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the Giving Tree

Updated: Dec 7, 2023


Celebrating this season of giving is so intuitive for kids. They chimed in immediately when we asked what this time of year is really all about. Giving, and time with family, were the top chirps. All heads nodded when the importance of having family all together was mentioned; “when dad can be home from work, when mom is able to relax more, when we eat all together and it’s special”. Your kids seem to love how time stretches and yawns in this season of caring. Our world can be too fast for young children. Give them a whole afternoon and a cardboard box, just watch what happens once their mind slows down and they settle in.

It was easy to think of ways to celebrate ‘giving’ at the farm. We started out with some jolly time with our 12 Trees of Christmas game. Each tree had a fun task. What were some of the tasks? Now, can you name all the trees of Christmas (or some of them)?. Thanks to Cricket who brought big candy canes for everyone for the finale. YUM!




When you reached into a mystery bag, what was in it?


Decorating a tree over the holidays can be a highlight for families. We talked about the kinds of materials that most decorations are made of like plastic, glass, metal or foam which all stay in the environment and can be harmful once they are thrown away. Our mission was to gather natural materials that we could make or add to beautify a holiday tree. Ask about what we collected and crafted. A few highlights were…

nest bird feeder with soya bean treats

giant purple vetch wreath

clay faces

snowy white pine cones

clay pots with wild weedy arrangements




It was an amazing flowy wander time in Christmas Forest with sun breaking through the trees. Kids were on hands and knees searching for materials to add and create.

Squirrel was looking for something bendy to shape into a wreath. Not tall grass, nor golden rod or sticks. He finally landed on pulling up purple vetch to twist into the perfect thick wreath. You have to love experiential learning which grows the skill of perseverance through the process of elimination.

Hunger brought us back around the campfire for lunch and some more culinary creations in the mud kitchen. Lots of muddy pans to rinse!


Santa’s elves were ready for projects in the workshop. We can’t specifically mention who made what, as the kids swore us to secrecy hoping to surprise family members with these treasures. The Saplings craft involved using tools to create and the Seedlings got busy painting. Hope you enjoy these keepsakes as much as your children enjoyed making them. Another example of when giving brings as much happiness as receiving.

Our final act of kindness was making treats for the horses. What were all those smelly and gloppy ingredients? What spice was added to make this so nice? Those ponies will be feasting on Christmas morning while you’re still in pj’s.


Blue Spruce is adorned with all the handmade decorations and found nature materials that sparked our creative eye. It looks lovely and will greet all passers by.


2023 has been filled to the brim with learning, human drama, connection with animals, new skills and journeying beyond imagined limits. Your child added one bead for each moment they hope to tell you about on their story lace. Take some time to cuddle up and walk through each bead, asking for their story and expressions of gratitude. Make this happen when your hands and minds are free to ask questions for a fuller picture of nature school fall 2023.


We love your children! Cricket has made strong connections, especially with our younger ones who can turn to her for extra help; BIG Raccoon has been a consistent, quiet and caring presence, who fits in every part of our day; Osprey added her music and craft talents; Daisy is back again bringing all the joy and teacher skills with her; Dragonfly supported our newest children in getting settled. Together we hope we offered your child a gift for their future. Like Albert Einstein said; Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. We see that wonder grows outdoors. It’s their portal to the wider world. Let's keep it open!

Happy Christmas and New Year to all. CNS families, feel invited to come out for a walk on the trail over the holidays. Just text (519-852-1842) before you come, and we would be happy for your child to take you on a tour of the main trail loop. See you in 2024 Forest Friends:)







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