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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Forest School, in the winter

Forest School looks and feels much different in the middle of January than it did in early September.  For one, snow coating the landscape provides opportunities for tranquil sights.  And with the chilly temperatures, frozen water balloons with food coloring make beautiful frozen globes throughout the day.

 These globes were mysterious, magical-looking and provided fodder for lots of imaginary play.  In this game of "Coyotes and Voles," the colored spheres became imaginary vole food!  The children in the middle of the circle were in their vole den and the people on the outside sphere were the coyotes, waiting to "eat" them, by tagging them, of course, as they were trying to scrounge for food.  It's amazing how something as simple as frozen colored water can spur creativity and naturalist knowledge in kindergarteners and first graders.

After an extensive game session, we visited the Christmas tree maze that was being set up for the Ice on Fire festival this weekend.  We were lucky enough to see a Red Tailed Hawk circling above, too!

This is Christmas tree maze from afar.  Community members drop their Christmas trees at the North Branch Nature Center and talented Americorps volunteers set up the aromatic maze for children and adults, alike, to enjoy leading up to the Ice on Fire festival.  

We tucked into the barn for a snack and our morning circle before heading out to our base camp.  On our way, we searched for Nature's Paintbrushes and used them to create patterns and write in the snow.   Hello, literacy!  

On our way to base camp...

Sliding down the hill at our base camp.  Despite the cold temperatures, the children walked, played, slid, imagined and stayed warm and engaged during our 5 hour outing.  Let's see what next week's temperatures bring!

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