Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Outside Day - March

This month we headed to a park that was new for many of our families.  The park is close to my home and I walk through it everyday.  I like this park for several reasons; it’s close to my home, it’s great for letting my dog socialize with other dogs, it has a meadow, creek and forest.  And the forest has some wonderful big, old trees.
This tree was the inspiration for this month’s Outside day.  To me it looks really old, so old that maybe a Leprechaun might live there.  That's why we held it on St. Patrick's Day.
A couple of weeks ago I asked my husband to design a door for an opening in the base of the tree.  I painted it and added an Irish prayer on the inside of the door.  All set for today.

But we didn’t start our morning at the Leprechaun Tree.  No we did a few activities before getting there.
We are a drop in program and families are welcome to arrive at any time so I created a map of the park so they could find their way around to all the activities.  This is our second purposeful use of maps this year.  The children are very interested.  I'll have to think of how to build on that interest.  But back to our activities.
The first activity was to find a walking stick and decorate it.  They used markers, strung beads on wire and tied ribbon on to add colour.

When the sticks were ready we headed out of the woods to the meadow where there was a StoryWalk® ready.  I’ll post about that soon.
Since it is St. Patrick’s Day we searched for gold.  The first we found was in the creek.
We had to walk through ooey-gooey mud then cross a small wobbly bridge to get there.
But it was worth it to see the excitement as the children found the treasures in the water.
Many of the gold rocks went right in their pockets, while others were gripped tightly in their hands.
With gold in hand we followed the path around the meadow till we came to a trail that I call “The Leprechaun Tree Trail”.  There are several big trees with high roots and crevices that things may be hidden in. 
Since it wasn’t raining today and we wouldn’t be finding a rainbow I suggested we look around every tree and hole that maybe we would find some gold.
The children were really enthusiastic in their looking.  Sticking their heads into the holes and looking around the trees.
Until one of them found a ‘can’.  When he pulled it out we saw that it was a gold pot.  “Maybe for treasure”, one suggested. 
The next big tree was the Leprechaun Tree.  When the children walked around it they saw the door and quickly opened it.  Inside they found a bottle of clear liquid.  We put it with the gold pot and checked around the tree for other doors.
                    We found one big door and five wee ones.
Then we were off to find our last big tree.  And it is really BIG.  We measured it by seeing how many people was needed to make a full circle around the tree.  It took a lot of us.
This tree held a surprise.  Little green rocks were hidden in the crevices and under leaves all around the tree.
Once they found their special rocks we brought out the gold pot and the bottle of clear liquid (vinegar).
They dropped the rocks into the pot and I poured in the vinegar.  It started to fizz and bubble and we couldn’t see anything inside.  So we used a stick to stir it until the bubbles fizzled out.
When I reached inside I found golden coins, one for everyone.  What excitement!  They went back to the tree to find more.

One last stop was planned for out Outside day, a visit to the duck pond.  But the ducks weren’t there so we had a snack and story.
We were finishing our snack when the ducks arrived.  Honking as they landed as if they were apologizing for being late.
It truly was the luckiest St. Patrick’s Day to spend it together with so many adventure loving families.