Take It Outside! Fresh Air, Nature and Nourishing Play

Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.” – Erin Kenny

Given Covid, all of our in-person programming has been outside. With the open air, we seriously reduce the risk of spreading germs while simultaneously benefitting from spaciousness and natural elements!  We bring a variety of toys, materials and platy prompts outside, further embellishing our outdoor classroom. While we play, we may pause to listen for the nearby woodpecker, dig in the soil to unearth a worm, or encounter a tiny seashell in the sandbox, deepening our connections to the natural world.

   

Leap frogs.                                                 Swinging, pushing, taking turns.

   

Snuggling in close to read together. 

 

Testing our ears with a matching shaker game.

  

Building rainbow patterns with friends.

   

Digging and making sand pies.               

 

 Harnessing the wind, running and decorating using rainbow streamers.

Bones! We’ve all got bones inside us!

I recently brought in some bones I found on a hike.Children were excited to bury the bones in the sandbox. We took turns hiding and finding them.  Children were eager to handle them, dig holes for them, bury them and uncover them again. 

While many children are aware that dinosaurs have bones, they tend to have less information about other animals having bones– including humans! This week, we’ll play our “Whose bones?” guessing game during circle. We’ll show a skeleton shape and guess which animal it belongs to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will talk about the importance and purpose of own skeletons. I’ll also mention  that one more thing that’s amazing about our human skeletons is that we are the same underneath . No matter what we look like on the outside– no matter what color our eyes, hair and skin are–and no matter where we live, or what we like doing, we’ve got the same human skeletons underneath.  

Check out this “Love Has No Labels” recorded project reminding community members that we’re all the same underneath–regardless of our race, gender, access to wealth and more. This is the perfect video to enjoy for Valentines!

Rainy Day Play

The natural world provides THE best play options for young children. Northwest rainy days entice young children to engage in what they know best– kinesthetic and sensory explorations. A few props (rain gutters, a slide, plastic balls and rubber toy frogs) coupled with a barrel full of rain water makes for deeply engrossing and joyful play. 

We roll plastic colored balls down slides and ramps. We compare the speed of the slide and the ramp. Some children wonder if different colored balls roll more slowly than other balls.

We quickly discover  that rain suits (muddy buddies)  slide extra fast on slippery wet slides!

We team up to fill a large bowl of water, alternating cup fulls down a ramp into the bowl. We then carry the heavy bowl to the sandbox to add to our mud pie ingredients.