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Our sweet Forest Friends met at Oak Openings for the first time this week and it was beautiful! We sang songs and warmed up with dancing before we ventured on a walk around Mallard Lake to our shelter house to build a fire. As we walked we discussed ice safety: holding hands with an adult if you wanted to walk along the rocky edge of Lake, lowering your center of gravity to the ground to explore the ice and learn from it. The small dam and bridge provided us with incredible nature art in the form of ice formations. The children had a wonderful time watching the water pool over the dam and see the power of winter as it froze water in a moment of time. With the help of a volunteer father, the children made snowballs from the dusting of snow, and threw them onto the ice watching how they skated across and listening to the sound they made,
At the shelter house the adventurers helped make a fire by placing paper balls into the flames and finding sticks to help keep the fire going while we left to explore new territories at Oak Openings. The group made their way to an iced over stream and explored drawing in a thin layer of snow on the ice with sticks. Many pretended to be making maps, drew pictures, or just melted into their own mind space while watching their marks on the ice. Other children were captured by the sound the ice made when we hit it; practiced balance by walking on the ice; and explored the beauty of physics while experimenting with how the ice broke. Sherri led the group to an open field where the explorers had free range to play. Many wanted to run/race in the open space, others started using their imagination to pretend different scenarios, while others explored the different landscapes found in a field: ice covered with snow with holes to break, grass mounds. It was so fun to watch the children explore not only the sights and textures of the land but the sounds as well. They explored how their voices carried in the echo of the open field through shrieks and shouts; something that they are not allowed to do in a home or a school setting, but at Forest Time Kindergarten they loved the ability to let out their voices!
Moving into a bit of woods Sherri directed the children and parents to for their own sit spots. Parents were encouraged to try and find their own spot to sit while we let the children use the time as a group. Sherri advised that everyone should try to encourage sit spots for not only their children but also for themselves everyday. It is recommended that you sit for as many minutes as you are old and in today's hectic world it can help us take time to mediate and reflect on our feelings, attitudes, and possible anxiety, and refocus our energy. Most of the children seemed to take the time to climb a tree rather than sit still and that was perfectly fine. They used to time to work together as a team to conquer the tree. When they were reunited with their parents the children proudly showed their parents their conquered feat and even a Forest Dad climbed the tree as well!
A trek back to the shelter was next for a warm up by the fire and a hot snack of cooked carrots and potatoes and tea. With warm bellies and recharged batteries the children then set to work using hammer and nails on a board of wood. We were so grateful for our volunteer Forest Dad and Granddad who helped our tiny handy-people experience this activity. Using tools with adult supervision provided our Forest Friends with a feeling of capability and confidence; it helped them with hand eye coordination/fine motor skills; and listening skills as they knew that their Forest Guide would help them learn the proper way to use the tools and help keep them safe.
After some free time playing by the shelter we walked all the way around Mallard Lake to the incredible playground at Oak Openings. We all had fun playing together as the sun began to shine down and warm up the day. The play time at the play structure was fun and helped to bring our Forest Friends closer into a Forest Family.
A special thank you goes out to our Forest Dad, Granddad, and Grandma! They were special visitors for one of our Forest Friends and they were so helpful and supportive in all they did! It was wonderful to meet them! Looking forward to our new adventures this week, stay tuned!