Is nature still exciting for kids these days?? The last two days at Stoneridge farm with a wonder-filled group of children big and small proves they are! From gently brushing pony tails, warming mitts around a stone fire pit, climbing trees and finding seeds in cones, recognizing the unique shape of the oak leaf, spying an owl's nest, or collecting sap, we rocked with positive energy and just SO MANY questions. Even a steady rain couldn’t deter the energy of this group!
What might this be?
A BIG part of the learning in new experiences is sharing stories, so pull up a chair and chat.
Ask your child about how we flow at Coyote Nature School. What call brings us running to Coyote (howl to run together as a pack)? What does the Jay Jay call mean (look at this it’s cool)? What do we do when crow calls (freeze….danger)? How do we make a chickadee circle? What happens when we are asked to make deer trail for travel? The language of nature fills our days giving us animal examples to follow.
We love maps! What does the map of Stoneridge Farm look like? We follow the trail along Crayfish Creek finding out about what animals do in winter. See if you can find out what animals are asleep, awake, moving, or have ‘croaked’ over this season. At nature school we love to encourage keen observer skills by seeking and finding things that move our eyes to new places.
The deer carcass deserves a whole story on its own. How did this come to land beside our little waterway. We decided to dig into the crusty snow to find more of this skelton. What can your child tell you about what we found? Today, the place around the carcass had changed as the snow melted and our creek turned into a river. What did we find today (lower jaw)?
Campfires are amazing to get us warmed up and dry out wet gear. We had lots of offers to help build the fire and light it. The place we had our fire is called Pine Haven. I’m sure you will here stories of the swinging hammock, tunnel, and tree climbing here.
The heritage barn houses five horses. What are their names (Libby, Gus, Sable, Scarlet, Jester)? Upstairs in the hayloft we store hay and straw. What did your child do here? Ask about the care of the horses? What are the names of the brushes and why do we brush them? How about that manure! It takes work and dedication to take are of animals. What do we need to do to care for the horses?
Trees, like people, have their own name which shows how unique they are. What are some of the trees called at the farm and what might be special about them? In nature school we have our own tree friend which we visit throughout the seasons. This brings us to appreciate the beautiful life cycle of these earthly companions and their vital link for us.
Skunks are amazing critters. Ask your child to paint themselves with the striped skunk pattern and demonstrate their defensive strategies. See if you can play a game of predator sneak, you become the Great Horned Owl and they will protect themselves until the end, or spray, whichever come first. Have them count out the meter steps showing the distance skunks can hit the eyeballs of curious critters. What happens when they hit the target? We love learning through roleplay, becoming animals gives us the thrill of the chase, empathy for tough work to survive, and leads to caring for the natural world.
The hayloft is a magical place. Talk about play in the hay, constructing, and protecting!
Loose time can be the best experience for making new friends and challenging yourself.
We are so thankful to our fun, caring and nature motivated volunteers; Fawn, Mustang, Tamarack, Chickadee, and Raccoon. We couldn't do this without you!! Happy trails until we see you again Forest Friends:)