next is the hedgehog…” Landon continued on, moving from one pen to another. 

Nana smiled, “What if I take pictures and send them to your mom and Aunt Rah?”

“Yeah, can you tell them I made a zoo and did the signs by myself?”

“Absolutely! Let me get my phone.”

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Kids Need the Time and Opportunity to Write

There are multiple opportunities for our kiddos to write in a natural, purposeful way everyday. It may be something as simple as helping write the grocery list, writing a fridge reminder note, or making labels for what they have created while playing.

Simple materials are all they need. Paper, crayons, water markers (they don’t bleed through), color pencils, tape, and if old enough, safety scissors. A drawer, basket, or simple inexpensive art cart in the corner allows kids easy access.

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