Using our senses at Green Lakes!

For the third week of the winter session we explored Green Lakes State Park! This park as a fascinating history and the lakes are extremely rare, so it gave us lots to discuss. The snow was extremely easy to pack so as soon as the kids got out of their cars they started making snowmen and rolling the biggest snow balls they could. 

Once we were organized and together we discussed our theme of the week, using our senses! Along our walk we stopped to use each sense. The kids felt all of the different types of bark, listened to the many sounds in the park, looked for hard to find creatures, and got to smell and taste different forest edibles.  

Along on walk we kept hearing a Pileated Woodpecker! It took a long time but we finally spotted it as it flew to a different tree! On our way back one of the kids spotted a rare winter site, a spider!!!

See it up there! It was the tiniest little spider crawling along the snow. The kids thought it was fascinating, until it started crawling towards them! This enabled us to talk about how we have been seeing early signs of spring this year, last weeks eastern bluebirds and this week a spider and new tree growth. 

After our walk the children all made little wind chimes and worked on their fine motor skills. Of course I forgot to take pictures of it! Next week we will be making some forest art at the Woodchuck Hill Field and Forest Preserve, come and join us!

Going on a Squirrel Hunt and Fairy Houses

This week we visited the Chittenango Falls State Park. The kids first wanted to check out the semi frozen waterfalls and we discussed how the water freezes as it falls to form the ice.

 Brandy taught us about the different squirrels that live in our area and now to look for signs of them. The snowfall from the previous night was light and fluffy, which made the hiking easy on the kids. Along our walk we looked out for signs of animals in the snow and places to make fairy houses. 

After adventuring and finding many places to build we settled on making the houses under the exposed roots of a tree at a frozen stream bed. 

The frozen stream made for an excellent impromptu sensory experience. They pushed all of the snow off, used it as an ice skating rink and then broke up the ice. After they had piles of broken ice (there was no water underneath) which they used to make different structures with. 

The kids got to observe a whole flock of Eastern Bluebirds with binoculars! They are defiantly not supposed to be here until spring but we were happy to observe them, and they were curious about our little flock of happy children also. 

The fairy house was complete! The ice shards made lovely couches and the children used their imaginations to gather supplies and make a cozy shelter for any local fairies. 

Next week we will be at Green Lakes State Park where we will explore using our senses to observe the natural world around us and make wind chimes!

Winter Tree Study

The first class in our Winter Session was spent exploring Woodchuck Hill Field and Forest Preserve. The children made observations about everything they discovered in the snowless forest. Brandy taught us how to identify local trees when there are no leaves to help us! 

When there is no snow in the winter it makes the forest extra special. You can see right through the trees and the forest floor is a treasure trove. The little adventurers collected many of these treasures and we discussed what they all were. 

This particular wild area there are numerous extra special trees growing. Weird growths, trees that do not belong in our state, different kids of trees growing twisted together. 

On this land there is a mysterious tree house that the children love to climb in to and imagine what it was used for. It even has a chimney and bunk beds so they always have some amazing ideas!

February 18th we will be going back to this wild area to see what has changed and to create some forest art!