Archives for posts with tag: children

Chipmunks are cute little rodents that love to scurry about collecting food, digging burrows and making us say awwww.  In class today we learned about these creatures and how they survive.  We watched  a short and entertaining video of chipmunks trying to stuff huge amounts of nuts into their cheek pouches.  These preschool kids loved it and laughed as they watched the persistent little chipmunk stuff their face.

I thought it would be fun for us to become little chipmunks ourselves so I made little pouches for the kids to wear around their necks and we set out to collect some nuts.  Before we went into the woods we discovered some of the local burrows of the resident chipmunks that hang around the barn.

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Clover pointing out the chipmunk burrow!

 

 

Once we set out for our nut search it was important to get these little chipmunks to act and think like the chipmunk would.  We had to walk looking down for those nuts.  It took a while but they were successful.  Some of them even collected leaves for their beds!  Such beautiful and amazing kids.

It was a super day to be out in the woods, with the air so fresh and the multicolored leaves surrounding us!  Ahhhhhh   What a treat for the senses.

Here are the little chipmunks:

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When all was said and done and our time was up in the woods, we returned back to the barn with our pouches filled.  I suggested to the parents that they do an experiment with the nuts.  Take them home and place them outside then check back the next day to see if they were still there.  Simple but fun!

I promise we left enough nuts out there for the real chipmunks and squirrels to collect for their winter feast!!

Get out and go nuts!

Sue

We finished our lesson on spiders and headed into the woods.  The weather was lovely and the time was right for a stroll.  Our preschool kids and parents wandered through the woods looking for spider webs.  They were lucky enough to have keen eyes and spot a few small spiders in their webs.  Teeny tiny things!  One of the moms found a daddy long legs  (which is actually not a spider) .  Clover let it crawl all over her jacket.  It seemed to really love her and did not want to let go.  The kids gathered around the parents stood back.  hahahah!  (well some of them)

It was a great hike but the best part of the whole hike was when we approached this fallen tree.  The kids were drawn to it like a magnet!  Their need to climb was almost instinctual.  So amazing.  With their parents help they climbed, crawled and sat upon the tree.  I just had to stand back and watch the parents do what was needed for their kids.  I was very proud of them.  Of the parents that is!!!  They were not imposing their adult scare tactics, which we as parents are so good at….. “be careful, that’s too high, you might get hurt!!”  I didn’t hear or feel the fear, instead what I saw was this:

 

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Pure fun!!!  It was hard to tear them away from the tree but we had to head back!!!!  I loved spending this valuable time in the woods with these families.  I truly feel like I have the best job in the world.  Keep up the good work parents and climb away!!!  It ‘s great for you and your kids!

Peace,

Sue

Raging wildfires, flames licking the delicate branches of new trees, wildlife scurrying. It burns with intensity… but did you know that fire is a necessary part of forest ecology?   Tess Copa, from the Department of Environmental Conservation, shared her knowledge of fire ecology and her experiences fighting wildfires.

Her  presentation was an opportunity to awaken a respect for fire and how, if handled properly it can do what it is intended to do.  She demonstrated the fire triangle and how  all three parts of the triangle need to be present for it to burn,  oxygen, fuel and heat.

The kids learned the when a forest fire burns, it is not always a bad thing, especially if it is controllable.  It allows the forest to rejuvenate.  Tess talked about the fires in the Long Island Pine Barrens, which occurred before these kids were born… (yikes) .  They also learned about something called prescribed burns.  The firefighters carefully prepare areas to be burned by digging trenches around the area to be burned and is set by the fire fighters and maintained by them.

It was a great opportunity for the kids to learn about this job and how anyone can become a wildfire fire fighter if they train and pass the test.  Tess explained that all sorts of people are wildfire firefighters, accountants, engineers, teacher… the list goes on.

Tess ended the presentation with a game where the kids took turns being the fire fighter, the fire and the trees.  The fire and the fire fighter had to capture as many trees as they could simultaneously, ending hopefully with the firefighter winning!!!

It is important to teach children to respect fire.  If they grow up with this knowledge then they can pass it on to other kids, parents and hopefully their children. We’ll be a better and safer world for it.

We are grateful to Tess for sharing her knowledge and experiences with us.  We are now wiser.

Thanks Tess!!!

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Tess, the fire, the firefighter and the trees! Best day in the woods!

 

 

 

Howdy all!! Today was a super fantastic day where the topic was apples… yes apples.  We read one of my old favorites by Dr Seuss, “Ten Apples on Top.”  I loved how engaged the kids were as we watched these silly animals balance apples on their heads!!  There’s just something about reading a book to a child… they will stop and listen and enjoy. So magical.

Anyway, we did our apple tasting and checked out the seeds, also known as pips.  If the child did not want to eat the apple I encouraged them to touch, smell or put their tongue on the apple.  Little steps of exploration .. ….

As you may have noticed the title of today’s blog is Sparkles and Shadows.  I prefer to write about what struck me as the best moments of our time together. Today it was our hike!

We walked and ran down the wildflower field trails.  Surrounded by walls of brown flowers that once were yellow, brown and purple. I looked up into the sky and realized how amazingly blue it was.  I decided it was a great time to lay right down on the ground and look up at the sky. I asked what the clouds made of and someone said, “stuffing.”  So precious!  All the kids joined me as we looked up into the endless sky.  Wonderful.  It was only a short moment but oh so amazing to be human… then thump! One of the kids decided to sit right down on my belly!!  So funny.  In the meantime all the parents were standing there watching.  Why oh why didn’t they get on the ground with us??? (I’m sure some of them wanted to !!)

As we picked off the seeds that were stuck to my shirt we continued our short journey to an apple tree that had only a few apples on it. Last year it was abundant with apples and many were on the ground.  Oh well so much for that lesson.

But the best part was yet to come… sparkle and shadows!

As we were getting ready to leave there was this amazing rock lit by the sun!  It sparkled like crazy!  The kids ran to it and climbed all over it inspecting the inlayed jewels.  How magical.  One of the girls said, “It’s like they threw sparkles on it!”  So wonderful

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Before we left the sparkly rock I noticed my shadow and began to try to run away from it.  Then I challenged the kids by saying, “don’t step on my shadow!”  They laughed and chased my shadow.  The sun went behind the clouds and the shadow faded… some of them realized why it went away.  Not bad for preschoolers!  The parents traced some of their children’s shadows and we left them there to lay in the bright warm sun!  The tracings that is, not the kids!!!

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It was a great Fall day in Avalon.  Love being outside with the kids and their parents!

Get outside, there’s so much to explore!

Sue

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Well we might not have the anything close to the Himalayas here on Long Island but somehow kids always find something to climb.

Part of my Inspirations class of 4th -6th graders is to show them how inspired people choose different life paths than the norm.   There is more than just going to the mall, watching tv, video games, or social media out there and that a person can make a difference.

Today’s topic was about climbing Mount Everest.  An amazing feat that must be respected.  From all my readings about this amazing place, I have developed the utmost respect for the men, women or children who choses to put themselves basically through hell to get to the top of the earth.  It is inspiring and daunting.  I know that personally I do not have a climb of that magnitude within me, but I can live vicariously through all the stories of the people who have summited or attempted to summit this monster of a mountain.

Basically all of the kids knew what the tallest mountain in the world was, less knew where it was and even fewer knew how tall it is.  But that is okay because the information is out there if they are interested.  I chose to show them a video on You-Tube , “Mount Everest, The Whole Journey”  While Rob does not summit and plans to go just above base camp 3 he certainly gives the kids a great impression of what climbing Everest is like.   I think they were amazed and surprised by what he had to go through.  It’s worth a watch.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_ybcAWTLeE

For our hike I let the kids decide where we would go.  Teaching them that they MUST stop at every intersection and wait for the whole group.  Safety first.  Some kids are fast and have to get there first, others are strollers who like to look around and chat.  I must say the strollers do find the coolest stuff… like Grace who likes to find mushrooms and Finn who was able to find the bright red berries of the  jack in the pulpit flower.  It opens so many pathways for thought… are these things edible? do the animals eat them?  There is also the time to take a look under the logs for insects.  Although they were sparse this time Kenzie managed to find a millipede.

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Good stuff.  These kids love, love, love being in the woods… that means sooooo much.

Get those kids outside!!!!

ps:  I recommended the series of books by Gordon Korman:  Everest Series #1  “The Contest”   Everest Series #2 “The Climb” & Everest Series #3 “The Summit”    good read for kids!!!

 

A sunflower is a perfect example of a natural pattern…from the root system to the intricate arrangement of the seeds.  This class of 1st – 3rd graders dissected this sunflower with gusto..  from roots to head they were all over it!

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One of them found a stink bug and proceed to put it into the hole of the head of the flower (see the picture) When we cracked open the seed head they were hysterical to see the bug in there! Sorta like hide and seed with a stink bug!
 After they finished their seed picking they set to work on creating their own sunflower paintings!  I love how unique each painting is.  It shows that they are free to create and interpret how they would like.  That’s the best thing about being a kid, being allowed to paint a sunflower how you’d like without criticism!   So here they are for you to enjoy!

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Enjoy your day and get outside!!

 

Well, were back to exploring the great outdoors at Avalon again!!

Our first day back was with the Sticks Stones and Stories preschoolers… moms/dads/grandmas/oma’s/ opa’s…  fabulous

Our super fun first exploration was something so big and beautiful it’s hard to believe that it all starts with one seed!

It’s the towering sunflower!!!

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These flowers have spent their days growing in our great garden on the side of the barn, bathing in the delicious sunshine all summer.

As the petals begin to turn brown and the flowerets have been pollinated it is now time to explore this amazing flower!

Most children get to admire this  flower from afar.  But today we pulled it out of the ground … tearing the roots from the earth..   examining them. Next, using a hand saw,  cutting open the chunky stem to feel the moist insides where the water flows.  Touching the large rough leaves and playing with them ( Lilly made music with hers!)  Finally getting the head of the flower to examine the petals, all the mini flowers and the seeds!!!  Such an amazing sight to see how they grow … all neatly packed  in there.

Once we finished exploring outside we took the heads and brought them inside to take out the seeds.  Everyone  got to take their seeds home.  I wonder what they will do with them?  Eat them, feed them to the animals… plant them???  Such fun!

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Finally a craft and a story to complete our first class together.  Great kids, great parent and grandparents.

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Get outside!

peace, Sue

 

 

Our season is winding down here at Avalon and it was time for the kids to harvest their lettuce crops.  

I must say it was great to go from seed to plant to table!  That is the current rage after all !  

Anyway, it was time to pick the lettuce and pick they did, filling their bags with lettuce to take home to make a salad.

I included a salad dressing recipe that was easy enough for the kids to make with their parents. 

Here are some of the best shots…. taken by our fantastic intern Emily, who is on break from Gettysburg College.  We love her!!!!

Our Kindergartner group… getting down and dirty…. so proud of them!!!

 

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Miss Mae 🙂

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Dasi,,, always gentle … even with her lettuce!

 

 

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Our energetic group of 1st – 3rd graders.  A curious and interested group of kids!!!

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There I am… I think it’s my first appearance on my blog!!!  

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Smiley toothless Hannah… today we compared all of the wiggly and loose teeth the group had!!

 

 

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Silly Boys!

 

 

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In the end I hope the kids will remember the time they grew their own lettuce and that it will encourage them to have their own gardens at home.  We are all so used to going to the supermarket to get our food but to actually have a hand in growing a part of your meal it is even  more meaningful!!!  Bravo to all these young gardeners.  My biggest question is who actually had salad for dinner????

Let me know!

Peace, Sue

Today we talked about weather.  I thought it would be fun to listen to sounds of weather and have them create what the weather looked like using pastels and watercolor paint. 

I love to see children engaged in painting and drawing… it’s so joyful.  When I took out the large sheets of paper the some of the parents and kids were like…”wow!”  What fun it is to have a large blank space to do whatever you want on it.  No directions needed.

First came wind, then sun, then rain!  All on the same paper… crazy!!!  Just look at these pictures and you can see their weather.  All different and magnificent!

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AND FINALLY IT RAINED…..

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Afterwards we went out into the real weather which was warm and sunny and we ate some of our lettuce…. 

Lovely little bunnies…

Get outside …. 

Sue 

Not too long ago the weather was still crisp and we began our planting season.  Lettuce for the K to 3rd graders.

They got the soil ready

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They carefully planted the seeds…

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Watched the seeds begin to erupt…..

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Look what they’ve done!!!!  We’ve been munching along the way and can’t wait to harvest it so they can all go home and make salad!!!

All done by them!!!

Great job my proud gardeners!

 

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