After one of New Canaan’s many snowstorms last winter, next-door neighbors and fast friends Courtney Flynn and Jennifer Moore—teachers by training and profession—plowed a path between their homes, then scooped pots of snow and hauled them inside and up to Moore’s bathtub for their combined children (five altogether, each four years old or younger) to play with in a unique way. The pair armed the kids with spray bottles of food coloring and “they just went nuts,” Moore recalled on a recent morning from a corner room downstairs at the United Methodist Church, a box of baby wipes surrounded by rubber bands, marbles and dowels on the table in front of her, graduated cylinders and beakers on a shelf against the wall. “Coloring the snow and mixing the colors and seeing what happens when they mixed the colors or how they could get the color to go away or to melt the snow,” Moore continued. “They were playing, and that’s all about states of matter—solid, liquid, gas—the snow was melting and then the color was changing. So they [the kids] liked that, and then we just started doing little things outside.”
Those little things—hands-on and offering new ways to experience and understand the everyday—ranged from the basics (dropping rocks to test gravity) to more sophisticated (planting seeds, digging for worms).