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We had such a wonderful time at our Free Class and loved meeting everyone who was able to attend. Our group met at Side Cut Metropark in a shelter house along the Maumee River where we learned about one another, talked about animals, walked to a "natural playground," enjoyed warm oatmeal, and played dress up with a "stick man."
The sun was shining brightly as our group gathered, the children picked out their names on cards and each card also had an animal printed on the back of it. We spent some time getting to know one another, learning each others' names, and discussing the animals pictured on everyone's card; "Does your animal like the cold? How can you tell?" After warming up to one another we sang and danced to "All You Need is Love," by the Beatles to warm up our bodies and prepare us for the day. After a trip to the restrooms we hiked down the river trail to a "natural playground" created by large, fallen trees. While the kids climbed, played, and worked together, Sherri, our director, noted that the children would only climb to where they were comfortable. It was a real vision to see our Forest Friends explore their own limitations while also offering help to their new friends; "Do you need help?" "Let me help you up here too!"
After we played we hiked back to our shelter house and indulged in warm oatmeal and mix-ins (dried figs, craisins, brown sugar, and almond milk). With warm hearts and hands, our group sat down to learn about dressing properly for cooler temperatures using a man made from sticks. Sherri guided the children and helped them learn new terms like, base layer, and discussed the importance of staying dry when it gets cold outside. The better you are prepared for the cold the more fun you can have in it!
It was a great day meeting new friends and exploring new playgrounds. We can't wait to see our new Forest Friends again soon!