Friday, December 16, 2016

Gifts for the Forest

following deer tracks
This forest day was very cold. We stayed indoors for a while to make gifts for the forest. With pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed everyone made a bird feeder. The children made plans for their time outside. They have now worked up to the whole planning page which includes the weather and what they plan to do. On the way into the forest we found and followed deer tracks. We played Coyote and Mice heading across the fields. Once in the forest everyone went to sit spots for a few minutes. We had a quick meeting at our sitting logs, weather report, and got up to move to get warm. After bear-obics, the children headed off to play. After free play we gathered in the field for a group game in which everyone had to migrate, snack and nap, turn into a frog-sicle, or become fluffier, all with movements showing a method animals use to survive winter. We all put our bird feeders at our sit spots. We hope birds and other animals will enjoy the gift. We spent only about an hour outdoors due to the cold weather, and most everyone did great preparing and keeping warm out there. Later indoors they journaled about their day and started drawing animals and tracks in a big forest day book we work on together.
a planning page 
making a bird feeder
making bird feeders and completing plans
making bird feeders
reading nature books before going outside
looking closely at the deer tracks
one friend showing another a different set of tracks
playing Coyote and Mice
a comfy sit spot
Weather Report:
The temperature at 10:40 is 18º F.
The weather is colder and snowy.
giving the weather report
hanging  a bird feeder
keeping warm by moving as some play on the rock wall as others set off into the field
migrating, what geese do for winter
snacking which is followed by napping, a chipmunk's adaptation for winter
frog-sicles, showing how frogs hibernate to survive winter
fluffing up to keep warm
a journal page

Saturday, December 10, 2016


The forest classroom before the children visited today was snow-covered, quiet, and peaceful.
Once the children came it was track-covered, both quiet and loud, and full of fun.
The children planned before their morning in the snowy forest by writing and drawing about the weather and what they would wear to be prepared. Once outside we had sit spots, morning meeting, the weather report, retold the fire story, and had playtime. During play time some children chose to help collect sticks, build the fire, and prepare snack. Others played in the snow, jumped out of trees, or followed tracks in the field. We shared a snack of cheddar apple quesadillas around the fire and shared ideas about the morning. Later in the day indoors with a book, slideshow, and sorting game, we learned how animals survive winter: by migrating, hibernating, or adapting in different ways. The children ended their day by journaling about their morning in the forest.

Entering the forest classroom, well-outfitted for the weather:

Weather Report:
The temperature at 9:36 is 28 º F.
The weather is no wind, it's sunny.

Sit spots:

A little play before the business of morning meeting:
Getting a fire going to keep us warm and cook a tasty snack:
Collecting and preparing sticks for the fire:

Following animal tracks in the field:

We followed one set of animal tracks and found several more sets of tracks. We wondered why so many animals came to one area....
When we found water near all the tracks, we thought we solved the mystery.
Maybe all the animals came here to drink the water, we thought. They all left their tracks behind.
After playing and filling in the water puddle with snow and slush, the children decided to clean it back out so the water would be good for the animals again.
Playing Blast Off from a tree:
More tracks:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Friends, Fun, and Food in the Forest

After a night of rain and wind, we were lucky this forest day to have a beautiful, mostly dry, sunny, blue-sky morning. We began with noticing water all around as the stream was flowing fast and loud, the ground was squishy wet, the field had grassy puddles, there was one chunk of leftover snow, and clouds hung over the hills. We had sit spots where some children drew pictures, others built, and some sat and observed while enjoying the sun and quiet. We got back together for morning meeting and a weather report. At play time some children helped build a fire and make a snack. After a playtime full of imaginative games, building, dancing, and creating, we enjoyed a special snack of freshly-made-on-the-fire quesadillas and brought-from-home cupcakes for a friend's birthday! We listened to Becky's fun story about how a frog survives winter. In the story the frog meets a goose, fox, chipmunk, and bear and tries out the ways they get through winter, but in the end finds his own way. After the story the children each drew an animal and what it does for winter. We ended our morning in the forest talking about the day with lots of good stories about playing with friends, sharing yummy food, and making the fire. Later in the day we learned how much a bear eats before winter and journaled about the morning.
morning greeting with the sun shining in through the trees
Weather report:
The temperature at 9:40 is 44 º F.
The weather is blue sky, some clouds, with sun.
building the fire
forest quesadillas
a birthday treat
listening to a story about how Frog survives winter
drawing animals in winter
making a trap 
playing freeze dance
making a fairy house
fairy house with a table inside
talking about what they found
creating nature ornaments
killing a dragon (dead tree) 
muddy hands 
sharing about the morning before heading inside