The end of the autumn season at Out and About has been a time of creating and of rejoicing for all that we gain through our connection with the natural world.
The sand at the beach of Trout Lake provides young imaginations with a blank canvass. Some children used this canvas to practice their numbers and letters, others built villages complete with houses, mountains and forests; while others still, used it for drawing pictures, tracing a friend’s boots and even changing the direction of a tiny flowing stream of rain water.
Sand is the ultimate open ended activity. Heavy, wet sand provides a physical challenge for growing bodies. A challenge that can be as big or as small as each child needs it to be. Dry sand (although we haven’t had much of it) provides a soft, captivating sensory experience. Moving a bowl of water from place to place without spilling is a challenge that requires patience, strength and balance.
We do not need a lot of supplies for our days spend outdoors; nature provides. A blank sheet, some brushes and a good mud puddle are all that is needed to create beautiful murals. A rope, a strong stick, and a few good knots are all that is needed for an adjustable swing when hung from a strong willow tree.
An old, fallen wasp nest provided some scientific discovery. After the teachers checked that it had been long abandoned, the children could touch and even look inside this amazing structure. Questions and wonderings revealed the children’s interest and awe in the tiny home.
Four ropes, three sturdy birch trees and a few good knots created a climbing gym full of opportunity in our program this fall. The children hung and balanced their way through, across and over the web of ropes. One group used their imaginations to turn these ropes into a train. They quickly handed out jobs and set to making a travel plan for the day.
‘Crazy forts’ provides a great large motor, open-ended building activity. Out in the field we have limitless space and can build our structures as wide and as high as our building materials and skill level allows us.
The last day of our programming for the autumn session provided us with a winter wonderland that left everyone in the holiday spirit. Children looked in awe at the millions of falling snowflakes, examined the half frozen lake and built snowmen and giant snowballs in the field. We made holiday wreaths under the cedar trees and caught snowflakes on our tongues, noses and eyelashes. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye before the break and welcome winter in all of its snowy glory!