The Forest is our Playground

When we venture into the forest at Nature Connect, we feel invited into a woodland paradise

created just for us. The trails are typically narrow with the Magnolia and Pine branches draped

overhead, so we move together like a snake along the dirt path. But we aren’t quiet like a

snake. We crunch the fallen leaves under our shoes because it feels and sounds like the

season of fall, if fall had a sound.

We sing songs about frogs and ants and rain and seasons.

Sometimes, we are so loud that the other classes on a different trail can hear us. We also

count, over and over again, one week to 10, the next to 20, and eventually to 100. We are still

moving like a snake, crunching, singing, counting, and fingering the soft, green leaves within

reach.

We stop by a tree, touch it’s bark, smell its leaves.

“I wonder what kind of tree this is?” a teacher will ask. Our senses are wide awake now with all

of the crunchings, seeing, smelling, and touching we have been doing on our hike, and we know

this is a Pine tree.

We keep moving to where the trail eventually opens up into a woodland playground. There, we

climb on fallen trees and play in forts we made days earlier with so many sticks. In one particular

horizontal tree, there is a hole, and with our friends, we stuff it with leaves, dirt, Coral Berries,

and twigs. Then we get a larger stick, and stir, stir, stir until it becomes chocolate soup.

In an alcove a few feet away, there is a small group who have become raccoons. They are

foraging for wild berries to collect in their den. Roaarrrrrr! T-Rex is nearby, and the raccoons

scatter. Then some of them become T-Rexes, too.

Some of us prefer to find quiet in the woods. While our friends are running and screeching, we

choose to sit by a tree with a pile of twigs to make a fairy house. Sometimes a friend will sit

with us, but if not it’s OK. The woods create the space we need when we need it, and there is

room for both peace and play.

Each time we snake through the woods with our friends, it is an adventure. We are learning

through our senses, but we don’t really know that. What we do know is that on these magical

woodland days at Nature Connect, the forest is our very own playground.


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