Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh Deer!

We started out our nature preschool program looking out the wildlife viewing window. It's always nice to look at the squirrels climbing the trees, wondering if they are looking at us as well! We started out stamping things related to deer in our nature journals, like tracks, trees, and leaves.

We made fun little habitat hats from Growing Up Wild, talking about the four things that all animals need: food, space, shelter, and water. These are our basics as well, which we discussed. For story time we read a few books, though the kids were ready to explore and play. We had leather, sinew, rawhide, and antlers to touch and feel as well. Later we went on a hunt to find animals related to deer in the nature center. These are a few books I like on deer for younger ones: 
Deer,  Whitetail Deer , and Jim Arnosky's All About Deer . We also looked at
Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) and Tracks, Scats and Signs . These are both good books for animals and tracks!

We found caribou, antlers, and elk!

We touched deer hair, looked at the tracks, found sinew being used in the wigwam, and looked at the fawn, talking about how fawn have virtually no scent and have spots that help them be camouflaged. We talked about deer we had seen recently, such as one working hard to cross the road and avoid our car the other day. 

On our hike, we looked for those things that all animals, including deer, need, like water and food! 


We also found space and shelter! We turned our hats around as we found each of the items that make up a habitat.


We also explored tree stumps and big fallen logs.

They found some food the deer might eat and helped the deer feel at home in the woods! 

It was a beautiful fall day and the woods are changing regularly! Inside, we made deer sandwiches after we washed up, using pretzels for antlers. These must be male deer. 

Later, we played with a few deer animals and play dough. The deer toys were the hit of the day as the children really enjoyed the baby and the dad, as they kept calling them. 

As we spent some time looking at native groups, we also strung some beads, which turned into stamps for the play dough. We played with rocks as well, matching rocks with letters to the letter on the alphabet chart. 

Nature can help us build literacy skills! 

Play dough, loose parts, and imaginative play is where it is at!