This past weekend I took some time to browse through past blog entries. I noticed certain seasonal rituals and appreciations repeat themselves year after year. Every fall, right about now, I renew my love of the forest and trees.
As an adult on an elementary school calendar, September is always a month full of new beginnings, logistics to sort out, and rhythms to establish. This is often hard work! By October, my students have settled in and are ready for exploration further from home base, bigger projects, and the chance to enjoy the last sunny warm afternoons before winter sets in. The forest is a perfect place for all of this. For me, spending time in the forest is calming and rejuvenating – it reminds me of things to be grateful for, puts recent stressors in context, and stimulates my senses.
Here are some past forest-themed blog posts for you to browse. Enjoy!
Children and Nature: The Forest ~ Why spending time outside, especially in forests, is crucial for children… “Upon entering the woods, the temperature drops noticeably. The sounds change – whispering leaves and the occasional bird chirp blocks any outside noises from coming in. Our foot steps are quiet on the soft needle-carpeted forest floor. The smell of moist leaves, moss, and bark filters into our noses…” (read more)
Forts and Fairy Houses ~ Discoveries and lessons learned from forest play… “We’ve discovered things that would never be possible (or allowed) in a classroom. Different thicknesses of sticks make different sounds when banged against the trunk of a mature tree. Pine needles make for a soft landing after tripping over a raised root. TONS of different mushrooms and fungi grow on the forest floor after a few days of rain, and most of them are really slimy. Pine sap is the perfect glue, but it’s better to keep it off our clothes…” (read more)
Foliage Games and Activities ~ Fun ideas for educators looking for active hands-on ways to teach students about leaves, trees, foliage, and the changing of seasons. (read more)
Zooming In: Fairy and Snail Houses ~ Fun photos and observations after several fairy and snail house building sessions with children… “Outdoor educators take note! Fairy, gnome, and snail house building ties right into lessons on observation, habitat, ecosystems, community, and respect for nature. Building miniature things will lead students to observe the intricate details of pinecones, the barbs of burdocks, the veining of leaves, and much much more…” (read more)
Welcome to the Woodlands Clubhouse ~ How the creation of a fort in the woods engaged a challenging mixed-age group of students for months after school. (read more)
A Woodlands Playground ~ Great photos and ideas for adding natural forest elements to play spaces for children of all ages. (read more)
Ticks and Poison Ivy Season ~ Adults are increasingly fearful of the dangers of being in nature… “There are many possible dangers associated with all the activities we do every day, including playing and working outside. I strongly believe, however, that the benefits of time spent outside far outweigh the risks…” (read more)