In my opinion and based on ample amounts of research, play is something all kids (and adults) need. While developmentally-appropriate curriculum is an important and required part of kindergarten, sometimes, kids just need to play. The absolute beauty of it all is that Forest Kindergarten is a wonderful marriage of both.
Today was a perfect example of this union. To connect to a future science unit on colors, we experimented with creating colors. Our friends busted out the food coloring and water and went to town mixing colors in cups, ice cube trays, and other objects. When completed, we placed them in the snowbanks outside our window and will look forward to seeing them all frozen tomorrow. We will take these frozen blocks out to our trail and start creating a natural play area full of rainbow blocks. Repeat the process a few times over the next few days and my class will have an outdoor companion to our favorite indoor play area: the construction carpet, strewn with blocks and legos throughout the day.
After wrapping up our colors experiment, it was time to gear up and head out to the trail. In our room, children have weekly, rotating classroom jobs. My two secretaries were itching to help, so I sent them out ahead to place our snowshoes out for our class.
Practice makes progress and these kids are definitely making progress. Today, besides some strapping assistance, they placed their snowshoes on and got ready to traverse the winter wonderland.
In our open field adjacent to the trail, we played a few rounds of Predator/Prey. Our hawks attempted to catch the ice while practicing syllables, sight words, addition, and subtraction. All mice were captured!
The children then went to the woods to check on their apple juice ice ornaments and their reusable bird feeders. The apple juice ornaments were hanging proudly while it appeared some of the feeders had been getting nibbled.
Before we headed in for the day, it was time for natural play. While some kids stayed in the woods, others went on a tracking adventure and others checked out the rock pile, though it is now more of a "snowy glacier" according to the kids.
I guess we will see if the glacier makes any movements next time. :)
UPDATE: As shown below, our first batch of natural color cubes was placed out in our natural play area today. More to come!