Kids have a general sense of wonderment and Joe and I plan on supporting Liliana's natural sense of wonderment as she grows older, but we also want to give her a chance to experience the world at her pace and we know we need to include a lot of self-exploration.
Once she's old enough, I'll start zoo visits with her. We have 5 zoos near us (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Central Park and NJ Zoo) and I'd love to visit all of them and probably the Central Park Zoo a little more regularly.
You'll notice on the right-hand side, there is a link to Liliana's animal book wishlist. We'll start exploring different animals and include lots of different activities - read about the animals, go visit the animals at the zoo, do an art activity including the animal (think finger paint a paper plate red for the start of a ladybug and read The Grouchy Ladybug until we can do more complicated activities) and watch the animal on a webcam or see it in nature, if we can. I'm sure we'll think of other activities. This will help us integrate some science, writing/drawing and art in with literacy activities. It, hopefully, will also provide a good platform for continuing to ask questions and self-directed exploration for her. There will be some structure, but not overly so.
I'll keep a chronicle of our animal learning adventures in a scrapbook and am trying to decide if it should be a scrapbook or more of a book for her to read as she gets older. If it's a book, it'll be "I went to the zoo and what did I see?" - then the following line would be, I saw a zebra looking back at me! Insert appropriate animal, of course. We'll see!
Joe also has some literacy goals. He LOVES fantasy and science fiction books and he definitely wants to share that with Liliana. We started looking at fantasy and fairy tales last night to read. I am far behind Joe, so we ordered some fantasy books to start reading. I'll start with The Neverending Story and Joe is going to start with Artemis Fowl. The goal with this kind of reading is to broaden her imagination and have some fun :) Wizard hats, wands, magic school, dragon cookies, that kind of thing!
On that note, we found a great website for strong women in fairy tales and will start curating a list of books to share with Liliana.