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More Than Meets The Nose

What critter gets a bad rap because of its robust odour? Yes, it’s skunk! A beautiful, boldly marked, furry creature of our woodlands spaces. We all know to watch out for skunk, but is there more than meets the nose when it comes to skunk?

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 flow with ‘take a knee’ learning, where owl eyes and ears are engaged. This is when facts come out or stories are told to guide a new discovery. See what you can find out about skunks by offering some guiding questions…

*Is there more than one species of skunk (striped, hooded, spotted, hog-nosed)

*how do skunks dig up juicy grubs or plants? (with their noses)

*Where do they live and what does their house look like (5 entrances, 3 nests)

*What do skunks like to eat? (berries, flowers, bees/honey, bugs, slugs, mice, flowers, eggs… and PIZZA)

Let’s get 4 BIG words that will certainly impress and may lead to some treats!

ONE COOKIE WORD - What are dead things that some animals eat? (carrion)

TWO COOKIE WORD - What do you call the type of diet a skunk eats (omnivore)

THREE COOKIE WORD - What do you call a dawn and dusk feeder - sounds like ‘muscular’ - CREPUSCULAR

WOW BROWNIE WORD - What is the word that tells about skunks winter sleep pattern (sleep-wake and snack-sleep) - TORPOR

Baby skunks have some disadvantages when they are first born. Check in to get a description of newborn kits, ask how many are born each year and how long they hang with mom? Let your child’s journal guide you along the waddling trail of skunk.

We are expanding our knowledge about what animals here might be doing in winter. See if you can find out who is ‘awake’ and who tends to ‘sleep’ through winter. Thanks Dragonfly for a frolicking scavenger bingo. To Be Continued!

There is nothing that gets the blood pumping like following tracks to see where they might lead. This brings so many questions; where are they heading, with who, what happened at this spot by the broken branch, is this scat? Get ready for a wonder-filled opportunity after this storm blows through. Take a walk on a pristine white canvas and notice the busy life of animals while we are indoors. Exhilarating!

Once again library was a fully sensory experience. We used our imaginations to guess the animal from signs they left behind. See if you can get a retell of both the animals and signs in the story, In The Snow, Who’s Been Here’. This is one book in an amazing series by Lindsay Barrett-Georgy. These stories are a fantastic way to build observation and critical questioning skills. Of course, Mrs. Eastman just has to do something extraordinary! Today our noses were challenged with some interesting scents. What were some of them? Enjoy your skunk booklet, Mrs. Eastman especially recommends the ‘scat’ page. We appreciate you putting all this together to connect with our learning today!

What about the inside story of the tree. This connects with our sap to syrup journey. See if you can gather some of the names and what job each part of the tree does. Making a human tree was a really fun way to lock in those big names for each part. A fun family game?

The toboggan hill was hard packed and wicked fast, which led to races, rolling, and all manners of creative ways to streamline for speed. Enjoy the exuberance of this ‘wander time’ in our day.

So nice to visit the mill and sit down on our squishy squares for some singing. As promised two song sheets will come home next week for serenading family and friends. Here is a link to a real beauty we will be working on in the coming weeks.

Make nature journals a special quiet time activity at home. Listen to both the information and other tidbits that are part of the stickers, stamps or glued in pictures. See if your child wants to quiz you about their new knowledge. Keep then on track with important vocabulary such as habitat, diet, survival strategies, and family life. We love to place animals into a timeline throughout the year so children see the pattern to life and continuation of species. Ultimately we want children to understand that all things are connected.

From morning mad dash math to just plain quiet journal reflection, this is a HUGE day of learning.

We missed Tamarack today and will enjoy having her back next week. It was wonderful to have Dragonfly for the whole day! Be safe and enjoy the snow headed our way. Happy tracks until next week Forest Friends:)


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