With the apple tree in full bloom, the sun shining down, and the breezes blowing, outside was a glorious place to be. There was a lot of running, hauling, digging, mixing, insect hunting, bouncing, biking, and imagining.Mondays artists learned about Henri Matisse, particularly his later years when he was too ill to paint and began to observe the natural world around him, imagine, plan, create, cut, and position painted paper shapes. We were introduced to drawing with scissors in the story by the same title. We then went off to create our own cut out art, which were titled “LOVE,” “HIKING WITH MOM AND OUR DOG,” “FLOWER FIELD,” “PAINT,” “THE OCEAN,” “TANGLED UP SEAWEED,” “FROGGY ON A LILY PAD CATCHING FLIES,” “SQUARES,” “THE MARIANA TRENCH,” and “BIG FLOWERS AND LITTLE FLOWERS.” Can you identify them?The art table was busy while the remainder of the children finished up their puffy animals. They are all so wonderful, and we are excited to display them from the trees on the last day! We also re-introduced self-portraits and the children began working carefully on their images of themselves. It is always so fun to match the beginning of the year with the end of year self-portraits.Rehearsals for the end of year performance continued. We practice a couple of songs during each group time to keep it from being too overwhelming, but next week will begin full scale practices outside where we will (weather permitting) perform.We pulled out the ribbons and did some ribbon dancing on Tuesday.On Wednesday we read a book sent in by the Armstrong family about Memorial Day and discussed how it honors those in the military who died in service. We discussed what some Memorial Day traditions might be, including parades, spending time with families, and having barbecues or picnics. Children who have family members who serve or did serve in the military shared who they knew and which branch of the military they served in (if they knew). The Armstrongs also sent in some fun USA themed puzzles which the children loved coloring.We read about frogs and toads, and learned about the differences. We read that frogs have long back legs for hopping and swimming, while toads have short legs. We read that frogs have smooth, wet skin, while toads have bumpy drier skin. We read that male frogs make long, loud sounds, while toads have quieter, shorter calls. We also read that frogs lay eggs in clumps, while toads lay eggs in strands. We continue to watch our wood frog tadpoles, which are getting bigger every day. We are hoping to have tadpoles with legs before school is out!We celebrated a fifth birthday on Thursday. The birthday girl passed out red and blue frosted cupcakes before taking the globe for her trips around the sun. She told us that she was born in the spring in the month of May five years ago, then quickly orbited the candle while we named the seasons and counted her years. We all laughed when the globe dropped on the table, pushing the candle, which blew out the flame. We then re-lit it so she could blow it out herself after singing Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday, Birthday girl!!We had a small group on Friday, so we pulled out the instruments. We were excited to try two new instruments donated for the yard sale that we pulled out – a steel drum and large gourd thumb piano. We also pulled out the big drum. The children took turns choosing and playing the instruments, then we learned about sound waves when we put felt balls on the big drum. We tapped it lightly and the balls bounced. When we played it harder they went flying up in the air. The children had a LOT of fun doing that over and over and over and over . . .