Finally a real winter cold snap and outdoor learners are paying attention. Layers become part of the conversation with neck tube talk, double mitten secrets shared, even chatter about the UNDERlayers. Being outdoors most of the day is a new experience for many. Perseverance and self responsibility are tested by cold weather, deep snow, and those sticky zippers. Kids learn to check in on how they are feeling before frozen fingers become painful, and even extend their concern to others in the group. Extra mittens get shared and the team spirit carries us through the day. Sometimes the smallest feet trek through the biggest snow drifts!
Morning fun was an archeological dig for bones of local mammals. Check in about what was found today. We also extended our bird feeder activity to include more elements. See if your child can recall the things they were searching for and how they faired in this survival activity. (water, seeds, sticks). Who was the predator today?
Even horses feel frisky in the cold! Our little Percy is moving to his new home this week. Jester and friends wanted our lunch!
Birds continue to be our interest. On the menu today was finding word clues that describe something a bird does as part of its life cycle. We can’t just learn the names of birds, but must connect with them through the details of how they live. See how many of the nine bird behaviours your child can share with you. Ask for a little roleplay to demonstrate this word. Can they connect to some real-world experience?
Scavenger hunts involve finding things but we added another skill we are working on, reading maps. Here is a picture of the map around the farm. Check in about the places where clues were found and see if they can pinpoint clues using cardinal direction words and place names.
Our first cold weather campfire was beautiful but we needed time in the Curiousity Cabin to finish and warm up. Today we had some interesting nests and feathers out. See if you can get a story about using the mini-microscopes to look closely, what did they see? What were these nests made of and how was one different? (made entirely of horse hair strands picked from their tails)
We try to keep recording in our journals fun and accessible with lots of pictures and just the right amount of detail. See what behaviours your child chose to record and check in on what they can tell you or model for you about those behaviour. Walk through the bird behaviour words list and ask your child if they can identify all nine BIG words and demonstrate through actions or words what this means.
Often we encourage naming and noticing what's around us outside. This leaves us with knowledge but not necessarily connection. Think of a continuum of learning about nature; knowing - appreciating - caring - protecting. We are moving these children along on this journey with the vision that they will become the stewards of the natural world in the future.
We have a white-tailed deer carcass that flowed down the waterway during the flood. Have a wider conversation about this event on the farm. Where did this animal come from? What has happened to it? What might happen next? How is this part of the wider cycle of life?
Back to our journals! Share the excitement of your child’s accomplishment and think about ways to suggest they add to it. Finding facts through research, trying an experiment or including more detail in pictures and/or words will keep your child excited about this important learning tool. Use open ended questions to get more chatter on topics in their nature journal….how do you know?, why do you think?, or tell me about?
The hayloft has had a few renovations. Get the low-down on what changes were made and some of the fun things happening in this space. Chickadee found some older hen eggs and made her own nest complete with pigeon feathers. Lots of discovery happens high up in the barn.
We were a happy team today and all wish for the snow to stay so toboggans can be part of the fun next time. Here’s hoping your child will entertain you on your next winter walk with some interesting revelations about how birds behave around the feeder or in the woods. Happy trails until next week Forest Friends:)