Mother Nature sure was up to some tricks this week, bringing very gusty winds which prevented us from going to the forest for safety reasons on Monday. By Wednesday, though, we were so very ready to to get back to the woods. Our student teacher, Nancy had never been to our forest and, what better way to show her around than to have a forest scavenger hunt!? We talked about the safety rules for the forest with her in the classroom and then we were off to the woods.
On the way to the forest, we noticed some really strange mushrooms. There were a whole bunch of them growing below some shrubs and they were all different sizes. We stopped to get a closer look at those before carrying on along our way.
After singing our goodmorning song, we broke into small groups just outside the forest and each group got a list of things we needed to try to find. We were very excited when, right away, we found a cloud in the sky and we could check our first item off of our list!
As we walked, we kept our eyes peeled, looking high and low for the items on our list which included birds, squirrels, rocks, tree roots, pine cones and bugs. The hunt made sure we were looking high and low, near and far and even under logs and rocks. We found a squirrel in a tree having a snack and we tried to get close but it was startled by our presence and made its way up the tree and out of sight.
With each item we found, we took turns placing an X or a check mark on the paper with a marker. We cheered each time one of our team mates found something and then proudly and excitedly shared our finds with our teachers and other friends.
As our scavenger hunt moved along, we came upon something that wasn’t on our list. Water! R stepped his foot into it just a little and we noticed that the leaves in the water sank and the water was little deeper than we thought. We talked about what it would feel like if the cold water went over and into our boots and decided it would not be a pleasant experience. We decided to measure how deep it was with a stick. P found a stick and we stuck it into the water. When we lifted it out, we could see how deep the water was by the mark it left on the stick. We took turns testing this out before moving along to look for animal tracks.
We came up empty handed in our search for animal tracks. Those and an acorn would be the only things on our whole list that we weren’t able to find though. Our hunt ended when we rediscovered the hollow log. Some of us hopped in, some of us hopped on and some of us poked our heads inside the end to see what what we could see. We had so much energy that we decided to go to the hill near the park that we love to play on so much!
At the hill, we rolled down, ran down and hid amongst the pines.
The sun was shining and we were soaking up every ray of it we could before heading back for lunch.
Friday, Mother Nature came back with an out of nowhere snow storm and a -23 windchill which not only kept us from the woods but kept our outdoor time shorter than we would like. We were sad to have to miss the forest for another day but hopeful that Monday will bring weather that allows us to safely explore in the woods together.
Monday morning was mild but there was still some snow lingering about from our first snowfall of the season a few days prior. This meant that the snow and everything else was very wet! We threw on our rain suits over our snow suits to avoid getting soaked and headed into the woods! Once we were there, we introduced Nancy to our site, showing her the boundaries and telling her how we stay safe in the forest. We also examined some animal tracks in the snow. There were quite a few. We wondered what had made them. Maybe the squirrels we have been seeing in the bare trees over head? Then, we set off to explore and to show her all of the activities we enjoy.
J & G got out hammocks and began tying them up. They set them out and prepared them to tie before having Chelsa and Nancy help to tie them. They enjoyed swinging for a little while before some of their friends came to join them. They let their friends have turns and also shared them with their friends. Before too long, there were children in each hammock. It was a little cozy but they didn’t seem to mind at all.
D, P, and M wanted to try to hang a rope swing. They struggled to get the rope over the branch as the three of them took turns gathering and throwing the rope. It wouldn’t go high enough, then it would go the wrong way altogether but they kept on trying, over and over again. J approached and offered to try and his first throw got the rope to land on top of the branch but it didn’t go over.
When they tried to figure out how to get it to go all the way over, they ended up pulling it back down the wrong way. This meant they had to start all over but they weren’t discouraged. They continued to take turns until they eventually lost interest and moved onto other activities. Later, R decided to try his hand at throwing the rope over the branch but, despite his many attempts, was unable to get it over. He wasn’t discouraged though and smiled every time he noticed that the rope just didn’t make it over. He did point out that it was hard to hold the rope with mittens on!
Some of our favourite climbing surfaces were covered with a slippery wet, icy layer of snow. We had talked about how this could be dangerous while climbing so we took extra care while crawling along our favourite fallen tree.
J, Z and G discovered something else they could do with this icy snow, however. Each of them had a stick and were hammering on the snow, watching as it chipped away, flying in different directions. They worked together, using the sticks as tools for quite a while, removing some of the snow. As they hammered harder, Z’ s branch broke, sending a piece of it flying. They looked at one another, surprised, before they all began hitting their sticks harder on the log. This brought on a conversation about safety and what could happen if pieces of their sticks start flying everywhere. They agreed that this could hurt themselves or others and returned to chipping the snow a little more carefully.
The shelter we had constructed together on our last visit was not in it’s best form when we returned on Monday. It needed a little TLC and J, C and M worked together to get the logs needed to fix their structure. With the help of Karen, they got it looking a little better and, this time, they added something new.
M wanted to make a “bat mobile” by attaching a handle or steering wheel on one of the shelter’s logs. He and Karen worked together to find the right stick for the job and then R gave them some twine he had so that they could use it to tie the stick on.
Our morning whizzed by and we very soggily made out way back through the slushy snowy weather for Mac & Cheese… Our favourite!