In my day job as a nature kindergarten teacher, I have found that "letting go" and allowing more time to explore and discover in a more independent manner has actually strengthened the learning skills and deepened curricular connections inside the more traditional educational setting. With that in mind, I have made changes to how I run the Tyke Hikes and now make sure to let nature speak for itself. While I still share information about the amazing Ice Age National Scenic Trail, I am to let the attendees experience the trail in a more hands on and interactive way.
Taking advantage of the clear trails, we took an alternate route to some great natural play areas located within Lapham Peak State Park. Asthma Hill certainly looked daunting, but all 12 hikers and one 4-legged furry friend made it successfully.
Of course, rolling down the hill was much more fun.
I gave the tyke hikers the chance to determine the route and they led us to some pretty awesome places, even if they took us away from the Ice Age Trail. Despite using other trails, we discussed some information about the trail and about how the Ice Age helped form many of the areas we would be exploring.
At our first stop, we enjoyed tree teeter totters and used many fallen branches to make our own winter den.
Then, it was off to our second stop where we balanced on logs, checked out mossy stumps and boulders,
Then, on to our third and final stop. We went off trail and down into a nice kettle-esque formation to climb more trees, play tag, play hide and seek, and of course, explore (and explode) puffball mushrooms.
|Playing hide and seek. . .see anyone?|
|Puffball mushroom explosion|
Our Tyke Hike mascot, Mojo, even came out of his backpack and found natural play to be a wonderful time. Please join him (and many other hiking friends) at our First Day Hike. From 11AM to 2PM on January 1, 2017, the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance will be hosting a variety of family-friendly hikes and offering information and snacks to celebrate a new year of outdoor adventure. Please consider joining us at 11AM at Lapham Peak State Park's Hausmann Nature Center.
|Mojo hopes to see you at the First Day Hike!|