Archives for posts with tag: nature classes

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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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

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:

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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”

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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

Peace

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 

Today I took a walk at Avalon where I will begin my Fall classes next week.  It was nice to visit the trail  with my dog Lucy and stroll through the swaying  trees. There are so many places that make me smile and I can almost hear the kid’s voices as I walk through different parts of the park.

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The quiet and still pond with frogs relaxing on the rocks.  Duckweed floating aimlessly through the water.  Although I am surrounded with noises from the birds and the trickling of the waterfall, the sounds of laughter and excitement are missing., but secretly I hear them in my head.  I smile.  All the frogs that the kids caught, kids falling in the pond….. constant activity.

All is quiet…….  for now!

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We continued on walking toward the wildflower fields to see which flowers were in  bloom.  I saw a milkweed bug and it made me laugh.  The memories of us running around the fields capturing bugs and always  holding true to the promise that we would let them go when we were finished exploring.  We were hunters and the atmosphere was electric!!!!

  Some flowers remain and the the milkweed pods are almost ready to burst.

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Finally we made it to the Barn and into the garden.  There were still nasturtium blooming.  I remember some of the kids tasting the peppery flower that our preschoolers planted. ” Blech! ” “Yum!” “My mother would like that!”

Our trellis for the beans lay like a sleeping baby…. next spring we will begin again!

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I am looking forward to meeting new families and welcoming back some of our returning families!

We are going to have a blast and create more memories to share.

Keep on hikin

Sue