I don’t know about you, but I remember building forts in various living rooms, basements, backyards, and parks 🙂 I remember the satisfaction I felt when a structure held, and hid me and my friends. I remember relishing the privacy it gave, to play out our intricate games. I remember the community we built by building together!
Turns out it is a natural instinct, and it is also really beneficial to children! According to research the need to build forts starts around age 5/6, and lasts until around age 12/13.
Apart from from being fun, it helps children figure out their nearby world, and it helps them become more independent.
It also teaches skills!
3rd grade is working on forts at the moment, and keeping the bamboo rods, and sticks in place presented a challenge. We quickly figured out lashing would probably help, since nails are out of the question when you use a living tree as your anchor.
Skills learned: problem solving, lashing, tying secure knots, team work, fine motor skill training, mathematical concepts like balance, and angle, regard for nature.
Below you can find an article about the benefits of fort building.
Have a wonderful weekend
Thank you Olivia, and Elijah James, for taking care of our chicken during the break, and thank you Jason Reed for helping with transport 🙂
Happy to be back at their home yard, and ready for kitchen scraps!!
Free play in 1st grade nature studies turned into a wonderful opportunity for team building and team work.Part of the class had decided to climb up a steep incline. A few of the children were already on top, a few were still down at the bottom. They very quickly figured out that one person could not reach down to help friends up, because their arms were not long enough. They tried using a stick, to pull friends up but this was deemed to impractical. After a short meeting, and a call for help to more class mates they came up with the solution to use the conveniently placed metal pole to anchor themselves for a chain. This way they could pull up the friends in need of help down below.
It was truly a wonder to watch this process in action.
On Tuesday we had the first snowfall sticking this year. It started around noontime, and by around 3pm had turned into a nice snowy afternoon.
The Forest Explorers had a lot of fun playing in and with what snow was on the ground at that time.
Nothing can stop you when you’re wearing the right kind of gear 🙂
Welcome back to school, and Happy New Year.
As many of you may have noticed, our chickens have left!! They are in their winter care quarters, exitedly pecking away at new worms, and fresh greens.
They will return after the winter break.
Thank you Olivia James (mother of Eli James), and Jennifer Downs (Grandmother of Carmen) for taking care of them during the break 🙂
Happy Holidays, cluck cluck!
We have had a couple of rainy afternoons. The kiddos had so much fun playing in the mud, and splashing in puddles. We measured how deep our boots sank into the puddles. We made mud balls, and mud cakes, and potions. We figured out how much water is too much in a bucket (when it runs over). We slid down a muddy hill (sorry, didn’t catch any pics of that, but it was epic).
One of the most frequently asked question about my work here is: Do you really go out with the children in all kinds of weather?
My answer is always: Yes! We do!
There are so many reasons for being out, and playing in the rain! There is the joy of being in nature, navigating slippery terrain (trains gross-motor skills), engaging all senses, a sense for the impact of weather on nature, and on us.
“The experience of playing outdoors in the rain helps children learn to test slippery paths before stepping on them, avoid deep puddles and take advantage of more shallow puddles, and keep their balance in different types of shoes. Learn through their senses.”
This is from an excellent article by Sheila Williams-Ridge I found on the free forest school website. You can access the full article below.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!
In the past weeks the forest explorers have been doing some exploring of new areas!
On one of our walks we discovered an area with a vine, perfect for swinging!
As we were walking, one of our intrepid explorers turned around, announcing “Now I get it!! We are Forest Explorers, not Playground Explorers!! Yay, we are exploring the forest. Come, let’s keep going!”
It is so wonderful observing the children making connection with nature, and each other.
Ah, and what better way to foster wonder. We wondered a lot that day. What lay behind the next hill? Where is a good place to rest? How will we find our way back? Can we use the vine for swinging? Where do the deer go? Who ate all the acorns, and buckeyes?
Wonder abounds, and one question always leads to another.
Hello all, and welcome to the first Green Dragon Bytes Blog in the 2019/2020 school year. We started in September with a few changes. The director position is now filled by Maren Jung.
She worked in the Forest Explorers Afterschool Program as an assistant last year, together with Aliyah Brooks, who is still working as an assistant for the Forest Explorers.
Our new faces are Kerron Webb, and Shaina Steiner, both are working with the elementary age children.
Introducing Bread Fridays
In accordance with plans we made last year to introduce more self-made snacks we are going to bake bread with the children’s garden Forest Explorers group. The recipe, and materials used are the same the Children’s Garden Morning Program uses.
The Children’s Garden Forest Explorers are baking bread!
Taking the bread to the kitchen
A bread snake
Octopus, Hands, and few bird feet breads.
Especially delicious if eaten outside.