This August, Tim and I had the joy to spend 6 great days over 2 weeks with some great kids!
We found a great spot this summer among three cedar trees which became our home base for the program this summer. The tree provided shade during the hot summer days and the low-lying branches provided many opportunities for gross motor development. The children enjoyed challenging their bodies by climbing, hanging and bouncing on those welcoming branches.
On our first class, we brought some clay into the park. We talked about where clay comes from and how it is used in our society. We listened to the tale of Mama Africa who breathed life into all the creatures of the world after molding them out of clay. We made many beloved creatures of our own.
During the first week, we spent the second half of each class at the beach using the Sand Kitchen. Here, the children could use pots, pans, spoons, measuring cups and other second hand kitchen supplies to build, create and explore their senses together. This wonderful sensory activity provides a lovely opportunity for imaginative and collaborative play while also providing a much welcomed cool down under the hot sun.
The park always provides opportunities for exploration. We explored plants and all their parts. Sticks and different shapes and textures of leaves provide much to wonder about and plenty to spark the imagination. Animals and bugs are always around; ducks, spiders, bugs, squirrels and mice all made an appearance during our travels and always added curiosity and wonder to our adventures.
On the last day of our first week, we made bird feeders to take home. Squeezing the oranges a little bit, we created a lovely little hole to put some bird seed in and threaded wool through the peels of the oranges. We were all quite sticky after but it was great fun and some even enjoyed some very freshly squeezed orange juice!
During the second week, we spend some time working with Crazy Forts. This open-ended toy provides many opportunities for imaginative building and collaborative play. Together the children saw their imaginations come to life as we built forts, a school house, airplanes and even abstract art.
Prompted by a child’s interest in what is in the dirt by a willow tree we decided to do some soil testing during the second week. Together, we gathered two soil samples from different parts of the park. We filled the jars of water, took turns giving it a good shake and then let them sit while we played. When we came back to check on them, the different parts of the soil had separated and we could see what was in it and how the two soils differed.
We did some whittling together during the second week. We used vegetable peelers to whittle away bits of wood. This fine motor activity builds coordination and confidence and is a great precursor to knife skills.
The last part of every class was spent on the playground. Here the children could climb, run, swing and play together before we gathered for our final songs and goodbyes.
On the last day; prompted by requests from the children, we returned to the beach for a final play with the Sand Kitchen. The children enjoyed feeling the water, digging holes and burying each others’ feet.
As a take home activity, we did some planting on the last class. Each child picked what they would like to plant, filled their cup with soil, planted and watered the seeds. We hope that your plant will grow strong to nourish your family and serve as a reminder of our adventures together at Trout Lake!
Have a lovely summer!