Our outdoor environment is starting to look like a giant mud pit. The soil is so water logged that even the smallest shower creates more puddles as soon as it hits the ground. Today it was cold. It was wet. It was muddy. It was challenging. It was also another day filled to the brim with learning and laughter. The children were totally engaged from the time they arrived to the time they left.
They didn’t seem to notice the weather much at all. They just got on with the important job of playing. There was plenty of exploring the properties of mud and water, and the best emergent learning opportunities you could ever wish for. Its not every day you can sit by the fire and have a discussion about liquefaction with a group of four year old boys, and know they totally get what you are talking about. Im pretty sure they wont remember that big long word. They will always remember that if you sit wriggling your boots in the mud, the water comes to the top of the mud, and the mud kind of liquefies and swallows your boots. (Then you get to pull them out with a big loud slurp!)
One day in the future, they will visit the beach. That knowledge will be transferred to a totally different environment. As they wiggle their bare toes in the sand and their feet disappear under the magically softening sand, the links in their knowledge and experiences will begin to form. Then one day, years from now, they might sit watching a news report about an earthquake. They will watch images of cars and buildings partially swallowed into the earth, and it will all make sense to them. They will know how and why that happened.
The mud pit was a very popular spot to be this morning. The muddy water was icy cold, but the lure of being able to take a running jump into it proved irresistible to many.
Even if you weren’t actually jumping and splashing in the mud, if you were close by you were going to end up covered.
Our loose bits pile was discovered by todays group and its unlimited potential began to be explored.
After the process of actually moving the heavy tires from the pile to the mud pit was achieved, they became extensions of the play.
They became a place to balance, to jump from, to jump into. A way to make it from one side of the mud pit to the other with out actually getting wet.
The planks were used for bridges in various places.
The giant cone and an old piece of pipe enticed a group of children to explore and experiment with water. One of the children created a ‘water fountain’ and a grand plan to flood the kindy yard.
His excitement was contagious as he managed to appoint himself foreman of the job, unopposed. He relished overseeing all his workers as they hauled bucket after bucket of muddy water and filled the pipe.
He gave instructions, encouragement, and lots of orders to all those that decided to be part of his plan. No one was refused entry to the game, they were all provided with some sort of job, or allowed to just watch. Some came and went, but most stayed.
They excitedly observed as they realised it would never really overflow as they had hypothesised it would. They were fascinated by the water glugging back down through the top of the cone each time the water filled right to the top of the pipe.
Eventually the pipe fell, or was knocked over by one of the over enthusiastic workers.
A few children stood it up and the game began again for a while.There was even a point where for some reason the whole structure was re engineered, upside down this time.
irrigation pipe was added, more new faces appeared, and the whole plan changed yet again.
We had several visitors today. One mum came in and made puff chicken parcels with the children.
We cooked them over the fire and got to try the sweet meat at afternoon tea, along with some sausages and potatoes.
Another mum and big sister came in and made a big pot of pumpkin soup for us to enjoy with our lunch.
We also had a couple of dads come and spend a bit of time hanging out with their boys.
There was lots of quieter times that were filled with cuddles and stories…
and sitting by the fire laughing and chatting…
There were those that found comfort in finding an activity in a sheltered spot out of the rain for a while…
or spend time swinging back and forth, in the rain, and watching what was going on from a distance…
There were slippery slidey mud patches that were perfect for a bit of fun with a friend…
There were cubbies with beautiful gardens created…
While there were many group projects happening there was also times where individual children could be found totally absorbed in their own little world and doing their own thing….
There were a few children who made some bird feeders to hang in our trees. They dissolved geletin, mixed and stirred in the birdseed and then packed it into moulds.
This sparked the idea of creating a bird feeder from clay for one young lady, and she worked away at deciding on a design, and creating her masterpiece.
There were others experimenting with the clay…
and woodwork projects were constantly evolving….
When the idea of wanting to paint the wood came up, Gen helped the children to work out how to use what we had to make paint. Crushed chalk and water worked very well…
We welcomed Kylie and Nell to the excitement of outdoor week today. Lee was unable to join us and we missed her lots. We look forward to having her back tomorrow for our final day of this terms outdoor week.
I overheard one of the boys chatting around the campfire with his mates today. “I love sitting by the fire” …pause… “Actually sitting by the campfire at kindy is AWESOME” Its hearing words like that come from a four year old that makes every second of every day so rewarding and worthwhile.
Written by Nic.