Friday, October 28, 2016


Today was the first cold Forest Day. Before going outdoors, the class spent time checking the weather, planning how to dress well, and getting ready to enjoy the outdoors while staying warm enough. After morning meeting the children checked the temperature, gave a weather report, and noticed that the water in our rain gauge had turned to ice. The children enjoyed the book Sky Tree, which shows a tree each season through a year. Soon they will similarly observe one area closely through the seasons as we begin sit spots. To practice this everyone sat together and observed quietly for a few minutes. For some it was a challenge, and for others it was easy and fun, and all did a great job. We will play games soon to choose our own special sit spots. 
The class looked at the weather prediction for Forest Day. We talked about the changes we've felt in the weather.
We talked about good clothes to wear. We planned and drew the weather and good clothes for it.
Everyone showed the weather and what they could wear to be prepared.
The rain gauge became an ice gauge.
Weather Report: 
The temperature at 9:25 is 32 º F. 
The weather is cloudy. There are 35 mm of ice in our rain gauge. It feels cold.
We framed in some places in the forest to begin finding ideas for good sit spots.
To keep warm we played moving and running games. After running to our biggest tree,
 we found out it measures 6 kindergarteners around!
Some children found "writing" on a dead tree and showed it to others and "read" the message. 
the "writing" on the tree 
The children sat still and quietly to observe for a few minutes. Soon they will each have their own sit spot.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Using All Our Senses

objects collected in the forest
This week we reviewed the animal senses we use in the forest. We put on our Owl Eyes, Deer Ears, Fox Noses, and Raccoon Hands to use on the walk to the forest classroom. At morning meeting everyone shared an observation from the walk. We checked the temperature and had a weather report, noticing how it was different than last week. We practiced a new way of walking quietly in the forest, Fox Walking, slowly and toe to heel as quietly as possible—a challenge in all the crunchy leaves. We practiced in the forest then the field, then with a coyote and mouse game where the mice followed the coyote quietly and only got caught if noisy and caught moving. After a busy, fun free-play time, we gathered and the children drew and wrote what they saw, heard, smelled, and touched in the forest. We will make it into a book. Next week we will read it to some special guests joining us in the forest for a book and senses scavenger hunt!

drawing and writing

some pages from our new book, Senses in the Forest
Weather Report: The temperature at 9:25 is 48 º F. 
The weather is a little bit cloudy, a little windy. It rained since last week 3 mm. 
fox walking
coyote and mice
With snack we heard the story "The Fox and the Drum" and made patterns to go along with the drumming in the story. Since we'd been working with patterns in math class, we brought it to the forest with patterns on our bodies, with voices, and with sticks on almost everything!
drumming patterns
dancing at play time
climbing with a friend
getting the zip line ready
zipping along
dragging through the leaves
working together on a trap

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Raccoon Hands

Why play outdoors?
These smiles are a reason!
Occasionally the questions arises: Why is it important that children play outdoors? There are so many answers, many of them well-researched. Today was one of those days where the children made many of the reasons evident during their free-play time. Observing them play in groups, pairs, and individually was a joy as they communicated, planned, tested their physical limits, and were fully engaged. They develop these and many more skills that serve them well outdoors and in other parts of their lives. The photos below show some of the reasons we make time for children to play outdoors. 
Children learn balance in nature.
Children exercise and gain strength.
Children plan ahead, as one brought a tool into the forest to use for this project today.
Children communicate with each other while planning a game.
Children test their limits and increase their physical stamina.
Children collaborate, as some made up a game and played it.
Children invent new ways to do things, as one made a jumprope.
Children build, redesign, and build again to make their plan come to life. 
Children find some space away from all the adults (just a little) to practice independence.
Children practice and learn all kinds of things we want them to—by their own choice.
Children observe the natural world. They ask questions.
Children find a happy place.
"In the end, we conserve only what we love."
                                           - Baba Dioum

We explored the sense of touch today with the help of "raccoon hands." We heard fiction and nonfiction books about raccoons and discussed how they use their hands and sense of touch. We found objects in the forest and described how they felt. We ran to touch things in the forest with different textures. We played a game to find someone with a matching object by feeling objects in bags. Later in the day we collected raccoon facts and wrote and drew about forest day.
These girls found a smooth tree. 
The children felt objects in bags to find their matches.
Here they are showing their matching objects and using a word to describe how they feel.
Weather report:
At 9:27 am the temperature is 54 º F. The weather is cloudy.

We also got to use our sense of touch with deer antlers, a skull, and a moose hide. Thank you to Neal for bringing these for us to see, touch, and discuss!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fox Nose

On the way through the fields into the forest, the children spotted so many spider webs!
At forest day kindergarten used their sense of smell and learned about foxes. They heard the story Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer about a young fox through a year of growing up. The book has many facts about foxes which the group discussed, including their good hearing and sense of smell. The kindergarteners used their human noses and then made fox noses to smell three plants and notice which was stronger. After a fun, busy free play time, we gathered back together for a scent-matching activity in the field, where each had to find a partner with the same scent in a small container. They did a great job matching smells and identifying them, too. Later in the day they journaled about what they did in the forest, heard a story called Fox, and collected fox facts.
This was one of many spider webs in the field
We looked very closely at spider webs and found different kinds of spiders.
"Look at this one!"
We had our first morning meeting in the forest, which we will continue to do each week now. It is similar to morning meeting in the classroom, with a greeting, sharing, activity, and message. What is different is that each week a child checks the temperature and gives a weather report to the class. Then the message we read together is about the weather. They did a great job at forest morning meeting!
The children greeted each other with an acorn pass and friendly, "Good morning," using each other's names.
Our activity all this week was a song and circle dance about falling leaves. It was even better to sing it in the forest as we watched leaves really falling to the ground. The children sang about different ways the leaves get to the ground, such as falling, floating, twisting, and flip-flopping.
Children checked the temperature and gave a weather report. We read the message together.
smelling plants first with human nose, then with "fox nose"

smelling scents to find a partner with the same scent in a container

At free play time the children test their strength with heavy objects.

They balance.
Children invite friends to play.
Children build together, make designs, plan, and try again.

Children swing and laugh.
Children run and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!