I don’t generally suggest activities for my students to do during forest play time. My students are fairly self-directed and only occasionally a student might need a little thoughtful teacher questioning to decide on an activity for the afternoon.
It is pretty exciting to see students taking initiative for their own learning, planning their activities and gathering the necessary supplies prior to heading for the forest. When students are this engaged in their learning, when they find their voice … because you gave them the power of choice and taught them how to make good choices … things are pretty magical.
Last week I had an older art-minded student haul out a variety of tools because she was inspired to sketch the new growth and the flowers she was eyeing, smelling, feeling …
As a result, I don’t usually purchase books with lists of outdoor nature activities. Instead, I focus my energy on reading books that explain the benefits of or theory behind nature play. However, as the kindergarten teacher I am tasked with welcoming new preschoolers, kindergarten students, and soon-to-be parents to the school. This year, I decided to start educating parents on the benefits of nature play before their children even entered school. I spent an allocation of the budget on books for the parents … and this is one of the fabulous books that I found:
I wish I could show you some of the pictures within the book, but you’ll have to head on over to Amazon to see the preview.
I love this book because for a busy parent/teacher there are a lot of beautiful activities that you can do with only a handful of supplies.
Project #24 of 70 in the book is “Make a Fairy or Fish Stick.” The idea inspired me and I asked a handful of my students to collect “funky/twisty” sticks during our forest play one afternoon. After a trip to the dollar store to get whatever caught my eye I had the ingredients for magic-making.
Then, I invited the 3-4 year-olds and their parents to create fairy wands at our welcome to school event. I even had our principal making one!
Recently, the teachers at my school ventured to Telegraph Cove, British Columbia for our professional development day. We had a wonderful time exploring Vancouver Island and all of the amazing possibilities it holds for our students. And, of course … I brought the magic-making ingredients!
This book is true magic because it inspires both the young and the old!
I will leave you with the two wands that I created myself (I was so engaged in the play that I forgot to take a picture of the children playing, woops!).
1. Magic fairy twigs (the twistier the better!)
2. 20 gauge wire
3. Yarn or embroidery thread
4. A variety of beads / sequins
6. Dollar store jewellery (the stars you see above are simply dollar store bracelets that I cut)