Into the Woods
By Miss Amanda
Lately I have been taking the children out into the forest for some of the morning play. It is interesting to note the changes in play as we move from the play yard out into the woods. In the play yard I noticed that I have to do a lot more interjecting telling the children not to rough house, snatch or fight over toys. Most of the play I see is media based pretending to be transformers, characters from frozen, ninja turtles, or some other show. But this all changes when we step into the forest. Things become calmer and I can remove myself from the children’s play observing them instead or redirecting them. There are no longer toys to fight over or snatch from one another. I have noticed that the play itself is less media based and more imaginative and creative. The children welcome the play to everyone instead of just one or two friends. Depending on where we play in the woods the children pretend they are a family, they pretend to eat breakfast together then depart to their job. Some gather/prepare for their next meal, others take care of their sick child, or make a fire to stay warm. Sometimes the children like to pretend a log is their ice cream store, the children search around finding different rocks, plants, acorns, and sticks to be different flavors of ice cream. Other times they are lost dogs in the woods trying to find their owners. Even the younger children join in the play imitating what their friends are doing and adding their own twist. I usually only interject to tell the children that there are getting too far and need to keep the play at a closer distance. We are very lucky to have such a great outdoor environment for the children to play and explore.
“There's no way that we can help children to learn to love and preserve this planet, if we don't give them direct experiences with the miracles and blessings of nature.” - Anita Olds