Today was the first day of our after school program and it was a blast! After meeting at the gazebo, and saying goodbye to parents and siblings, our seven brave participants headed into the woods with Ms. Britt and Mr. John.
At opening circle we each shared our name and our favorite animal of the day. Some even chose to act out their animal and have everyone else guess the animal. We had squirrels, a blue jay, a dolphin, and even a penguin! Once we learned everyone's name, we went over agreements that we have while at Nature Connect:
1. Respect each other and all life.
2. Proper use of animal calls with the group.
--coyote howl means stop what you're doing, and go to the teacher who is howling.
--crow caw means to check in with a call back, and to get closer to the group.
3. Stay on the trail unless a teacher gives you permission otherwise.
4. Let a teacher know if you need to use the bathroom.
5. Always be on the look out for hazards (poison ivy, snakes, spiders, caterpillars, etc.)
6. Have fun!
Fire in the Forest!
After opening circle we played a few rounds of "Fire in the Forest" - a game full of animal facts, and lots of running!
Next we set off into the forest to explore the hiking trails of our new home away from home, Halyburton Park. We practiced identifying poison ivy, looked at different kinds of moss, explored a huge puddle, looked for frogs (but they were too sneaky), and got to know our new friends.
Raccoon Steals Donut
After wandering for a bit, we found a nice, open sandy patch of land that we thought would be perfect for another game. Here we played a few rounds of "Raccoon Steals Donut" - a game full of sneaking, teamwork, and being clever. It took some trial and error, but the raccoons ultimately prevailed!
By the time we finished pretending to be sneaky raccoons, it was time to wander back out of the woods and get ready for pick up. At closing circle we sang a new song, "The Forest is a Wonderful Place," and shared highlights of our day. We also challenged ourselves to each find a critter over the next week, whether it be on the school playground, at a park, or our own back yards, and either draw a picture to show the group, or tell a story about finding it next week. We can't wait!