The first thing we heard as we woke this morning was the sound of rain on the roof, it was steady and rhythmical, but as the time to head to kindy drew nearer it cleared….but as always the children arrived prepared for what ever might eventuate – I think some may even have been a little disappointed by the lack of rain today!
It wasn’t one of those days that you were ever confident it wasn’t actually going to rain, but it left us alone for the whole session, and only returned as we finished packing up the last of the yard. It was the perfect day to gently introduce our new group of children to the outdoor kindy experience.
They arrived to the campfire burning steadily, and a yard full of exciting loose parts, natural and recycled materials to explore. Many of the parents stayed around this morning and helped their children settle in, although it seemed a little more like their reluctance to leave may have actually been motivated more by their desire to explore, discover and play with their children. It was wonderful to see many of the children working closely with their mums or dads as they investigated the many invitations to play that were available to them.
The large hebel blocks which needed to be sawn into smaller more stable pieces were a huge draw card at the beginning of the day.
The strength, determination and perseverance shown by many of the children as they discovered the most effective ways to use the saw, and the looks of pride on their faces as they eventually managed to cut through the large blocks was priceless.
It was a shared sense of pride as friends and family cheered on their massive efforts during this challenging task.
Part of our preparation for outdoor week involves planning and sourcing a range of natural and recycled/repurposed materials and presenting them in ways that will invite the children to explore, and discover their hidden potentials. It was testament to the thought that went into the planning and presentation of it all, that with in a few hours, the outdoor environment was transformed from neatly presented piles of loose parts to a yard buzzing with excitement and activity, the loose parts and materials being explored, transformed and put to use for the most amazing things….
Hay bales, stumps and planks were manipulated and moved around the yard to create play spaces, the level of risk and challenge managed by the children themselves as they tested if their structures were stable enough to provide the support needed, yet still provide the level of risk they crave to make it great fun.
Bamboo gutters were used to make over sized ‘marble runs’ for the hundreds of giant gumnuts we collected from the park last week, as well as water runs…..sometimes both at once.
As well as to create some fantastic structures which seemed like amazing feats of balance.
Plastic tubing, funnels and buckets were collected and the tubing threaded through the over sized easels to create some amazing discoveries about how and when water would move through the tubes, how much water it took to fill containers, most effective ways to collect water from other parts of the yard to use at the make shift water wall.
Wool and sticks were explored in many ways – from small scale stick wrapping around the campfire, to giant spider webs that engulfed much of the yard, to spider web wrapped cubbies that took pride of place in the yard.
A pile of stones was transformed into a stunning snake which slithered its way for meters along the concrete path.
It was then stunningly patterned and decorated with coloured rocks, which contrasted beautifully against the black stones.
Coloured rocks were counted and sorted, patterned and grouped. Such a seemingly simple invitation to play, yet one that was filled with the most amazing fine motor, gross motor, literacy and numeracy exploration.
Of course we also did some cooking on the campfire…..
Fruit toast spread with lashings of butter.
Sausages cooked over the fire.
We officially christened our new pizza oven with some delicious pizzas.
And of course finished the day with sweet sticky gooey toasted marshmallows.
There was real work to be done – like washing the dishes…
and getting together with friends to pack away the yard…
There were group times and rest times – all outside of course…
and of course no outdoor kindy day would be complete with out mud. So what will children do if there is no rain to create mud? Make their own of course! I believe this was actually a tiger trap, and there seemed to be no shortage of either workers to create the sticky gooey mud, or tigers to become trapped in it!
I think we are all ready for a good nights sleep in preparation for another fun (and possibly rain) filled day tomorrow !!!
Written by Nic