Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The Outdoor Preschool found out today what happens when there are big winds at Farrel McWhirter Park!  The TOP kids snuck up on a big tree that had been blown over this weekend.  Wow!  Luckily there weren't any winds today-just lots of rain!

TOP had its own Olympics today!  We learned about the 5 Olympic rings-some people colored their own rings and we also had our own mini Olympics.  The kids had to balance on a log, jump off a rock, run around a tree and find a spider web to name a few.  We had fun with our Olympic games as we hiked through the park.

Oh yeah!  We also found an animal skull and jawbones with teeth intact.  Teacher Ann will be trying to figure out what animal they might be from!  If you have any suggestions or knowledge it will be appreciated!  The teeth are really sharp and the jaw is quite big.  Opossum has been suggested.  Hmmm....

Owls Hooting in the Woods!

We heard the hoo hoo-ing of owls today.  As we walked through the forest we tried to find them.  We looked up high into the trees and hooted back at them hoping they would respond.

This website has what I think is close to the sound we heard.  Possibly a Great Horned Owl.  And here is what their hooting sounds like.

As we walked along the trail, stopping to play in new and old favorite places, we began to hear the sound of voices, children voices.  And there was the blue group-hidden among the downed trees and bushes.  We had to climb over and under trees to get to them.  The kids were excited to find each other and I could hear the talking about the owls hooting in the trees above.

There was some stump climbing,
 and mud stomping along the way also!
 Oh-and we got to have lunch in the sun!  Hooray for the sunshine!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day fun!

It's the day before Valentines Day and The Outdoor Preschool is ready!  We began by stamping and gluing and cutting to make special valentines for whomever-some for their mommies and some for "me!"  Then we sang a Valentine themed song: The Beatles "All You Need Is Love."  So if your little one is singing "Love, Love Love" -that is what they are singing about.  Next we voted on where to hike to.  It was almost unanimous to go explore the stream/trail over by Mackey Creek.

We headed over there with 10 very excited preschoolers.  When we got to our special stream trail we found that we could get through further then we usually could.  We all decided to plunge through the mud and brambles and see where it would go.  Teacher Roo said that we were like Lewis and Clark on a big adventure.  At the end of the trail we found hummocks of dead grass to play in.  (see the video above)  It was like walking or jumping on a trampoline and so soft to fall into!

After lunch we gave out valentines and then were treated to Menchie's Frozen Yogurt for free!  Menchie's is promoting their new location in Redmond near Whole Foods and gave us all free frozen yogurt to try!  Thanks Menchie's!  We all enjoyed the treat!
Attn TOP Parents:
Next week on February 18th begins the early registration for spring TOP.  Current families have 2 weeks before new people can sign up for spring.  If you want to register your child for next fall, 2014, registration will begin on March 18th.  You can register at midnight if you want to be sure to get a spot....

PSS: I just want to remind TOP parents that we have a 15% discount at Oakiwear.  You type in TOP to the discount section.  They make great waterproof pants and boots and other outdoor wear for kids.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bothy Bags to keep us warm.

Bothy bags are survival tents and last week we used one!  Teacher Roo brought her Bothy Bag to TOP thinking that we might want to warm up since the weather was in the low 20's.  After making our valentine bags inside our own little Farrel House, we marched outside to run around and have fun with the balls and wagon.  Soon it was time for circle time and Teacher Roo taught us all how to set up the Bothy and get inside it.  It seemed like a magic trick to get all of us into that small space.  We crowned in and put the sides of the Bothy under our bottoms.  Not everyone was keen on the idea of squeezing in there-but we all managed.  Pretty soon we were singing the Good Morning song and taking off our gloves and hats. The Bothy held in our natural warmth making it possible to tell stories and sing many songs in spite of the fact that the ground below us was frozen.

After coming out of the Bothy and getting everyone's gloves and hats situated again, we headed out together to find the frozen parts of the park.  There was ice to break and smash and slide over.  There was our favorite hill to slide down, logs to balance on and cool bubbled frozen bits next to the streams.
Everyone kept moving and no one complained about the cold!  We did eat lunch indoors-the first time in 2 years. These kids are hearty, dressed warmly and fun to be around!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bellis the Cow, Mud and Ice!

We were lucky to have a special time with Bellis the cow and Farmer Elise today.  Farmer Elise talked to us while she brushed Bellis and changed out her water.  Bellis seemed to enjoy being taken care of and we enjoyed watching her use her long tongue to lick the clean water.  Bellis is pregnant and due to give birth any day now.  One of these days we will arrive at Farrel McWhirter to meet a new calf!  How exciting!

There was ice on the mud and mole hills today.  The kids picked up ice crystals and some wanted to take their ice home.  I wonder how long it lasted in the car?
Some of the kids found the mud and tromped around in it.  Others wanted to climb on the "castle."  The castle is a big Douglas Fir stump with lots of climbing possibilities. 

The blue group today ended up on a very long hike around the perimeter of the park.  Don't be surprised if you little blue TOP kid is very tired today!

We ended the day eating in the mild sunshine.  Please know that we are doing our best to keep the TOP kids warm.  We kept on the move today with fun games like Red Light, Green Light, Blue Light and Yellow Light!  (You can ask your kids what we do when the other colors are called! ) We also learned to swing our arms around and did some jumping and dancing.  If the weather gets too cold on Thursday we have the option to eat lunch indoors.  If you have hand warmers I recommend you open them at home before you leave so they are starting to get warm when you arrive.  They can take an 1/2 hour to warm up.  Then they last for 4-8 hours afterwards!

Thank you for trusting your kids to TOP during this winter session!  We are still having lots of fun in the cold!