Saturday, January 17, 2015

Let Them Wander

Most of our outdoor time lately has been spent climbing on our plow-made snow mountain. This always provides a great place to burn a lot of energy and use a lot of muscles in a short period of time. There are always great imaginative games going on. Mountain climbing, rescuing, capturing and other adventurous ideas that naturally take place up high on a mountain. 

A couple days this week we were outside a little longer and the children started to do a lot of sitting and looking bored. I suggested that anybody who was interested could take "a hike" down to the woods, as long as they could still see me. The group on Thursday was especially adventurous and I eventually had to tell them they had gone far enough. 

"Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion. Nature can frighten a child, too, and this fright serves a purpose. In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace."
 — Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

I love being able to zoom in from far away and get a better idea of interactions. 

Children need space away from adults to feel like they can have their own conversations. 
They feel grown up and trusted. 

Decades ago children were always outside in their neighborhoods exploring for at least half the day without adults. We have taken that away from children. Children are losing the opportunities to work things out with their peers without adults swooping in to "help" them solve their conflicts or give them the "right" words. 

Several times I saw one child turn and look back to make sure that I was still there. 

The world must seem so big out there with no adult. 

 For More of the Outdoor Play Party and these homemade Bird Feeders at 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Balancing Act

The best part about having my own program is following the children's lead. That doesn't mean that I don't have a plan for each day. It means that sometimes the children's interests steer us in a different direction and that is okay. 

It was very clear by 8:30 a.m. that these little bodies needed to be MOVING today.

 Think quick! 

How do I keep them busy until outside time?  

Give them something to stand on and jump from.

As more children started to gather. I realized we needed more supplies.

I sent a couple children into other areas to gather my requested materials.

They had so much fun experimenting and moving.

Lots of moving. A little bit of risk assessment. Math. Science. Problem Solving. What a "productive" day!

I am hoping they will gather the materials on their own next time the have the wiggles.