Archives for posts with tag: kids

Well it’s that time of the year again.  We’ve had over 64 classes total with all the age levels and we managed to strengthen our love and respect for nature.

I am grateful for ALL of these children and families that come to Avalon to share in the joy of nature.   As I look back at all the photos I’ve taken this past season I smile.  I think of all the littles guys  who held my hands as we hiked.   I think back to the lessons my older kids learned from other naturalists, such as Len who talked to them about why and how he raises pheasants and bobwhite quail on the grounds of Avalon. I think about the night hikes which were always met with excitement All of it was so  inspiring to them and it  confirms that I am in the right place in my life doing just what I want to be doing.

My overall goal with these classes has and will continue to be getting kids OUTSIDE.  I cannot express how important this is for the future of our lives here on this planet.  These children will always have these memories of frogs, trees, hiking  in their hearts, so hopefully they will own it and protect it as they grow into young adults and one day, parents (yikes!).

Not only that, it is so fantabulous and  healthy to spend time in the outdoors rather then cooped up in a classroom or watching TV.

So to celebrate,  our last class is always about roasting that cube made of sugar, the marshmallow!!!  Luckily we have a great fire pit at the barn!!  Also, Chris once again brought in his hot dogs to roast.  How fun and yummy!!!

Here are some crazy photos.  Enjoy and we’ll see you on the other side in March.  Peace out….. Miss Sue

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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!



Slackline is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Many people suggest slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is usually flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping one’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for tricks and stunts. Slacklining has quickly become popular due to its simplicity and versatility and its ability to be practiced in a variety of environments. Those who participate in slacklining are often called “slackers”.article-0-1838F8D600000578-574_964x494

Yes, this summer we have all become beginner slack liners.  Every time the kids see it they ask, “What is that?”  I say slack line…  they say, “tightrope?”  nope it’s not a tight rope…

It is addicting and not one kid has rejected the idea of trying it. All you need is two trees and a slack line kit (I bought ours through Amazon – Gibbon Fun Line)

It is not easy by any means but I feel for kids it is a great opportunity to take risks and develop a trust in themselves. (Adults too!)  A priceless opportunity.  I am trying to get past 4 steps without the overhead (cheat) line  🙂

Here are some of our slackers… more power to them!!!!

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Look forward to more slack lining in the Fall!!!

Click here for more information ……    GREAT AMERICAN CAMP OUT!!!!!

Calling all nature lovers!!!  or  wannabes….

Here is a great opportunity to bring your kids on their first camping trip. Best of all you can do it in your back yard!

Check out the link (GREAT AMERICAN CAMP OUT!!!!)   and get prepared for the Great American Backyard Campout Saturday, June 28th!

We started camping with our daughter when she was 6 months old… never to early or too late.

Fun stuff.

If you need a tent, I can lend you one… just contact me

Happy summer!!!! Sue

Over the past two day I’ve spent with the Natural Patterns kids….  k-3 graders…. we talked of clouds, painted outside, looked at how the top of the trees roll up and down like a roller coaster against the sky, discovered spittle bugs hiding out in the fields. So delicious, every moment of discovery.  

Some of my favorite moments:

Zachary in the moment, painting his tree and clouds with wax paper as Mae takes a moment to lay in the grass with here eyes closed. 

Love the freedom.  Could you imagine if an adult was doing something then decided to just lay down on the grass in the middle of it all? A funny thought.  

Heads down in concentration….




Heads down working together to clean the paint covered plexiglass plates used to create their images.

Working together, standing in puddles, getting wet.  Involved…. thoughts focused.Image 

Heads down looking at these tiny red bugs that Thomas discovered…. focused on the red as they squish them with rocks.

So present in what they were doing…..  busy busy busy in the sunshine.






Heads down hunting and discovering spittle bugs.  Hiding amongst their butt spit!  What do they look like those nymphs?  How many can you find?  Hundreds… the more they looked the more they found.  



The downward gaze of these faces…. means they are inquisitive and engaged.  I am so proud of these young naturalists and can only hope that they continue to enjoy all that nature offers as they go through life.  Awesome!!!!



Well not really, but today the kids planted their pizza garden.  It is comprised of tomatoes, onion, pepper, oregano, parsley and basil. 

They worked hard to create the homemade separations for their garden, comprised of wood found in the pile of branches out back behind the barn.  But first we had to make the branches fit.

It was the perfect opportunity for all the kids to use a saw.  It was interesting to see how each child had their own level of tolerance for the effort they were willing to put into making a cut in the branch.  


 To me sawing wood seems so primitive.  One of the kids said, “get out the chain saw!”   No way!!!

 It is an invaluable lesson for each of these kids to know what it is to work hard at something. They are so desensitized to swords, guns and other weaponry from watching TV or playing video games.  But to actually hold something sharp and use it in a real way helps to  create a form of respect.    Most of them have never sawed anything before.   They did a great job and no fingers or toes were lost.


As a result they were able to divide their pizza garden into six sections with the branches they sawed.  Pretty darn good effort!  Then the planting and watering occurred.  I am so excited to see how the garden will grow. Wish us luck!!!


Hey it’s not the most perfect looking garden, BUT it is theirs.  So glad it is raining today!!!

Perhaps I’ll have to buy them a pizza for our last class….. their crops won’t be ready til the summer!  But it will be worth the wait.

Bravo kids!!!


I am grateful for every moment I spend with these kids.  They are excited by a fallen tree, collected branches from a broken down lean-to, the adventure of being high up above the ground.  It is as magical  as this photograph, this image that was a single moment, a collective group of breaths and laughs.  Gone forever but always here.  

You can have this feeling as a child or as an adult.  Just stand back or participate.  Leave the worries at the beginning of the path… for those moments you will feel joy, fear, excitement, curiosity.  “What was it like when that tree fell?” the kids wondered. That tree which has given us a place to live for the moment.


And the moment when Lola sees this thing up in the tree?  That moment when we can explore and wonder.  

When we can touch and feel life crawling upon our hands.  

Thank you dear children for making moments so important.  Our bills, our headaches, our worries can be left as we enter the woods to experience these moments.  

Take the time to make a moment or allow a child to show you how to live a moment. 







This place, this magical place where kids open their minds ….. Avalon Park.


Laying on the stone wall, my view of the barn at Avalon

Where our children arrive ready for a new adventure. It is never the same.  For today my 9, 10, and 11 year olds will be given the gift of creating their own garden.  That means visiting the shed, getting the tools and weeding.  This process will make this garden theirs.  It is not readied by a landscaper or a parent.  It is their sweat which will make this a success.  And so it begins…. a place of their own.


Ah yes the pesky weeds are afoot!!!  Go get em !!!!




I loved standing back, listening to them talking to one another, laughing, complaining, and some of them taking charge.  It is a magical process which we as adults sometimes interrupt before it happens.   Look at these amazing young kids!


Liam and Chris get started


Hazel contributing her weeds to the pile!




Garden Gold!



Something is going on here

I know these kids went home tired but they were still smiling when they completed their mission.  I am always to happy to hear that some of them have gardens at home.  And for those who don’t they have this place of their own.


The aftermath!

Bravo, Kathryn, Sophia, Shannon, Hazel, Liam and Chris!!  Next week we plant!!!

A lovely video I found while looking at the blog, . It is a video set to a poem. Sit for a moment, listen. You can feel a swelling urgency through the cadence of the poem, that we need to get our kids outside. Enjoy! Sue



Dandelion Prints


The the end result of an in-depth look at dandelions.

 While some people think that dandelions are pesky, historically  they were of great use ….. food, drink and medicine.  But now many of us just think of them as weeds.  Pesky weeds that many people shoot with chemicals to assassinate them especially before they turn into those white seed bearing blow things.

As a child, I remember blowing the seed heads all around…. running through fields of them spreading them into more and more dandelions. So fun!  

Since they are busy blooming now I thought it would be a great time to look closer at these invading/nutritious plants.

I was able to dig up a really big plant with a gigantic root.  I asked the kids if they knew what it was.  Upon first glance one of them said, “Carrot!” But after they actually looked closer and touched it they realized it was a indeed a dandelion.  We chatted about how big the root is and that it slurps up the water for the plant.  Then I showed them a time lapse video of a dandelion’s life

Some of them were surprised to learn that the yellow dandelion and the white puffball were from the same plant.  The video helped the kids to see what happens to the yellow flower.  It is actually amazing. 

Then we chatted more about the leaves.  I told them that you can eat dandelion leaves, BUT we need talk to an adult before picking them because sometimes they are in places that have been sprayed with chemicals or peed on by dogs etc. (if you are going to do this please do some research online.)   I was able to buy some really huge dandelion leaves at Wild by Nature and we had a taste test!


Kaeley opted out of tasting, just feeling it!


Mae nibbled the tip!


Rylie digging in !


Rory getting ready to taste!

Let’s just say they learned what the word bitter means!!!  However, I was so proud of the willing taste testers!

After we finished our taste test we went outside and put the remains of these leaves in the compost heap and visited with our lettuce that we planted a few weeks ago.  I think this lettuce will be a bit yummier!!!


For our grand finale, we went into the field and dug up some dandelions to make  prints with the leaves. 






Love seeing how hard they worked to get those dandelions up!

It was a dandy day full new tastes and info. Even gave them a dandelion leaf recipe to take home if their parents are brave enough to try!

The kids will never look  at dandelions in the same way! 

Get out and check out your local dandelions!