Nature School last week was a true adventure--thank goodness for our one big huge snowfall of the season that gifted us with such an exciting week.
It seems like the kids taught us adults so much this past week, sharing their wisdom and knowledge of the world and of nature... We learned (from a child!) about the 'subnivean layer' under the snow, where small animals can live and tunnel during the winter. We all partook in an interesting discussion about the insulating nature of snow, realizing that our Tipi all covered in snow was keeping us warm--and that this was similar to how animals can also be insulated by snow in their dens and burrows. Some of the kids remembered that this fellow here, in the picture, below, was feeling toasty when he was buried on the field. Snow is a really interesting mystery, we decided!
Our fun began on the field, and we had to work hard to convince the kids that it would be even way more fun (if such a thing was possible) to play in the forest than on the field. It was a long trek to the back of the school, to the forest and thankfully we had a fresh (heavy!) propane tank to haul that weighed down one of our sleds, and helped make a path. Those little legs had a lot of work to do tromping through the snow!
On Wednesday we didn't stray far from the Tipi. There was snow to shovel off of the walls, paths to tromp out, and with our morning walk taking longer than usual, our time just flew. It wasn't until Friday that any children ventured down the path away from the Tipi, and by then the snow had compressed a bit to make for easier walking.
The first adventurers post snow-mageddon.
Shovelling out our long-time ice-slide to find that the ice was still there, just buried under a whole whack of snow.
Hungry, hungry hippos. Many conversation with the kids about how your body needs lots of food in the winter, which it uses up like fuel to help keep you warm. Well-fed, warmly dressed kids makes Nature School fun!
Our ice art survived the snow storm, and it was exciting to pop them out and hang on a tree.
We were proud of the wolf cubs and all the work they did this week, pulling sleds, bonding over the shared experience of being together about the big snowstorm. Nothing like a little forest adventure in the elements to help you feel brave, proud and strong!
The kids know that if they can walk across the field in good time, they'll have a few minutes before pick-up to play on the giant snow pile by the parking lot! I hope you enjoyed reading about our snowy week at Nature School
Nature Explorers (K-4)
The big kids enjoyed a day of sledding at the Rec Centre. While we usually stick to our forested spots, this weather was too good to pass up for tobogganing. Our gang of 13 handled themselves so well, trekking up and whizzing down, dealing with snow in their faces and down their necks and everything that comes with a good old day of sledding
We had a short and sweet group time for snack and tea, where we talked a bit about what to do if you find yourself lost in the woods. Despite lots of interesting and creative ideas from the kids, the most important one we came up with is--stop where you are! Try not to panic, a feeling which will pass. Find a tree to stick close and call out for help. I rounded up a few volunteers to try an 'experiment,' where a blindfolded child was asked to try and walk in a straight line towards a shovel propped up a little ways away. It was clear that after a few meters the tendency was to veer off course (and over a longer distance people's tendency is to walk in big circles). Lesson learned--try not to get lost!
Thanks for reading!
We hope you'll join us for the March 9 Campfire Event at Morris Garden Centre. Come spend a fun evening with friends around a warm fire. Songs, campfire games and storytelling start at 5:00. Food will be available for sale courtesy of the Peppered Pig (barbecue). All ages are welcome and admission is by donation per family. A collaboration of Morris Flowers and the Creston Kids Outside Society!
A magical week all around. We say that a lot, but this little crew of Nature Schoolers is melding, meshing, finding their favourite spots and bringing out more enthusiasm each week....my heart wants to burst just thinking about it.
On Wednesday, sliding and more sliding, and enjoying a book called 'The Listening Walk,' a sweet story that promotes just the kind of attitude we like to encourage...curiosity, awareness of the sounds around you, long meandering walks, and finding joy in the small things around you!
There is a wiggly jiggly tree bough that is fast becoming the 'next best play-thing,' in the forest. The kids hang on while the branch bends down to the ground, enjoying their 'thrilling' little ride! Small thrills are oh-so important for small bodies with big energy!
I think the snow chair gets more comfy each week, and no one is getting stuck in it anymore! It's certainly a high demand piece of furniture at our base camp. I missed Wednesday, but I hear there was a great excavation of a snow pile to create a three-way tunnel!
More small thrills, combined with some serious imagination! Once I joined the branch, we were 'three little witches, sitting in a tree...one fell off, and had to pee! Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, 'no more witches sitting in a tree!' I love how the song evolved and how we were sitting on a 'broom' together in the middle of the forest--those two little ones had done some serious bushwhacking, challenging themselves to use their 'moose legs' to step high over the brush.
Thankfully, a little snowfall mid-week turned our slide back to winter colours....!
The kids created some ice art on Friday, adding berries and bits of green forest-y things to make something beautiful. Soon we'll be back to pop them out of their pans and hang up for decorations. Not all of the kids opted for crafts, though. Some kept sliding and playing, which is fine by us. Crafts are always invitational, and often provide a child with a few minutes of quiet hand-work time if they need a break from high-energy play.
On Thursday last week, the Nature Explorers (K-4) enjoyed a change of pace by meeting at Canyon Park. A playground, of all things (if you read our blogs you know we usually stay in the forest!) provided endless entertainment, silliness, falling and teamwork.
I was so proud of this gang. It was our coldest day yet, and the kids managed to start our fire from a flint and steel spark, creating a toasty fire that yielded popcorn for our snack. Thanks for sticking with it, guys--your practice is paying off. Here they are examining some different types of dry tinder, and choosing only the best for their fire nests, in which to tuck their pieces of char cloth...
Until next week!
Hello! Some of the Winter Nature School children have become so comfortable just lounging in trees, finding special spots to return to over and over. This was a tree near the Tipi that I'd never seen anyone climb, and it looked very comfortable up there!
That stick--one end has 'fire' and one end has 'water.'
Melissa was telling the kids about coconuts, and how she visited a place where she could pick them, and drink the coconut water. The kids were astounded! This was a super relaxed few minutes of hanging around these logs, chatting and checking out some spots we hadn't played in recently. It's amazing how even small changes in the forest from day to day, weather to weather, can 'reinvent' an area for play/exploration. Some new animal tracks, ice on a log that wasn't there, a puddle that appears, branches broken along the trail...
Many 'camp out' spots were discovered this week, underneath tree boughs.
At Nature Explorers last week, our older children (K-4) have totally taken ownership of this shelter they have built, going nuts with rope and a tarp to add covering to their sticks. This picture actually shows a meeting of the tipi-makers with the 'pirates,' who had been busy taking ownership of a giant upturned tree root, complete with a plank and roasting spit.
We engaged in an inquiry-based activity about animal tracks, practicing making our own tracks and noticing how they changed based on our movements. Then we were off following tracks around the forest, and making notes and pictures. The goal for these eager-active explorers was to generate questions about the tracks, express curiosity and get excited about the mystery that animal tracks present!
Until next week....!