Archives for posts with tag: Get outside

Yesterday was a  beautiful fall day.  I was able to hold the class outside.  It felt so wonderful to sit on our squares and talk about fall and what happened to the trees surrounding us.  I asked, “what did the trees look like before they were empty” The preschoolers responses were varied and most of them said there were leaves on the trees.  Most of them said they were colored leaves.  It was hard for them to remember all the way back to the time when the leaves were green.  But finally we got there!  Something so simple that most take for granted.   It truly is an amazing cycle.

It’s great to just sit on the ground an talk about what is all around you. We could hear and see the geese flying, we could hear the pheasants squawking, and of course Owen heard the trains, “double deckers!”  Perhaps one thing a parent can share with their child is just sitting outside and listening.  It doesn’t take up that much time.  Especially now that fall is ending and the leaves are gone… there are so many different sounds available to our ears.  The need for our children to be able to  play outside is gaining more and more importance as we are seeing studies saying the there is a connection between lack of outdoor play in kids and learning issues.   Anyway, I digress to make that statement which is always on my mind.  Preachy Miss, Mrs., Mrs Aunt Sue !!!

Our class went on a leaf hunt and selected some oak leaves (no shortage of those) Each child brought their leaf back to the rock table to make a silhouette painting.  It was challenging but with the help of parents and grandparents they were able to pull it off and boy were they proud! So simple and so fun!

Here are a few pics:

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Then we went for a great hike to the magical evergreen tree!  I love this place.  We also discovered a lot too.  Saw some more pheasants, so beautiful!

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It was a fabulous day!!!

Get em outside!!!



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!!!


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!


Hi all!  Another great day with the Natural Patterns group of  1st – 3rd graders.  We talked about Earth Manners.  What is that you say?  Well the kids generated the following list after I read the story,  “Just a Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg.  About a boy who does not really care about the environment,  throws trash on the ground, doesn’t recycle and is just plain self involved.  It was a long story but this gang of kids were mesmerized by the boy’s adventure into dreamland…  not such a great dream of the future.  It’s worth a read and discussion.

So here is there list, written with the help of Emma:



I have to say I was very impressed.  Prior to the reading of the book each child prepared a leaf cutout by coloring their own design on it.   They attached strings to the leaves which will be tied to the  sticks they  collected . (Stay tuned for finished project in two weeks)

Today our hike was centered on finding one stick each for their earth manners piece.  Let’s just say it wasn’t easy to choose just one!!  We chatted about staying on the trail until we got to a great stick place where there was no poison ivy around.  The selection began.  It was fun to watch them wandering about trying to find a stick that was just right for their own project.  When it was time to head back I noticed that Emma and Rylie chose to take along a second large stick… actually it was a branch!!!  It was so funny watching them lug this with the intention of using it as our “class branch” (have to give Indigo the credit for naming it!) I love  when the kids bond together and make something for the “class.”  It means they are thinking of the group as a whole and are motivated to do something for their group.

It all comes from within them ~


Here they are with the “class stick”



Next class we will put the project all together, by painting the sticks from which we will  hang our leaves and manners.

I smile when I think of them.. eager kids just wanting to have fun.  It should be this way for all kids, at least for some of their day.. 🙂

Get them outside….  please


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


They carefully planted the seeds…



Watched the seeds begin to erupt…..



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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Yes, those beautiful flowers and helpful bugs are still in a state of stillness, but in preparation of things to come I thought it would be fun to utilize the skeletons of summer and spring past.



So our troops of Kindergartners and 1st through 3rd graders bundled up and went hunting for the remnants of milkweed, evening primrose, bee balm, goldenrod, purple cone flowers.  It was a great opportunity to take a look at the idea of how strong mother nature made these plants so that they can flick about in the wind and disperse their seeds.


It was awesome to see the kids sharing what they picked.  Our goal was not only to find our own but make a wildflower sculpture to take home.

The older kids and I went deep into the jungle of the field.  Letting them lead the way they hunted and found many interesting things.

I couldn’t help myself and let out a lot of wooops while we were walking.  It was very cold and windy but it just felt so good to let out the screams of joy….. although at one point one of the boys told me I ” didn’t need to do that anymore!”  Haha… what can I say I was just so excited….

Both Jack and Rylie found praying mantis egg cases!!!  We added them to the 200 cases that the teenagers from S.T.A.T.E. found over the weekend  Pretty cool treasure to find.

More than anything these kids are developing a confidence to lead and also to work together as a group. Something I believe is a result of playing outside.  They have to take chances  in an environment which they might not be used to. In the end  they realize  can do it!





After we hunted for a while we returned to the barn to make these!!!

Ta da!!!

They all left with pictures of what these flowers will look like when they bloom this year and a magnificent sculpture created by them!


Love the rosy cheeks and also how one of the sculptures has a milkweed with seeds still intact. (like a cradle)  Another lucky find.

Until next week…… GET OUTSIDE!!!  Seriously

Peace and warmth, Sue



How many of us adults have memories of the way we used to play for hours upon hours outside until it was time to come home for dinner?  It really is a loss for our children, most of whom will never know that freedom we had.  BUT…. we can help our children to feel free from the stresses of video games, tv and technology in general.   Simply go outside…. no batteries or cords needed.  They will figure it out how to play in time but we have to give them the opportunity so they can learn.

The 4th and 5th graders in my Inspirations class were all psyched to take our “long” hike yesterday.  We got out our map and discussed our plan.  In 50 minutes we were going to go to new places we had not been.  Which means mystery and adventure.  What kid doesn’t enjoy that???

I never grow tired of watching children discover things on their own.   Like the hiker pictured below,  who was so amazed by all the ferns in one part of the woods that she, “had to become one with nature,” by placing a fern in her hair.

I know she felt so proud to wear that fern.  You go girl!!ImageOnward we walked/ran/flew like butterflies through the woods.  Howling while someone else howled back.  Laughter….all their worries forgotten.

Back in the Fall when we first began hiking we met a man in the woods who had made a miniature swing set.  It was made completely out of branches and twine. It fit in his hand.  Amazing!  Well today we found out what he did with it.He placed it along with a home that others had built in the woods.


Onward we went for about a mile.  Sweaty? … Yes, Hot? ….. Yes, Thirsty?….. Yes,  Complaining? …… not one…. except that we had to head back to the barn.  🙂

ImageImageImageAnd so with only one more class left ….. I can’t help but feel these kids have all enjoyed their time in the woods and will carry some of their memories in their hearts the way I carry the memories of my endless days of playing outside when I was a kid.