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
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.