Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day

This morning I closed the doors of our StrongStart centre and opened the doors to fun ideas to play in nature.
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We spent several hours in the forest and began by walking to a small wooden bridge and played in the creek.
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Everyone was encouraged to wear their rubber boots so they could go right in the water and that we did.  Walking down the stream and back.
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I brought some of our water and sand toys from school.  The children scooped mud and rocks, poured and stirred, experimenting with each utensil.

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I brought several activities and set them up to be self served.  The popular activity was Build-a-Boat.  I provided hammer, nails, tape and string.  They had to find the sticks and wood.  Some wandered down to the beach to bring back driftwood.
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Most of the 30 some children took turns making boats and the parents enjoyed working as inventors as well providing ideas for different kinds of boats.
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Found items from nature were used as well, especially the big skunk cabbage leaves.  They discovered that the leaves floated great on their own.
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The real fun came trying to launch the boats.  Most made it all the way down the creek to the log dam.  The children would follow after, collect them, then do it all over again.  I like how the child in the last picture got clever and tied a string to his so he can move it back and forth without having to go in the water.

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Another activity was called “Seed in my Pocket”.  Thanks to Heather, who facilitates the Chemanius StrongStart, for showing me this idea when I visited a couple of weeks ago.
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They place a radish seed onto a paper towel after wetting the towel.  Fold it in half, place it in a ziplock bag and then put it in their pocket.  I’m looking forward to hear if any germinated.

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Another activity was a “Nature Colour Search”.  I cut egg cartons into thirds and then painted inside of each with colours black, brown, green and white. 
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Each child picked an egg carton then looked around the forest to find items that matched those colours.
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With what they collected they made sticky bracelets.  First they measured a piece of tape to fit around their wrist then stuck everything on it.

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The last activity we did in the forest was to make a “Wind Finder”.
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First they had to search and find a stick.  Luckily we were in the forest and there were lots to be found.
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Then they chose the ribbon they wanted and cut it to length and their grown ups helped tie it on to the stick.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of a finished one.  We didn't find any wind in the forest but the ribbons started flapping when we got to the beach.

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We ended the morning with a short walk to the beach where the children got busy finding lots of crabs, especially little hermit crabs.  I think we could spend a whole morning just turning over rocks and collecting crabs.  I’ll save that idea for another adventure.

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At the beach the children found a rock and used blue and green paint to make an earth.  “What is earth?” I asked.  Some thought it was in outer space, others didn’t know.  I used the opportunity to talk about why pictures of earth are painted with blue and green; blue representing the water (pointing out to the ocean by us) that covers the earth and that green shows us the land (patting the ground we were sitting on).
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They got busy painting models of earth with a few breaks to find more crabs.
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We ended the morning with songs, stories and snack.  It was a wonderfully full morning that would be great to repeat again and again.
Our next outdoor adventure is just a few days away - yippee!

Hope you had a fantastic day on our planet earth.