After last week’s Arctic chill, this we were ready for the change in temperatures this week. It was positively balmy out! We were so happy to be back in the park and the children seemed to be as well. As inconvenient as our January snowfall has been for us adults to shovel and drive in and shovel again, it has certainly given us a lot of play value. With the temperatures warming up above freezing at points this week, the snow melted down enough to be great for packing. In fact, on Monday and Tuesday the snow was so wet it was almost too heavy to build with. However, the children used their ingenuity and figured out how to make it work. The snow might have been to heavy to build into a snowman, but the got to business rolling as many huge snowballs as they possibly could. Before long, the outline of a snow fort starting taking place. Elsewhere in the field, some of the children decided their snowballs should be a snow-motorcycle. Later in the week, when the temperatures dipped below freezing again, the children were stumped when the snow wouldn’t pack once again and they couldn’t continue to work on their projects. Fortunately, some friends brought some shovels to the park and demolition began! It took most of the morning but they broke down all of the snow they had labored so hard to build up. It’s always fun when mother nature cooperates with us and creates her own little science experiment for the children to explore.
This week was so warm that we decided to forgo the tent and and returned to eating our snack on the picnic table. The beginning of the week was so wet, we would have all been sitting in water anyways, so we were happy with our decision. However, it was still cold enough that most of the children were thankful to have snack mittens on hand and put them to good use.
After snack we adventured off to our play sites. It’s hard to believe that it’s week 3 already and next week means the start of a new topic of focus and new play sites. This week we said goodbye to Squirrel’s Den and to the Sandy Sliding Hill. Sliding was once again a preferred activity for most of the children at Sandy Sliding Hill. The morning was filled with giggles and shrieks as they flew down the hill. There was also a certain amount of grumbling and complaining. It takes a lot of effort to climb back up a hill that’s covered shin deep in soft and slushy snow. It was a considerable challenge for the younger children in particular. However, their desire to slide usually outweighed their frustration and they persevered in the climb. Fun can be such a great motivator. Especially when their friends are quick to offer guidance and encouragement, often even going so far as to wait for the slower children to make it to the top before they all slid down together in a long, giggling train.
At Squirrel’s Den this week, our biggest focus was all on the ice. There’s something overwhelmingly alluring about a snow and ice covered creek. I estimate that it took somewhere between 7 and 7.5 seconds for the children to migrate to the edge, sticks in hand and start exploring. A cautious examination by Miss Krystal gave the children the go ahead to step out onto the surface of the creek. It was a challenge to find sticks with all the snow on the ground but the children were very motivated and before long they were clustered along the edge of the creek, knocking pieces of ice off the edge of the frozen creek. On Wednesday the children were eager to resume their play but before we could reach Squirrel’s Den, one of the children noticed some tracks in the snow. A deer had been through the park in the night and the snow clearly showed their path. “Where did it go?” Miss Krystal asked and so our adventure began. Down a less traveled path we went, under a fallen juniper and down to the bank of the creek. “Did they go across the creek?” We had to keep following to find out. Across the frozen creek we went, and up the far bank. It was a lot of fun trekking off our regular path. We thought about continuing up the hill but once we reached the path, some of the children were so delighted to find themselves right at the exit to Squirrel’s Den via an unexpected route that they lost interest in the deer tracks and into Squirrel’s Den we went. The creek was still frozen so the children quickly went back to work on breaking the ice. “I’m not destroying the ice Miss Krystal, I’m freeing the creek!” laughs on child, stick in hand. By the end of the day, the children were sopping wet, but most of the creek was free!
**With the weather network calling for high’s of 3 degrees all week, PLEASE remember to pack those extra gloves. Two pairs are an absolute minimum in weather as warm as this, with so much snow left to play in. Often the children soak through their first pair before snack! If you can pack three pairs, that’s even better!