Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rosh Hashanah: The Buzz on Bees

Apples and honey seem to get all the attention this time of year, but where would we be without the help and hard work of bees? This is a great season to teach about the life-cycle of bees and how they are helpful to us in our environment. At home, my very favorite way to do that is through play and hands-on exploration. Here's a peek at what we're doing this week in between errands and cooking to prepare for the holiday that's less than a week away!

Our local library is always a great resource for books and materials about a particular learning topic. To supplement that, I often search the internet for free printable cards and activities I can use at home. I found some beautiful honey bee life cycle cards here and printed/laminated a set for my son to be able to see individual steps of the life cycle as well as to teach some of the vocabulary around it.
I use a metal ring for easy storage and transport

Just as easily, we can slip them off the ring and work on sequencing

He liked this activity so much he wanted to do it again and again!
My busy little bee has officially picked up on our homeschool morning routine. After breakfast he goes right over to the hook where his school bag is hanging asks to "go school!" That means he wants me to sing our little school song, help him unzip the bag and let him see what I slipped inside the night before! On Monday morning he was very excited to find a book about bees and this bumblebee finger puppet. I don't tend to read all of our non-fiction books word for word with him, but I do show photos and highlight certain words and ideas. Using markers, crayons, do-a-dots and colored pencils in black and yellow, he decorated a piece of poster board that I then cut/stapled into a hat and attached some pipecleaner antennae. It was time for him to become a bee! For some music and movement fun, I put on Rimsky-Korsokov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" in the background, handed him a large pair of tons (found at the Dollar Tree) and let him take off to capture and collect pieces of pollen (large pom poms). The tongs, although still somewhat challenging for my toddler, add an element of fine motor practice to the activity. He equally enjoyed just dancing around like a bee!
I have had quite a few conversations with other teachers lately about how we teach children about shapes. There are many great ways to give over formal lessons about structure, number of sides and corners, etc., and one of my very favorite ways is simply through exposure as related to other themes we are exploring. Here's how we are learning about hexagons with a hands-on activity related to bee hives!
I love using these dry erase folders I found at Target this summer for worksheets and other printed activities I wish to use more than once. I use them along with dry erase markers sometimes, but also with playdough and here, with popsicle sticks. It cuts down a lot on "waste" and allows us to revisit an activity multiple times and in multiple ways.

This website had some cute bee crafts. I have some old bubble-wrap lying around that we will be painting and making prints with for a variation on this one.

We are fortunate to be members at our local science museum that has an amazing exhibit on bees including an active hive and some great kid-friendly hands on materials. This provided a great field trip for us and a fabulous way to extend the theme. Even if we didn't have such a perfect opportunity nearby, I've been amazed this late in the season to still see bees busy at work when we're at the park or botanical gardens. This is a great time of year to spark a conversation when you're out and about. My son is really into discussing his fears lately and has frequently said "bees scary" when we are learning or when we see them in nature. I think it is so important to validate those feelings (rather than saying "no they're not!") and to share the ways in which they also can help us and how we can do our best to stay safe and help them, too. For that reason, when we are singing the ever popular song "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee," I alter the words a bit to eliminate parts that are scary to humans or bees for that matter. 
Here are a couple of other songs and finger-plays we like about bees:

You can add to the fun of these by making your own (or printing out) bumblebee finger-puppets, stick puppets or props to use or even recycling a winter glove and attaching a picture of a bee to each finger with glue or velcro. Hope you all keep busy as bees as you play, learn and prepare for Rosh Hashanah! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rosh Hashanah: [Almost] From Farm to Table Applesauce

Holidays are a great time to get your kids in the kitchen. Granted, holiday cooking can be time consuming in and of itself without extra sets of hands involved and little feet pitter-pattering around the kitchen, but sometimes I find that added quality time in the kitchen together eliminates some of the time spent dealing with mischief outside of the kitchen while you're trying to get things done and simultaneously pouring cumin into your cinnamon coffee cake by accident. There are a lot of wonderful classic dishes to be enjoyed for Rosh Hashanah, from honey cake to round raisin challahs, tzimmes and more. Here's a look at how we took our lessons on apples [almost] from the farm to the table with

Homemade Applesauce:


  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

One of my favorite childhood memories is of apple-picking with my family before Rosh Hashanah. We took a trip to a local produce shop on a very rainy morning to pick out some different types of apples for taste-testing and cooking!
We came home with six types of apple to try!

  1. Once you've peeled, cored and diced your apples, place them in a saucepan. Add water, sugar (you could do with less, especially if you are using sweeter apples), and cinnamon. 
  2. Turn heat on to low, cover pot and simmer about 20 minutes until apples are tender.
  3. Mash by hand using a fork or potato masher or use an immersion blender if you wish. You could also puree in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
Journals are a great way to document science and math activities. Here we used a simple sticker chart of our taste test. 

After our taste test (cameo appearance on the paper plate in the background!) I peeled the remainder of each apple and cut some large chunks my son could practice cutting with my help. We are really in the "me do it" phase, so when I can I try to oblige. After he'd had an opportunity to work with this, I quickly diced the remaining chunks and got out his next favorite kitchen gadget--the step-stool! 
Before turning the heat on the stove, I invited my sous chef to help pour our ingredients into the pot. 

Once everything was in, it was time to climb down and turn on the heat. We busied ourselves with other activities while we waited for the apples to cook. It smelled AMAZING!

I used an immersion blender once the apples were cooled a bit. My toddler did try the applesauce but at the end requested his usually container of cinnamon applesauce from the pantry! You can't win 'em all... My husband and I loved it and we will offer additional opportunities for our little one to try it again!.

Want to do more? My son is loving this book we borrowed from our local library, told from the perspective of another little boy helping his grandmother and mother make applesauce from scratch. It's another market-to-table adventure!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Rosh Hashanah Theme: Preschool Journal Prompts

Here's a glimpse into how we've used our preschool journal to incorporate the Rosh Hashanah theme. My son is enjoying using his journal more independently and leading many entries with his own ideas and expression. Sometimes, I sit with him and we use it together. It continues to be a great tool to practice fine-motor skills, pre-writing, building language and vocabulary and even developing mathematical skills through charting and counting (as you will see below).

Happy writing and recording!

We've talked and explored through books and actual fruit how apples come in a variety of colors. Here I would provide crayons, markers or colored pencils in yellow, red, and green. An older child may be able to match the color to the associated apple. Younger journal writers may have fun exploring the writing medium and coloring with shades of all three colors.

Journals are a great place to store cute songs, poems and action rhymes related to themes we explore. Along with stickers I might also provide crayons or something to color with. As an extension, you can count how many apples are "up in the tree" or "below on the ground" or "all together." This is a great way to incorporate mathematical concepts into journaling together.

As a theme-related field trip, we visited a local produce shop to pick out a variety of different apples to taste and compare. This is a great activity to talk about the senses of sight and taste (among others, of course!) and we will use color coded stickers to make a very basic chart of which ones we each try. At the end we will pick a favorite. Older children could chart based upon their favorites, or which ones taste sweet, sour, are crunchy or soft, etc. We will definitely end up with more apples than mouths to eat them all at once. The remainder, along with some baking apples bought especially for the purpose will be used to make homemade applesauce together. If you do not plan to cook or immediately use leftovers, you may want to invite some additional tasters for this activity or reduce the number of varieties tried!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rosh Hashanah Theme: Arts & Crafts

I often cover our work space with an old tablecloth or shower curtain. For some added process art and exploration today, I covered the area with a strip of white craft paper. This will be reserved and re-used for some additional Rosh Hashanah art work and collages.
There are so many great art and craft projects for children and their families to make for Rosh Hashanah. Between decorations, honey jars, greeting cards, shofars, placemats, activities to keep little ones busy in shul and more, the opportunities to get creative are endless! I try to include a bit of process art in along with the more "cookie-cutter" style projects. I also try to stretch each project to the fullest of its potential to limit excess and waste. Here's a peek at the cute, decorative greeting we made today using a recycled paper shopping bag and apple stamping:
We started the activity with one of my favorite science explorations--looking at the inside of an apple from two viewpoints--horizontally cut (across width of the apple--which reveals a star shape) and vertically cut (from stem down, which reveals traditional view of the core and seeds). We talked about the parts of the apple and how both views compared and contrasted. You could, of course, enjoy a snack from here, but we reserved these apples for some artwork instead...

Prior to our apple printing, I prepped our signs with "baskets" constructed from a recycled brown paper shopping bag. The basket is cut from the center of the bag and the handles made from the actual paper bag handles. Both were glued on with school glue and left to dry.

We had fun experimenting with apple stamping done in red, yellow and green paint. It was exciting to see how the prints differed from both cuts of apple. When you look very carefully, you can even see the star shape in the print of the apple cut in half width-wise!

Additional uses for recycled process art: last year we did some apple "marble" painting and cut out several apple shapes from the results. We used some to create a collage Rosh Hashanah greeting and laminated some others for activities like this one--a Ten Apples Up On Top story extension!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rosh Hashanah Theme: Sensory Play

We've recently done our first homeschool theme transition here! Anytime I switch a theme, I do a little bit of playroom revamping as well. I very rarely completely move stuff around or swap out all the toys and materials for a variety of reasons. One reason is that my son, at two, is growing more and more independent and not knowing where things are or where they go can lead to frustration or anxiety. Another is that he also knows what he likes, and likes what he knows (don't we all?) so having all of the toys and books he was enjoying suddenly moved to another room or space would be disorienting. On the other side of the coin, doing toy and book rotations on a regular basis keeps us from having to have everything out at once in our small space and also adds an element of novelty to something that we already have but may not have played with in a while.
With Rosh Hashanah coming in just weeks, this felt like a good time to transition into that theme--and one of my favorite components of teaching/learning about Rosh Hashanah is exploring apples. For the sake of this theme, rather than posting our learning activities day by day, I hope to put together some posts on different areas of play and learning. This one will focus on sensory play with a couple of homemade ideas you can incorporate into some of your own apple or autumn or Rosh Hashanah themed fun.
Happy homemade and hands-on playing!

Autumn Apples Sensory Bin
I've seen several variations of this floating across the internet this year and done a similar sensory bin for a preschool classroom that I called "Parts of an Apple I Spy." That one used dried lentils as the main filler and then toy apples, pipe cleaner "stems," black bean "seeds," and artificial leaves. I included magnifying glasses for the sensory play detectives to use and it was a huge hit. Here, I used dried oats as our main filler and added some small scoops, dishes and cinnamon sticks to the mix along with the toy apples and artificial leaves. I love that the cinnamon sticks give it such a delightful smell, adding more senses into the play experience! Most items here were purchased at some point at the dollar store, and like all of my sensory play items, I try to only purchase things I can use in more than one venue. Some prefer not to use food items for sensory play as it can be wasteful in a sense. I know there are some moms/teachers who will give these oats a second life as a cookie or breakfast, ensuring that their little sensory explorers carefully wash their hands prior to playing. I will likely set these aside for repeated sensory play use as I do with all of my dry ingredients, storing them between uses in a sealed ziplock bag. One obvious benefit to using items that are edible in sensory play is that your material is also taste-safe for those who may be inclined to explore them orally. As an alternative to oats or other food items, you could also shred recycled paper as a filler.

"Apple Pie" Playdough
Apple Pie Playdough in its "natural" state
I revisited my favorite standard playdough recipe here as a base, opting out of adding any color at this point. I added a decent sized teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, though you could use cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and any other components of that traditional apple pie aroma that you have on hand. I love to introduce homemade playdough in its most minimal state at first and allow the opportunity for little hands to dictate what type of play happens with it. My son will naturally gravitate toward adding tools and small toys.
He is really into this playdough press right now! 

We added red food coloring to this portion of the dough, mixing it inside a ziplock bag to prevent staining our hands. He told me he is making "Shabbos cake!"

Invitation to Play: Parts of An Apple Playdough Provocation 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shabbat Theme & My Five Senses: Part 4

As the next installment to our Five Senses of Shabbos theme, we explored our sense of touch and introduced the concept of different textures. So much of a toddler's experience is sensory-laden. Each and every day, my son is exposed to a variety of textures and tactile experiences. Having the formal opportunity to develop language and vocabulary around it was wonderful, and we had a lot of fun doing it!

Happy Hands-on Playing!
I never thought I'd have an educational opportunity to use Pat the Bunny or any of the other companion books that forever seem to make it into homes in gift bags after a baby arrives, but what do you know? They are a great tool for teaching about different textures (and other senses for that matter). "The bunny is soft!" my son shouted proudly after learning the word for the texture. 

Caught red-handed responding to his journal prompt at Table Time.
Shaping challah dough was initially the activity I had planned for the sense of touch, but since I am not baking this week, I decided to incorporate some different textures into our associated Shabbat craft activity--decorating a challah board. He had fun sanding the wood with the scratchy sandpaper block. I felt the block would be easier for his hands than a sheet of sandpaper at this point.

The sponge was initially intended for the upcoming painting part of the project, but he enjoyed using it to dust off the wood shavings and noticing its crinkly, squishy, somewhat scratchy texture.

And here it is again being used for painting.

He loved exploring the different designs it made by dabbing versus stroking it across the board. Once dry, we will add some stickers and a layer of Mod Podge before letting his very own challah board grace our Shabbos table.

And since we didn't make real challah, we still got the smooshy and squishy dough experience with some playdough!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Table Time Tuesdays: Journaling with Preschoolers

Journaling with preschoolers is a wonderful and increasingly popular activity. Even young pre-writers can engage with a variety of journaling activities and benefit greatly. This is one activity I am using more and more at our Table Time set ups in the mornings here. Additionally, journals are a great take-along activity when you are traveling or might have to wait at an appointment. Journals can be used with even young children in a variety of ways, and the benefits are multifaceted. Here are just a few:

  • Little ones inherently have an interest in our grown up things--how many times does your toddler walk away with your pens and pencils or grab your day planner? Here's a chance to give them grown up things of their very own without worrying you may not be able to read who that meeting is with next Wednesday. 
    he got a hold of my pen, I gave him his journal to go with it
  • For pre-writers, journaling can provide opportunities to practice fine-motor skills associated with holding writing utensils, practicing strokes and lines and even the skill of turning those pages.
  • For beginning-writers, they are a great way to practice letters, spacing, and the many skills associated with developing penmanship.
  • Journals can be used to respond to prompts or used in a child-led fashion. Creative story telling and picture describing can develop abstract thought and imagination. It is amazing from a teacher's perspective to see how and when children develop the understanding of how dictation works in describing their artistic responses to prompts or even their own creative ideas. Even my two-year-old is dabbling with dictation (although clearly in the preliminary stages)!
  • I've had success with using journals in the classroom with processing conflict resolution or strong emotions. A child, for instance, who struggles at clean-up time to let go of his hard work in the block area can be given extra time prior to that transition to draw and dictate about what he built.
  • Journals can meet the individual where she is at. Some children may come into a classroom already recognizing and writing their names while others are still mastering the skill of holding a writing utensil. Journals provide a discrete and personal location to practice and master these skills at a comfortable pace. More than once I've seen a "reluctant writer" sit with his journal and a name tag to practice and practice until he has mastered the skill of writing his name for the very first (second, third and forty-ninth) time!
  • They are an instant keepsake! Children and adults alike love to look back on old entries and see their progress as well as reminisce about activities they enjoyed. Journals can capture family vacations, holiday fun, self portraits, first attempts at poetry and more.
  • Art and writing are obvious skills that can be developed with journaling. Journals can also be a great tool for math activities, teaching about colors, shapes, letters, sight words and more. Pinterest is choc full of ideas and prompts for even the very young. I plan to share some of our journal activities here as well.

We brought our journal along on many summer excursions. Here we used it on a color scavenger hunt at our local Botanical Gardens to dictate/record what we saw in each color. I carried as well a pencil case with colored pencils-this was one of my son's first attempts with a pencil and had a lot of fun doodling and testing out lines and strokes with the new material.

While I directly teach about letters in English and Hebrew in our homeschooling, I often end up introducing colors and shapes more through exposure than formal lessons. Here I am introducing the color red and the shape of a circle along with a variety of mediums in the shape/color to see how my son will respond. Oftentimes I find journals to be an amazing assessment tool as well--with minimal instruction and adult-intervention, you can truly see and meet a child where he is at.

A peek at his "finished product." With older children, you might encourage "tracing" the circle with the red circle stickers and coloring in the circle with red, etc. My main "goal" here is exposure to shapes and colors in order to build recognition and vocabulary around it.

This was a favorite as we talked about the Five Senses and the sense of touch!

Although you can add a great deal to the basics, all you really need to start a journal with your child is a blank (even recycled) notebook and any writing/drawing/coloring materials you have on hand. Here's a brief list of general suggestions when it comes to journaling with preschoolers:

  • Keep journals and if possible, a selection of materials to use with them at child-reach so they can be accessed independently.
  • Never force a child to use their journal. If a child is reluctant, come back to it later. Many times, just leaving it where it can be seen and accessed is enough to draw their interest. In the case of children who are more reluctant or hesitant to begin, do not underestimate the power of seeing you, the adult try it out. Yes, journals are a wonderful tool for grown-ups as well!
  • Take it with you! Got a family vacation or an expected wait an an appointment or restaurant? Pack your journals and a pencil pouch with some writing utensils. Instant entertainment!
  • Pens, pencils, crayons, markers and colored pencils would be the obvious materials to use with a journal. Some less traditional additions are ink/stamps, paper/glue for collage, stickers, magazine cut outs, photos, or recycled greeting cards.
Happy writing, drawing, dictating and recording and as always, happy playing!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Make it at Home Monday: Shabbat Story River Rocks

I've seen some beautifully handcrafted river rocks used in preschool and homeschool settings lately. Many times they are used with handwritten letters as an alphabet manipulative or for emerging readers to practice sight-words and even spelling their own names. I've seen gorgeously painted pictures of weather-themed graphics for use at Calendar Time/Circle Time. I've seen amazing graphics done as well in this fashion for use with story telling activities. I have horrible penmanship and am not particularly artistically inclined either, so after seeing a photo of a beautiful set of story river rocks done entirely with stickers, I felt a sense of relief and inspiration. I found small river rocks for sale at our local Dollar Tree in the floral department. There are larger options available at craft stores that would better accommodate larger graphics and/or smaller hands. Our Dollar Tree also had a collection of brightly colored alphabet stickers that I used for a set of alphabet river rocks (not pictured). When I recently purchased a pack of small Shabbat themed stickers, I had an idea--they would be perfect for creating Shabbat Story River Rocks, a great addition to our Shabbat theme this week or to any Shabbos afternoon! You could, of course, make story rocks related to any number of themes using or creating your own small stickers/graphics. Here's how:

Make it at Home: Shabbat Story River Rocks
You will need:

  • river rocks in the size/shade of your choice--I purchased mine at the Dollar Tree and they are on the smaller end and in a variety of shades, light and dar
  • accordingly sized stickers/graphics--if you are printing your own graphics, consider printing onto sticker paper to save the effort of gluing
  • Mod Podge or similar product to seal (I used the goopy stuff you paint on and a small foam paint brush--you can also get spray versions if you have a well ventilated work space available)
Place your sticker on its rock, making sure to smooth it as carefully as possible over bumpy surfaces so that no edges are coming up. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over top. For best results, you may wish to coat the entire rock with a seal. Allow to dry before using for story-telling and play. 
I've used story rocks in a group setting to have children make up their own story about Shabbat. They can be used individually or as a family in this manner as well. They can also be used to sequence events of Shabbos--what do we do first, next, last? Additionally you can play games like "I spy" or "What's Missing?" using the a few or all of the rocks (for more advanced players) to guess which picture you might be thinking of or which one is missing from the collection. 

Happy playing and story-telling!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Funday Friday: Favorite Stories in Action, A Playful Story Stretcher

It's Funday Friday here. Generally speaking, that's the one day a week (other than weekends) that we come downstairs still in our pajamas in the morning. I still do homeschool activities, but our pace is a bit more playful and child-led as we get ready for Shabbos in the evening. Acting out favorite children's books is one of my favorite story stretching activities. I've mentioned the book, Is It Shabbos Yet? by Ellen Emerman before and it truly is a favorite among many children, particularly the one living in this house! The story is told from Friday morning when a little girl, Malkie, wakes up already asking if it's Shabbos yet. Her mother responds to this question throughout the day with "not yet," and invites her little one to help her with all of the many Shabbos preparations.
I've done activities with preschool classes to re-write children's names into the story and have them act out the steps to getting ready for Shabbos. As much as we adults can find the chores of cleaning, shopping, cooking and preparing for Shabbos to be daunting and sometimes even overwhelming, children inherently LOVE to help adults with these tasks and there are many ways in which even the youngest of hands can help. My son is no exception to this rule. He loves to clean and help in the kitchen. He doesn't always love actual shopping trips, but he does love to pretend about them in his toy kitchen area. We have a variety of plush, plastic and real Shabbos artifacts that he can play with and pretend with to act out the rituals of lighting candles, making kiddush, setting the table and having a Shabbos meal. He asks for Shabbos with the same eagerness as Malkie does (only usually beginning on Sunday morning and not Friday!), and so today when he brought me Is It Shabbos Yet? to be read aloud for the umpteenth time this week alone, I decided we would make a playacting activity of it.
Although we've done this activity before (we even did a Pesach version last spring), he was so excited to do it again today. Here's a few shots of the fun--wishing you all happy playing, acting, story telling and a wonderful weekend ahead!

Helping to clean for Shabbos! 

Shopping for Shabbos--adding a large recycled paper bag added a whole new element of excitement to playing in his kitchen set today!

Playdough Challah Station: when I am baking fresh challah, he's always the first in line to help, but for weeks I am not baking, playdough is a wonderful way to play about it. (Please forgive the purple color!)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Shabbat Theme & My Five Senses: Part 3

Besomim (spice) box for Havdalah
Today we explored the sense of smell and, although it technically marks the separation between Shabbos and the rest of the week, Havdalah. The Havdalah rituals help us to say goodbye to the sweetness of Shabbos while welcoming a wonderful week ahead. Special blessings are made over wine/grape juice, a lit candle with at least two wicks (also to symbolize the separation between the holy [Shabbos] and the mundane [weekdays]), and besomim (sweet spices to awaken the senses and bring us joyfully into the coming week). Besomim is commonly comprised of cloves, cinnamon or other pleasant smelling spices. It can be simply used right from its spice box or decoratively displayed in handcrafted containers that are often works of art in and of themselves. As part of our Shabbos theme and exploration of our five senses, I felt making his own besomim box would be the perfect way to use our noses today and to create something very special my son can use at Havdalah, which now with the sun setting a bit earlier, he may even get to stay awake for soon!
Havdalah can be made only when there are three stars visible in the sky, at nightfall. This is the time that Shabbos officially ends and the rest of the week begins. We used star-shaped stickers to decorate the box and help us remember this as well as some smiley face stickers to help us remember that we should enter the week ahead with the same joyfulness that the Shabbos brings each week.

We began today's lesson with another great non-fiction find from the children's section of our local library all about the sense of smelling. I find books like these--with clear photographs and very simple/minimal language--are naturally interactive for even the smallest readers/listeners. They also encourage vocabulary development. We took the lesson over to the table to test out our own sniffers and some favorites from our spice shelf and natural medicine collection. My son loved smelling some of our favorite kitchen spices and extracts as well as some familiar essential oils. 

Next, I introduced our activity tray with a dish filled with cloves and some cinnamon sticks ready to go into his soon-to-be-decorated besomim box. I arranged it as a practice in transferring skills, providing a small measuring spoon for scooping, a small bowl to transfer from and the box to transfer into. I did not give specific instructions, but rather let him lead and show me what worked best for him. He did naturally pick up the larger cinnamon sticks and put them into the box and he also immediately took an interest in using the spoon to scoop and transfer. 
"Smells yummy!"

When it became a bit challenging to scoop the little cloves up and pour, he began using a helper hand to place them into the spoon, testing out picking them up and placing them right in the box and even tested out pouring.

He had so much fun with the transferring aspect of this activity alone that I set up a Montessori-style transfer tray with two dishes, another portion of whole cloves, and a small spoon for scooping. This kept him happy and busy for quite some time! I love when an activity unexpectedly holds his interest and inspires further exploration. One benefit to being in a homeschool environment is the ability to linger in these moments and not have to "finish" a project in a timely manner. 

Happy playing, learning and lingering when interest is sparked!