House plants need watering?
Pro-tip#1 Set them all together in a place tat can get wet. Set out a large bowl, pot, or bucket with water. Put out a small measuring cup or other vessel for transferring water. Be sure to use a small pouring vessel or this will be over immediately. Invite your child to give the plants a big drink.
When a child asks a "big" question
Break it down and try to figure out what it is that is really being asked. Let them ask the next questions, rather than feeling the need to tell them everything you know about the subject.
By Natalia Pareja, Acorns teacher
Setting the stage for play can be as simple as hanging up a blanket.
If you hang it straight up and down, you have a home theater.
The children love to act out the stories they have heard over and over again. You may take the role of the narrator, but if you’d rather, play the audio recording of one of our stories while they act it out.
If children are familiar enough with the story, this could be a good time for them to direct their own and put on a play- I am sure they can find a talented cast of actors among their toys (or willing adults).
If you let it hang on two sides- a home or a fort!
The allowance of solitude and undirected play is important for children, these spaces provide that.
Simple additions, such as a log to sit on, a small table, a chair, even an upside-down box, give life to this home.
With a little love, you will be surprised at how these simple homes invite independent and imaginative play.
Creating Plant Rainbows
By Amalia Smith-Hale, Elderberries teacher
Take a walk around your neighborhood or a local park. Take a moment to observe all of the plants and flowers in bloom around you. Can you find a plant of every color of the rainbow?
How many different shades of green can you find? What difference can you observe between each of the plants? How do they feel? How do they smell? How is their shape different or similar?
Creating Rock Rainbows
By Lauren Newey, Cattails teacher
When you look closely and compare rocks, you can see that they are all colors of the rainbow. On a wander with a child, ask them to find all of the colors of the rainbow in the rocks they collect. If you get them wet, the colors change.
Creating a Rainbow Indoors
When indoors send your child to find objects that are the colors of the rainbow. Search the house to make a color arrangement!
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink
By Natalia Pareja, Acorns teacher
If only for one moment
My feet could leave the ground.
The breeze below
My arms spread wide.
I’m off into the sky.
What a hoot,
to ride inside my parachute.
Simply tie off the corners of a bandanna, napkin, silk handkerchief (or the like) using yarn, string, or thread onto a stick, cloth, or another item. Delight in watching your child take off with the wind, discovering flight and gravity.
These are fun thrown into the air or held in hand!
By Heather Young, Waterstiders teacher
A little brown bulb went to sleep in the ground.
In her little brown nightie she/he slept very sound.
Old King Winter raged and roared overhead,
But the little brown bulb did not stir in her/his bed.
Then came Lady Spring
tip-toeing, tip-toeing over the lea,
fingers to lips as soft as can be.
Then the little brown bulb she/he lifted her/his head,
slipped off her nightie and jumped out of bed!
Children often enjoy playing this game over and over again. They also may enjoy playing the game with the adult getting under the blanket, or with both of you getting under the blanket to spring out together!
We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of soft pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.
We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, "Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake;"--
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.
We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The Did You Know Project
Posted by Erin Boehme
Did you know that every day there is something to wonder about?
It’s true! What can you discover about the birds, beasts and plants that live around you? What do your children have to share about their relationship to nature?
You can start a “Did you know?” board in your home.
Say “huh?” instead of “no”. Become comfortable with not knowing.
Allow your children to lead the discovery. The answer is less important than the journey. Honor the relationship that is being built between the human and nature. We promise it will be magical and much more fun than seeking facts adult style…borrrring. Hold the answer, you can do it.
Allow imaginative, creative and playful facts and stories to thread through your board.
My daughter was the Antelope when she was 5 and her “Did you know?” stated: “Did you know that antelopes have 5 legs, that is why they run so fast.” True, the Pronghorn Antelope is the fastest land mammal in North America.
Children know things: There’s no need to make corrections of their "facts" Children also grow up and they can iron out the details later. What’s important is that children get to keep the connection now.
The Beginner's Mind:
If you are a seasoned naturalist, use the beginner’s mind when you practice collecting “Did you knows?” with your children.
If you are truly a beginner or truly in beginner’s mind, celebrate! You are about to embark on an exciting journey.
Add drawings to your board: some things need to be expressed in pictures.
Not you friends: Google and scientific/environmental studies are not the right resources for this project.
Your friends: Keen observation(even out the window while you wash dishes) long walks, curiosity, field guides, stories and phone calls to grandparents and friends. Pssst, secret...grandparents like to be asked lots of questions about nature, they’ve been around a long time).
This is not a homework assignment: Please do not treat this like an assignment, get a couple started, model by being curious, put up "Did you knows?" when they happen, this is an authentic wonder moment, enjoy!
Caution: Once you start this project could go on your whole life!
When you look really closely, all mirrors
look like eyeballs.
What room can no one enter?
What kind of hair do oceans have?
What fish only swims at night?
A star fish
What invention lets you look right through a wall?
By Tyler Starbard, Dandelions teacher
Take a look at all the various pieces of debris on the ground around you somewhere outside.
Notice how many there are, and all of their shapes, sizes and types. Now seek to rearrange them to build a face.
At first you may just see sticks, pebbles, leaves, and seeds; but suddenly an eyeball pops out at you, then a second, and probably a third if you are aiming to create a triclops.
Before long you are intently scanning for that perfect smile shaped twig or the right material to use as hair, along the way you may pause to say hi to brother ant and might even get down on your knees for a closer look.
The pieces come together and take on an earthen character, and just like that you’ve built new relationships with the world around you.
The Elm tree becomes the Eyeball Seed Tree and the name opens a deeper relation to that species.
Empathy then grows for the often overlooked tiny pieces of Earth.
Enjoy the simple details in a creative new way. This activity makes both you and the face you have built smile.
Express yourself and let your child take interest through seeing the fun in turning rocks into noses!
By Jenn Sepulveda, Elderberries teacher
Our wanders through Nature nourish us on so many levels. When I’m out and I feel overflowing with the beauty that unfolds before me at each step, I often want to reciprocate. I want the land to know that I’m witnessing the generous offering of gifts(the breath of the wind rustling leaves and grasses, the dance of sunlight through the morning dew dipped spider webs, the sustained chorus of birds and insects, the intricate patterns of leaves and petals and seeds…).
I want to acknowledge and give back… but how? Here is one suggestion that I particularly enjoy:
When you’re out exploring with your child in your own back yard or in the nearest open space, consider making a practice of honoring the places you frequent by leaving behind a bit of beauty for Nature to enjoy.
Wild Roots staff authors include Erin Boehme, Lia Grippo, CJ Cintas, Anne McCarthy, Tyler Starbard, Jenn Sepulveda, Heather Young, Amalia Smith Hale, Natalia Pareja...