Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gnomes, puddles and horses.

Blocks on the grass in the sun.
Today began with some new blocks and dry warm grass making a great surface to play on.  Teacher Jen and I were going to head to the barn to see the new chicks and check on their growth-but the sun was out-so we changed gears to have as our hiking goal a big puddle we had seen another day.  The wagon was loaded up with lunches and we were off.

As we usually do-we split into color groups.  This helps the kids to work together as small groups and also to connect more closely with their fellow TOP kids.  A group of 6 is a big difference from 12-as we  know as adults.  Imagine a dinner party of 12 and then visualize one with 6 people.  The smaller group means a quieter time, closer interactions and perhaps a bit of warmth as well.  Humans usually connect more easily with a smaller group.
Attempting to carry Teacher Jen's backpack.  It's heavy!
The yellow group pulled and pushed the wagon along-it was heavy with lunches and the water we were bringing along to wash hands.  Most kids took a turn-but for some it was just too heavy.  Many were anxious for their turn and others tried to sneak a ride on the water cooler-making the wagon even heavier.  But still they persevere-waiting their turn and pulling and tugging the wagon along the trail.
Anton and Michelle chatting in Russian as they walk along
The blue group took a different trial and stopped and climbed a tree along the way-knowing that we wouldn't be moving as fast as they were with our wagon load.  One of the kids said "We are excellent climbers!"  And they are!

During circle time, Teacher Jen told us that she had arrived early at the park and had re-hidden "Santa - The Gnome."  She gave us a clue about where in the park it was and where it wasn't.  We all stopped and thought for a minute - using the maps in our heads - to try and envision where the gnome might be now. While we hiked we looked and looked.    We were told some more hints.  He was hidden 5 feet from the side of the trail. (we practiced how far 5 feet was-5 steps)   Pretty soon one of the kids found him sitting by a big tree.  He got a ride in the wagon after that-and sometimes the kids wanted to hold him.  Valentina and Michelle "held hands" with the gnome for a while-each on taking a hand of the plastic fantasy creature.

Lunch was on a lawn speckled with flowers.  The kids are learning that they can pick the flowers in the lawn but not the ones in the forest.  Oh did I mention-the Trillium Flowers are in bloom.  We saw 3 pink Trilliums along our hike. I can remember the name because of the tri part of the word.  They are a beautiful 3 petaled flower native to the region.

Watching the horses work in the corral.
We did indeed find the big puddle on the Powerline Trail and splash and walk through the water.  On the way back there were horses going through their paces in the corral.  They came up to us and let us pet them.  One of them did some tricks for her owner.  We were duly impressed!

FYI- I've been given the wonderful opportunity to review a new nature book on my blog called Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth.  I will be reviewing the book this coming Monday, April 29th.  I'm excited for my first adventure into expanding my blogging world!

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