Hi there FAL Families, it’s Andrea here. November beauty is surrounding our senses with fresh, crisp, smells and clearer sight lines due to shedding leaves. The little buggies have burrowed deeper into the wood and earth and our waterways are swollen and singing their strong, wet songs.
These natural gifts entice the children to want to feel closer to each other and engage with their whole bodies into the fray of play into the woods. We’ve made real tracks visiting numerous natural play spaces and the kids are getting much stronger and better at organizing their belongings, regulating body temperature independently and generally feeling pretty cruisy for whatever trekking adventure may unfold.
The biggest adventure yet was having Graham from the District come guide our youngsters into forest restoration. One morning group planted 25 small trees, shrubs and plants. His appreciation for all things that start small and grow into big strong, healthy specimens of unique beauty and potential was so ……grounding…….and uplifting – just like roots and branches! Thank you so very much for this very tactile activity! The children felt a real sense of purpose and importance and are very proud of themselves.
They worked up an appetite so a well-deserved alfresco (of course!) snack break was in order.
A cozy book about a connection to a favorite tree, and the art and sharing of that art lead beautifully into a wonderfully artistic afternoon. Children decided what feeling they wanted to share through the creation and sharing of an individual or small group art installation using whatever nature provided in addition to some jute rope. WOW! We were blown away at how they plunged into it and they were so beautiful and intensely thought out!
One boy created two rock piles and found a stick that was just the perfect thickness and length for balancing over-top as a bridge. He described this balance as a way that makes him feel happy inside. We described the feeling of happiness, relaxed focus and health as the colour green and considered a thumbs up gesture as a way to think of it further. Other boys created two piles of varying stone size and used jute to loosely set a curving boundary around it. They too found a stick to rest on the piles. Each boy found a different sized piece of bark and used it as either a car or big truck to move along the stick and dive off the end. Their smiles while they described and demonstrated their art were beaming. They too choose the emotion we described as green and gave the thumbs up.
Another art piece was that of a ground nest. A small divot was made then pine needles were swirled around delicately. She worked so contentedly and found the project peaceful so called it a green feeling too.
The other group worked on a big project. They considered their feelings and decided on green as way to encompass all those happy feelings flowing through them. Jute rope was wound between two smaller trees, then large and small boughs were woven up into a green wall. After standing back to consider it some more, they decided to add a large stone where one could sit to let the green feeling wash over them. Thank you children for these works of art!
We also enjoyed some fun new forest games and adventures. Using bandanas as tails children were predator and prey as the goal was to snag the tail of someone else – that is, if you could catch them first! This was great to get our jiggles out, play as a large group and explore safe and fun contact with friends. After this good warm up activity we were ready to hide treasure and make maps for our friends. We zipped here and there, finding “Old Mother Stump”, “Big Rock” or “Log Pile” to make intricate routes. The children enjoyed creating the symbols on the maps and of course the hunt with booty at the end!
Along similar lines, we played a game of tracking. One group hung back while another dragged a stick over the forest floor with the idea of creating a means to track us to our hideout. A wolf call indicated we were ready and they were on the hunt. It’s very fun to sit very still in the forest all snuggled up together!
The big picture this past month was one of flexibility, communication and great gear! Thank you for bringing your little ones in layers and waterproofs from head to toe, healthy snacks and cups for warming tea. The weather is switching and as long as we stay warm and dry we say: “IT’S ON!”.
See ya outside soon everyone!