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Move, Awake, Sleep or Croak

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Right now animals are busy preparing for the colder weather. Some are making travel plans, others stocking up, but for many it’s the end of their life cycle with the next gen left

behind. What are the BIG words to describe the different ways animals approach winter? (migration, hibernation, torpor, adaptation)

How do you even begin to teach children about ALL this amazing diversity? Well, you can take on animal forms and start thinking like they would. Were you the predator (fox) or the prey (rabbit) in our hunt? With a 15 minute head start the prey left signs just like animals leave traces. Chalk trail blazes and pegs were used to guide the predators. What signs do animals leave that allow predators to find their hiding spots? Acorn wondered why our human senses wouldn’t lead us. Why wouldn’t they? Even with Rosie along, we still needed these markers. What did it feel like to be a predator or the hunted prey? Describe the route both animal groups took to their hilly home spot. Next week we promised a switch so all will get to experience being the hunter and the hunted.

Now’s the time to make our human lean-to shelter ready to withstand the elements. We rolled the Purple Vetch up and twined it together into a rope. It was fun carrying this long snake of grass from the crop field, along the sneaky trail to our shelter. What did we do with it? Do you think we would stay dry in a rainstorm?

Dragonfly prepared a great scavenger hunt including animals we would find right here at the farm. Which colour cards were you looking for? Each partner team had five animals to find. What were yours? The animals shared something in common in terms of what they do in winter. Can you remember what winter tactic your animals uses? What about the other groups?

HINT: look at the blog title.

We needed a fire today to practice another outdoor skill, making Bannock. Do you remember the ingredients in this campfire bread? How did we prepare it and get it to stick on the stick:). Cinnamon-sugar and butter added a taste of YUM! Ask your child what they thought of our first attempt at making Bannock. Thanks to Rose and Blue Jay for helping light the fire and keep it burning using some dry tinder (goldenrod).

Our story “The Poet’s Dog’ continued in the hayloft. All found a cozy, soft spot to enjoy the next chapter. See if you can get a retell of chapter 2 of our story told by Teddy the dog.

We know that some animals have a sleep/wake cycle during winter. Skunk, chipmunk, and squirrel do something called 'torpor' in winter which means they find or make a warm spot, protected from the elements to doze and get up when they feel hungry. Sort of like raiding the kitchen fridge for a midnight snack. Our group made a perfect torpor spot near their tree friend. Ask your child what they added to make this spot. Did they get some help? Now we can spend reflection time in comfort outdoors!

Taking care of the birds who stay in cold weather will be our priority here at Stoneridge. We used our left over pumpkins to make bird feeders. How did we do this?

Horses also need to get ready for winter. What three things did we learn about to make sure our ponies stay warm and healthy? (worming, blanketing, extra food). What goes into making horse porridge? (peas, oats, corn, hay cubes, water - special toppings, carrots & apples). Ask about the smelly worming medicine and how we give it. Do you know how BIG a horse winter coat is!!!

We love the changing seasons as they are filled with opportunities to grow our appreciation for the ingenuity of nature. Kids can learn from animals to be adapters; to be flexible to new situations, find solutions to problems at school, persevere through adversity, or even manage stress in difficult times. Today your child was a learner, leader and listener, brilliantly coping with a wet, cold day, making it down right fun!

We absolutely couldn’t have done without BIG Raccoon who fetched forgotten backpacks and so much more (we figure he took about 20,0000 steps), and Cricket for helping keep everyone feel secure, and Dragonfly with her many great ideas to teach appreciation for the critters all around us. A big coyote howl to our Forest Friends for making this a GREAT day!


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