Saturday, March 18, 2017

I love the magic of searching in the forest for treasure,
be it geocaching or looking for Leprechaun gold.
I love the look of wonder in a child's eye when they believe that
there may be something hidden away waiting for us to find it.
Since we are a drop in program I left maps for the families to be able to guide themselves 
around the park. 
We started with some fort building.
There were a couple of focuses for this activity;
one was to give children the freedom to collect the sticks
(because we know they will)
two it gave us something to do while we waited for more families
to arrive and catch up.
Once our fort was up (I thought we may need it later if the rain started)
the children were encouraged to play with the pots and pans I brought.
It took them a few minutes to get the idea (which surprised me that this wasn't spontaneous)
then we were creating pinecone soup and birthday cupcakes.
Some parents are natural at playing and encouraging their child's imagination,
others need some modelling.

Once a group of families arrived we set off to find some Leprechaun treasure.
The children ran from sign to sign stopping at each
for the adults to catch up.
I put pictures on each and encouraged the children to try and figure
out what it meant.
Tiny gold jewels were found in the creek this morning.
We stopped at big old trees and checked for any doors.
 
Through the meadow we ran and flew till we came to this sign
and knew we were getting closer to finding a Leprechaun.
We walked slowly looking at big trees, trees covered in moss,
searching for trees with doors until...
We found it!
Then there was another sign explaining about rainbows 
and that we might find more treasure if we searched.
By now the children were self-motivated and didn't need much encouragement
to begin searching.
For what they weren't sure, till the first magic rock was found.
And then a pot was discovered in the bushes.
Good thing I brought some magic potion.
The children dropped their magic rocks into the pot
and I squirted in some potion.
So exciting to watch it bubble.
The children found sticks for stirring
and as the fizz settled we could see shiny gold pieces were left behind.

After that excitement we had a snack and a story.
"There was an Old Woman that Swallowed a Clover"
The children were soon off searching for rainbows.
At each spot they collected one ribbon till they came to another big, old tree
where they found rings.
The adults helped tie the ribbons on to their rings
and there was their rainbow.
Hope you had a magical St. Patrick's Day too.










Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Bit of Styrofoam

A parent gave me several long sheets of styrofoam
so I covered a table with them.
 I dug into my cupboard and fun tooth picks
and appy sticks, like umbrellas.
The children loved poking the sticks into the foam.
 I worried how safe it would be with toddlers
but they amazed me with their curiosity and focus.
 It was fun to see the different ways and places they put the sticks;
making patterns and designs.
 Then the umbrellas stirred their interest.
How do they open?
 Do they smell like flowers?
They look like trees.
One day I noticed a family added some buttons to the table.
So it inspired me to look for other items that would work.
 
Love it when you can use recycled materials to create games and learning.