Discussing marshmallows with a four year old

Camper: Look, I made a marshmallow! It's really big.
Me: That is a pretty big marshmallow.
Camper: Yeah, it's as big as the Burj Khalifa.
Me: Wow. I bet you'd have to eat it in tiny little bites and not all at once, then.
Camper: No, I ate it like this [opens mouth as wide as possible]
Me: You'd have to be the biggest person in the world to eat like that.
Camper: I am.
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After singing a song that references swimming all day

Me: If we swam all day long, what would happen to our fingers and toes?
Camper 1: They would get all wrinkly!
Camper 2: They would look like prunes.
Camper 3: Or raisins.
Camper 4: Or dates!
They're nature's candy!
They're the fruit of the prophet!!!
Counselor: If we're drawing a picture of Nick, what do we put on his face?
Camper 1: Eyes!
Counselor: How many?
Camper 1: Two!
Camper 2: Three!
Counselor: Wait a minute, does he have three eyes?
Camper 3: Yes, he has an invisible magic one.
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oh my god I just remembered Mixed Numbers was a thing where people would do Numbers and Slide at the same time

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i bought some BUBBLE GUM


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Conversation with Jason, age 8

Jason: Hey, can I tell you a poem?
Me: Of course! I love poems!
Jason: Well...it's not really a poem, it's just a kind of a rhythm thing, but it's hilarious.
Me: Let's hear it.
Jason: There once was...um...there was an old man from Peru, who dreamed he was eating his shoes, he woke up in the...no...he woke up with a fright in the middle of the night, to see if his dream had come true!
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YMCA more like whYMCAre you so disorganized all the time

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I have succeeded in getting my camp group to name itself Team Rocket.

We’re making a giant rocket, glittery stars, a sun with shaving cream/food coloring/glue, and aliens for our classroom.  We’re reading all about the solar system.

Prepare for trouble, and make it double.

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Conversation with Dylan, age 4

Dylan: We can't stand in the doorway!
Me: Why's that?
Dylan: Because there's a monkey king there.
Me: A monkey king?
Dylan: Yeah, and he ate all the peaches.
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Ramona and Phoebe, both 4

Me: It's rest time, please lie down on your mats and listen to the music.
Phoebe: Snails don't like music.
Me: They don't?
Phoebe: No, they don't.
Ramona: It's because they're small and slow and they don't like the sounds.
Phoebe: Yeah, it makes them go crazy. And we don't like to go crazy. We're gonna curl up in our shells now.
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So my new coworker is sick

"My throat is so scratchy, what should I do?"  She asks me.  I tell her she should drink some tea.  She gives me a dirty look.  I explain that, even though it’s hot outside, tea is very helpful (also, we happened to be inside and in an air-conditioned room).  

She meanders around the room after I tell her, “Something hot or something cold.  Or Tylenol.”

"Do you think pretzels will help?"  She opens the snack cabinet.

Um…no.  No I don’t think pretzels will help.

The next day, she comes in and tells me, “My mom gave me tea the other day, I feel so much better now!”  

Now she’s all healthy again and ready to tell kids who look like boys that they can’t use pink crayons.

…tell me how she is allowed to work with children

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Luke, age 4, inside the Museum of Natural History

Luke: Rachel! I needa ask you something!
Me: Yeah?
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also it was wacky tacky day at camp and i got paid to wear purple skirt, orange tights, pipe cleaners on my glasses, and my shirt backwards.

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Princess Mateo

Once upon a time there was a camper named Mateo who sometimes says he’s a boy and sometimes says, “I’m not a little boy, I’m a girl!”  

Today, he got up in the middle of a game of Candy Land and went to the dress-up section.  He came to me with the only princess dress there and asked if I could help him put it on.  ”Of course!” I replied, as we tried together to figure out whether it was inside out (this was difficult since the puffy skirt had so many layers).  When he finally slid his arms through the lacey, flowery sleeves, one of the boys said, “You’re a princess!”

"Are you a princess, Mateo?"  I asked.  He nodded his head.  "Princess Mateo!"

I put a pretend crown on his head.  ”Why is he wearing that dress?” A girl asked me.  
"Because he wants to," I explained while I watched him playing with the toy dinosaurs, yellow crinoline piling around his knees.  

Soon, boys were taking turns clap-clapping around the classroom in plastic princess heels and sparkly dress-up skirts.  Later, I heard Mateo scrambling towards the dress-up shoes.  He almost got in a fight with a boy over a pair of plastic Cinderella slippers, but he was fine when he realized that there was a pair of Snow White shoes.

One girl went up to Princess Mateo and scolded, “You’re wearing a Belle dress and Belle is for girls!”  I had taught them that everything in our classroom - stories about princesses, trains, cars, baby dolls, even the androgynous little Duplo people - were for boys and girls and everybody.  So anyone who heard her admonishment said, “No, Belle is for everybody!”

My new co-counselor even whispered to me about Princess Mateo.  I told her that Mateo sometimes says he’s not a boy, but whatever, Mateo can be anything.  I don’t know why she cared so much.

But I hope that boys and girls and everybody everywhere can live happily ever after.

The End.

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