Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nurturing Acorns: Trees!

Nurturing Acorns started with plenty of time outdoors. While the weather is nicer, we'd like to be outside while we can. The topic was trees, so we collected various tree items we found around the grounds--fallen leaves, acorns, seed pods, helicopters, sticks, and more.

Then the children put them together to make different nature faces. Look at all those teeth lined up! Each was quite colorful and unique! While we gathered and created our found art objects, we talked about the different trees we found, parts of trees, colors, changes, and more. We did many activities from the Handbook of Nature Study September Grid, such as taking a walk to look for acorns and seeds, eating fall fruits, and taking a photo by a tree. These are always fun challenges that help us investigate nature in more depth. It's easily scalable, too. The activities are good for younger children or more challenging for older children. It encourages hands on observation and learning.

We explored the trees nearby, finding a perfect little hole to store acorns or find shelter. We examined things, shared our findings, and made hypotheses about what we found.


We pulled out music and movement items and wondered what it would sound like and look like to have leaves falling to the ground. 

We went on a special walk to find a Tulip Poplar tree, with the uniquely shaped leaves and bright colors. We touched the bark of another tree and talked about the different textures we found.

We examined fallen logs, looked under them, and explored what happens as trees turn back into soil. We found heart shaped leaves various places! 

Inside, we had a tree discovery box and read a few stories. While the textures and items were cool, the kids really liked the milkweed seeds, even though they are not from a tree. 

For snack we had little "shrubs" with branches, roots, soil, and a cloud in the air. We also used leaf stamps, rubbing plates, and crayons, for various creations. 

There were a few other variations, such as these face cards! Loved the natural elements. The About Face Card Game Activity gave us open-ended play and ideas for more nature faces. We had other options, like stringing wooden beads on pipe cleaners. Small hands need practice with fine motor skills.

Outside, we made trees with building materials.


These two worked together to make a wooden car! 

Hopping, balancing, building, negotiating risk, and more rounded out our morning! What a fun time to spend in nature with preschoolers!