You can learn a lot sitting at a desk, but learning outdoors, especially in winter, tests resilience, stretches attention skills, and wakes up your brain. Your child may come home and tell you about the excitement of searching for signs while hunting prey, or share the scratchy feeling of holding a Woolly Bear caterpillar in their hands. Creating a sense of wonder and excitement about new topics helps kids lock in new facts and make connections to the wide web of life.
Skill testing question: What are four Ontario animals who hibernate right here at the farm? Which one did you ask questions about to reveal who they were?
Our replay of predator hunting was both exhilarating and a bit scary. Start by asking whether your child was a predator or the prey today. What signs are left by animals that may lead a fox to a rabbit supper. They should have several ideas about this along with some sneaky strategies animals lower on the food chain might use to trick any stalkers.
Our critter today was the tiny hibernator, Woolly Bear caterpillar. It’s life cycle is super interesting! Ask these guiding questions to help your child consolidate new facts…
*What does WB start out as (egg)? How many are there? (100)
*What are WB 's favourite food sources? (dandelion/goldenrod)
*What happens to WB over the winter? (hibernates) In the spring? (weaves a cocoon)
*Surprise! When WB emerges from their cocoon, what are they? (Isabella Tiger Moth)
If you find a Woolly Bear on your journeys you can overwinter them and watch this process. Find out how to care for your critter at https://www.cambridgebutterfly.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/woolly_bear_brochure.pdf
Caring responses to children who need to make it through difficult moments and teaching about self-care like eating snack even if your not that hungry, or keeping mittens on to stay ahead of the cold, are important lessons and will help your child become more resilient and independent. We are so proud of our younger children who are developing these skills at nature school.
We loved adding the full life cycle of Woolly Bear to our journals. Today we had a mini-lesson in the use of proper case in titles, labeling pictures and adding point form details. Everyone gets a chance to work at their own level. What animal did your child add to their habitat picture?
Our first big snowfall got us doing some fun activities around the farm. Enjoy the stories of these happenings throughout our day. Ask about what we do to make sure the animals have water even when it freezing outside. Does Jester really like to eat snowballs?
We got planning for our final day of fall session next week. Our dreams are lofty! Dragonfly, Cricket, Raccoon and Coyote are already excited about celebrating the season for the kids and animals at Stoneridge. We send along a wish for everyone to feel better and meet us back here at Stoneridge next week for another happy adventure.