We are recruiting a new Treasurer to join the Barnacles & Bees Board of Directors! Please join our dedicated organization dedicated to creating a deep love of learning in natural spaces.
This position will be instrumental in providing fiscal guidance to our Program Director and Board of Directors in our determination to provide an inclusive learning environment for all children, regardless of financial status.
To apply, please email your resume, three applicable references, and the answers to the questions below to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Why is outdoor education important, especially for early learning?
2. What is your earliest and most fond memory of the outdoors?
3. What inspires you about this opportunity?
Download the document below for more information.
Incredible tattoo artist and former mom from the program, Krysten Dae (IG: @krystendae), illustrated these ADORABLE designs we're so excited to see on t-shirts! Local Bremerton printer, Fingers Duke, created a web page to collect orders and roll out printed tees and sweatshirts after the order deadline of August 27th. Get your orders in now- There are limited quantities of certain styles and colors... https://fingersduke.printavo.com/merch/barnaclesandbees/
We're fortunate to live in a location ABUNDANT with opportunities and ways in which we can learn from nature and connect to our local habitat. In developing a synergistic relationship with The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG), we've learned of their incredible resources and deep desire to connect with the community! Although their summer program began in June, there's still space on specific days for kids aged 7-11, to jump on board! Follow this link (7-11yr olds) or this one (12-15yr olds) to register today! Whether you participate in their programs or not, make a point to head over and check out their space!
As the end of our season approaches, we would like to share some important, some fun and some exciting news with you! With this year of COVID it has been difficult to establish a regular line of communication with our families, and to build an in-person community that supports our kiddos. We hope this newsletter helps families to visualize our learning space. Our teacher and mentor highlights will hopefully give you a birds-eye-view of our engaging time together and share some special moments.
Throughout May, the classes spent time on the themes of Caterpillars, Ants, Butterflies and Honeybees. Incorporating hands-on learning, art projects and learning about each one's life cycle and home. The sandpit was a great place to create the ants home. The kids spent time in teams constructing all the different features.
Looking Forward with COVID from the Board
Before we dive into the highlights from program, lets look at how we are tackling the rest of the program year with regards to COVID. As CDC guidelines continue to change with COVID we want to reassure you that we continue to follow, stay up to date, and take extra precautions with your littles and our staff. Our new COVID Policy now aligns with and follows the Bremerton School District guidelines. For all those details please follow the link to their website. https://www.bremertonschools.org/COVID-19
Also, our staff and volunteers will continue to wear a mask throughout the summer courses and into the fall.
Program on the Trail - from Teacher Robin
Today for our make up class we followed the sounds of drumming on the trail. The children all practiced their deer ears, and remained quiet until we heard the sounds again. When after a while we heard no more drumming, we continued in the general direction that we heard before. Again, a few steps up the hill, Paisley Cockrel followed her eyes up to the top of the tree to point out a pileated woodpecker! The woodpecker, choosing to be so high up would have deterred Lukas, Vera, Elias, and Gillian from looking up but they stuck with it. When the kiddos did lock eyes on the large bird, they were amazed at how hard it could wail its beak. Those that were named for the pileated woodpecker group, actually got to see it with their eyes, and everyone stood for a while to take in this magnificent bird. Lower down on another tree, we were able to see the massive rectangular holes left by the pileated woodpecker. It was a unique experience to link something left behind by a creature that was visible to us in that moment!
8:30 Hike to the Beach - from Meerkat Brenna
After learning the rules about heading out to the beach, the very eager children hiked down to the waterfront. As we explored new territory along the trail, the children stopped to touch and feel all that they could see, and hear the birds of the early morning calling out. The extreme low tides expanded our classroom even more, creating a huge oyster bed to explore full of creatures big and small. The kids were absolutely fascinated about peering over the edge of the dock and bridge at the crabs, barnacles and oysters below. They kept a sharp eye out for seals and fish. We were lucky enough to find some pretty good size dungeness crabs. Another fun find were the moon snail egg cases that were found everywhere! The children all settled into their own type of learning and played endlessly in the sand, checking out sea anemones in the mini tide pools and finding baby crabs under all the rocks they could flip. The entire 8:30am Wednesday had the best time, and all want to come back for more beach exploring and observation.
Skill Building Woven into the Weekly Themes in Jamaal's 9 am Class
There are skills that we want to instill at Barnacles and Bees that enrich a child's connection with nature. Jamaal and Kelli have brought together an assortment of skills that have spoken to a variety of personalities.Those that want to imagine and care for felt butterflies MADE BY Ms. Kelli can. While those that would prefer to whittle are welcome to. Those that want to look off of the meadow and listen to bird song, can, while those that want to document in their nature journals have a chance to add as many details as they wish. HIghlights of the skills, creative play, and exploration in the 9 am program look something like this:
Family Nature Play Class:
We are tickled pink to announce that our Family Nature Play class will resume this summer. Beginning June 23rd from 1-3 with our Fabulous Ms. Courtney leading our 2 hour classes with kiddos ages 21/2-6. This program will have individual registrations for each bi-monthly offering. More registration will be made available as soon as possible. Please be sure to share this with those who would be interested in sampling our wonderful program.
The details are:
June 23rd @ Illahee State Park
Summer Sensory Experience
Theme: Mossy Feet: Sense of Touch in the Summer
July 14 @ Mary E. Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve
Theme: Native Plants
July 28 @ Ana Smith Children’s Park
Hello and happy new year friends! Barnacles and Bees is kicking off 2021 with a great start and we are excited to share our learning theme for the month of January.
This month we are focusing on different animal senses. Last week we talked a lot about the sense of touch; how animals like raccoons, for instance, depend heavily on their sense of touch to move about the world. We also learned that raccoons in particular have such an acute sense of touch because they keep their hands wet. The moisture on their hands allows them to feel objects with more sensitivity. We did an activity where we had the kids close their eyes and try to guess the objects they were holding. We asked them to use descriptive words and use those clues to determine what they were touching. They had a great time pretending to be raccoons and enjoyed learning about how the five senses all serve a purpose in nature.
This week our focus is sight. We will be talking specifically about wind and the winter sky. Wind offers an abundance of observation opportunities for us to work on using our sight. We will be talking about how to use our sight for safety purposes as well; looking for fallen branches, talking about the causes, and how animals keep themselves safe too. This a great opportunity to include a safety reminder for the kids, while also having them use their observation and listening skill.
Another fun activity we have planned for sight is hiding wind chimes throughout the learning area for the kids to find. Once they find the hidden objects, we will have a discussion about what wind is, and how we can notice it in different ways while in the outdoors. We’ll have the kids talk about what it looks like when the wind is calm, and when it is strongest. We’ve made a wind scale for the kids to look at ranging from calm, to hurricane, and have a scientific discussion planned as well. We are excited to see how the kids react to this theme after responding so well last week.
It’s important to Barnacles and Bees that kids are not only in touch with nature, but also with themselves. These types of learning activities help introduce the elements of the outdoors while having to use observational and listening skills at the same time. This following poem about wind, written by Christina Rossetti, is one we plan to share with the kids this upcoming week. We hope you enjoy it too!
Hello friends! We hope you all had a wonderful and safe holiday season and are looking forward to the new year. While this past year had its uncertainty, challenges, and difficulties, one of the things that gives us hope for the new year is our wonderful team and staff. Without our board members, executive team, teaching staff, volunteers, donors, and the support of our community, we would not be where we are today.
Though we have had some setbacks riding 2020 waves, we are hopeful that we will be able to run our Family Nature play class in the summer. As most of you know, the class is free, and is for both parents and children to play and learn in nature. This was the program that started Barnacles and Bees, and is the core of what created our team’s vision. The team focus that is present in Barnacles and Bees gives us a strong foundation to set our goals and work together to meet them, and with that mindset, we have hope for 2021.
The importance of teamwork is one of the things that we strive to teach during the program; emphasizing the value of sharing, and being a strong team member to our students. Our staff are not the only team members that make Barnacles and Bees; the children are an integral part of that team as well. Watching how well the students have braved this past year has been remarkable. We could not be more proud of how they have responded to the changes such as wearing masks, social distancing, and being separated into smaller groups at the program.
It truly was a team effort from every single person involved with Barnacles and Bees to help get us back on our feet. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our Board; Krystal Meiners (Board President), Laura Ryser (Board Treasurer), Trae Whitehead (Board Secretary), Katie Swanson (Board member), Allyson Baker (board member) and our Executive team: Cyrielle Willa (Executive director) and Robin Cockrell (Director of education) as well as our Teaching Team: Reanne Rossi & Jamaal Ali, and our assistant teachers, volunteers and parents that helped get us through this year.
As we reflect and say goodbye to 2020, we are filled with gratitude for our wonderful team and are excited to see where 2021 takes the growth of Barnacles and Bees.
We hope you all had a safe and happy Thanksgiving and that you were able to get outside! We’re excited to share what’s been happening at the nature immersion program these past couple of weeks.
As we’re moving forward into the winter seasons, the theme for the past week has been “Preparing for Winter.” During drop off time in the morning, the kids have been collecting sticks, leaves and other objects they can use to build “log cabins.” Then, as we hike to the learning area, we collect more wood and dried leaves to build our “fairy fires” once we get to the shelter. They have had a lot of fun with the creativity this project offers and it is a great segue to learning about how animals prepare for Winter.
These leaf baskets are a fun project the kids can utilize to collect “food” as they’re learning about animal hibernation. After we arrive at the learning areas, we have been asking the kids to act like animals preparing for winter; such as, finding spots to burrow, nest, hibernate etc. and think about the necessary objects and tools animals would need to stay warm for a long winter. It has been a really fun and educational activity that the kids enjoy.
Fairy fires have been another huge hit during the program these past few weeks. Fairy fires are tiny fires that we build in oyster shells, using a cotton ball as the fire fuel. It has provided a creative way to demonstrate how to build a fire on a smaller-scale, while also making it a little more magical. The kids are still learning about fire safety, but they are highly engaged and entertained at the same time.
We have had lots of fun embracing the winter season and its endless learning opportunities! We look forward to continuing to spend more time learning about the changing seasons and what that means for animals and nature.
#Repost @kitsapsun We made the front page of the Kitsap Sun. Deep inhale and smile Thankful.
The chance of rain Monday was 100% with temperatures in the mid-40s as parents pulled into the parking lot of Illahee State Park to drop their kids off for school.
A heavy mist hung on the lichen laden-branches of tall cedars beneath which the children of Barnacles & Bees ( @barnaclesnbees ) outdoor education program seemed tiny dots of color in their bright rain gear.
Lead teacher Reanne Rossi led her small group down to a shelter to prepare for the day's lesson: the salmon life cycle. She reminded them of the Native Americans who have lived here since time immemorial. "Salmon to them is their life," she said.
The first activity of the day was making "salmon eggs" out of red play dough infused with scented oils. "Look another one's hatching!" said Reuben Lester, 4, showing his "egg."
Sitting beneath a cedar tree, parent mentor Kyle Kohl encouraged her small group to sniff what they could find on the ground, a pine cone, a cedar sprig.
As winter's cold has driven most people indoors, increasing the risk of COVID-19, demand for outdoor education is on the rise, said Robin Cockrel, co-founder of Barnacles & Bees and its director of education.
For the full story by reporter Chris Henry visit www.kitsapsun.com.
Click the link in the bio for a photo gallery. ( : Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)
It has been a challenging year for all of us, yet we have so much to give thanks for. Trying to navigate how to run the program during Covid-19 would not have been possible without the tireless efforts from our team and volunteers. The amount of care, love, and positive support that we have received from the outdoor community, parents, board members, and staff has been immense; and for that we are eternally grateful. There has not been a more appropriate time than now to make sure all children have safe access to the outdoors.
Being such a young organization has presented its challenges this past year. Developing and maintaining programs that are viable is a necessity. Having to stop our classes, create a different plan for the Fall, reduce enrollment and start a month later than expected has definitely impacted the team and our cash flow (see Impact Report). We want to be able to continue to provide quality outdoor educational programming for our community and in order to do that we need your help. As a nonprofit organization and charity, your donations are tax deductible. All proceeds will go towards our annual funds to support the growth of our educational programs, materials, technology, training, and scholarships.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are campaigning for Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving back to the community. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 1st, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Our goal to raise $5000 in 45 days. This is an annual day of giving that works to mobilize a global generosity movement. We wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season!
It has been a while since we have updated you on the happenings of our organization. Exciting news is that we are back in the forest, learning and playing together in person! It has been a whirlwind these past few months but we are beyond grateful for our staff and the learning community that helped us get to where we are today. This is our third year being in our forest classroom where we are learning and growing in nature together! It has been wonderful to see our friends again and we are grateful to be in such a beautiful location, rich with resources and learning opportunities. Reopening program during the pandemic has had its obstacles, however, we are taking the appropriate precautions to ensure that we can safely continue with in-person classes.
The great thing about being an outdoor school is that social distancing is already made easier.
There are also the added psychological benefits of being in sunlight and fresh air that is a necessity during this time. As an organization we are following the up-to-date CDC guidelines and have suspended our seasonal workshops for the time being. However, our nature immersion program is up and running three days a week, and we hope to re-launch our workshops and family nature play class as soon as we can.
During program we have created subgroups so that each class has a pod of five children to avoid cross contamination with other groups. We have designated hand washing times and are making sure there is no sharing of materials. While the learning curve of operating during a pandemic has been steep, we are thrilled to be in nature and giving the children an enriching and nourishing educational experience.
We are in our fifth week of program, and this week our theme is Salmon and Autumn leaves.
This is an awesome way to learn about the cycles of seasons and how animals and nature are intricately intertwined.
Last week, our focus was minibeasts! The kids loved making bug hotels, finding roly-polys, slugs, and learning about the different minibeasts that live in the forest.
We have also focused a lot on fungi. This is such a fun week because Illahee is FULL of fungi. The kids are always in awe of the different sizes, designs, and textures of fungi we find. Miss Robin brought in different types of mushrooms so the kids could safely identify and touch them. The kids had a great time cutting up the mushrooms and making paint stamps.
It has been wonderful to see our friends again and we are grateful to be in such a beautiful location, rich with resources and learning opportunities. Reopening program during the pandemic has had its obstacles, however, we are taking the appropriate precautions to ensure that we can safely continue with in-person classes.
It's been tough but we are positive. As you know our program has not been running since mid March which has caused a huge loss in our operating capital. We are now using our emergency funds to cover our Payroll expenses as the Executive team (Cyrielle and Robin) have been reviewing and adjusting our safety protocol and growth plan for the Fall while our educators (Reanne and Jamaal) worked on the curriculum.
Our Paycheck Protection Program (loan approved) was less than $5000, definitely won't cover 8 weeks of Payroll but as we said it is better than nothing! You can help our team and organization by donating here.
Hello Learning Community!
Exciting news! Barnacles and Bees has been approved for a PPP grant and we are up and running with all your favorite people, so please don't hesitate to email any questions as they come up!
And now for some ants. I don't know about you, but I have a love hate relationship with ants. I hate when they scurry into my house (where we live in West Bremerton is basically an ant hill) but I love how they pull by little ones into observing nature because it is neat to follow them and find out where they go in such a hurry. Small, common creatures are so accessible and this week we are looking at one of the smallest, and most common: The Ant.
Ants are insects which are part of the Animal Kingdom. The Family of ants makes up 8,000 species!! The black garden ant? It is one of the most common species in Europe and North America. They are very social creatures and goodness their colonies (families) are big.
What are the ant's role within their colony?
1. Queen Ant: She is larger than the other ants, and her role in the colony is to lay eggs.
2. Worker Ants: These are most of the ants, they are daughters of the Queen ant, they CANNOT lay eggs and are sterile. Work? They collect food, take care of eggs, larvae, they defend the nest, and are in charge of making the nest larger. Whew!
3. Male Ants: During warmer months, the Queen lays eggs that hatch into male ants, and new queen ants. They both have wings and only live a few months. Their job is to fly off and mate. The queens will find new sites, and the males don't live long
Also, for more information I found this really cool link, if you want to know more about how ants survive the rain, Paisley was wondering if their colonies just fill up with water. Well your questions are answered here.
1. Ant Farm
Go online and purchase an ant farm from our local Bug Museum. You will NOT regret it. I won't say "endless amounts of entertainment" but definitely will engage your little in observation and asking questions about behavior. The blue gel one, actually glows in the dark.
2. Films about ants
Humans have always been fascinated by ants. There are a few movies out. A Bug’s Life (1998, rated G: General Audiences), is one of team’s favorites :) Now watching movies is a great way to learn and open conversation about a theme with your children. Cyrielle likes to take 15 min after the movie and review a couple of facts and jot down her kids' response. What is the title of the movie? When was the movie made? Who are the main characters? What type of bugs are they? What is the movie about? Anything that will spark a conversation and a learning experience.
3. Play Dough
We (and especially I) have been finding it relaxing to create insects with play dough and then using something from outside to add elements for the ant. For the ant, I found it helpful to skewer the playdough on a toothpick - head, thorax (neck), and abdomen.
Body parts facts:
* Ant Antennae : They touch AND smell with them
* Mandibles : These are used for so many things since ants don't have forearms to help them do things. So these powerful mandibles: biting, crushing, cutting, digging, fighting, and hunting.
1- Ant Hunt:
Take with you three different vessels for collecting an ant inside and see if you can find
- An ant mound on the pavement or in the forest
- A trail of ants
- An ant carrying a piece of food (or being food, I actually saw a Northern Flicker eating some!)
Bring them home (backyard) and note the differences between the ants.
2- Using mandibles
Find some leftover cardboard and draw the outline of 2 mandibles for your kiddos, hand over some scissors, and with you present, have them cut out the shapes. With the pieces, challenge your kiddo to pick up objects with them. Share that ants use these parts of their body to pick up heavy objects and use them to pass food into their mouth.
Extra fun (not Ant related): Create a Volcano from By the Shore, Nancy Blakey
- With a shovel dig a hole in the sand*, and set a bottle inside
- Build a mountain shape covering over the bottle, cover it with bright white shells to be dyed by the lava, if you like
- Take the lid off and add 3 TB baking soda and 1 tsp of liquid dish soap with funnel
- Then finally, add 1/2 cup vinegar with red food coloring
- Stand back and watch
* it doesn't have to be sand but it is nice for packing and showing off the color you use
I hope you are all doing great, and enjoying the beautiful weather out there
Our team cares about you and misses being with you in person
Hello dear, dear Nature Learning Community,
I took a jaunt over to a new State Park today called Jarrell Cove on Harstine Island and I gotta say it was the trip I needed to ignite some State Park exploration relatively close to home. I LOVED this park, I was feeling a little fearful that Paisley was determined to have a bad time when she mentioned she hated trees upon entering the park (I'll bet she was going to a playground or the zoo...like "before the virus" as she says) but then she was quickly led by moths into meadows of daisies and being intrigued by wood shavings. At one point we ran into some bikers who were interested in her moth/butterfly carrier and he was all too ready to share about how she captured it. She also started to share about her Nature School that, when the virus was over she would be going back to every day. The lady was THRILLED to hear that Bremerton had a Nature Program for our kiddos! I felt a sense of pride while Paisley explained our Program to a stranger with passion AND relief that it is just waiting to start again!
Like the caterpillar we are all just waiting to emerge from our chrysalis to flutter about, but while in this phase we are gathering our strength and what we need to face a new world...WITH WINGS.
This week we are visiting the Animal Kingdom!
- Caterpillars are invertebrates and they are the largest group of animals compared to those with a spine.
- They have a "segmented" body, exoskeleton, and jointed appendages
- They are a type of insect which means they have three part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), 3 pairs of jointed legs, AND an exoskeleton (a nice hard exterior to keep them protected)
1- Play dough Caterpillars!
The Credit for this goes entirely to Raising Up Wild Things. I had an activity where you were going to form caterpillars with play dough but I LOVE how she uses dried flowers to add detail, and patterns for the segments of the caterpillar. You could also just use ANY nature material that you find.
If you don't play dough made, or have any, here is a recipe
Listen to a Poem: Don't cry Caterpillar from Grace Nichols
" Don't cry caterpillar
Caterpillar don't cry,
You'll be a butterfly, dash by and by,
Caterpillar, please don't worry about a thing,
"But", said the caterpillar,
"Will I still know myself - in wings""
- Go out and find evidence of caterpillars
Possible Tools: Magnifying Glass, Ruler, Nature Journal, Bug Carrier
- Look for leaves that have holes in them and see if there is a caterpillar underneath
- If you choose to take the caterpillar with you, take a some leaf that it was eating
Amanda shared with us how they witnessed the metamorphosis of a Black swallow tail butterfly. So cooool!
Here are some instructions about how to raise a caterpillar to an adult stage.
- Start this sequence as a caterpillar in an egg, on your knees and folded down, head tucked in (child's pose)
- Breath here nice and slow, in and out through the nose, waiting and being still
- Slowly start to move the head, and pop! bring the head forward not moving the body and start nibbling at the egg shell. Your first meal!
- You need to search for more food! To move, lengthen yourself out and then jump or wiggle your feet to behind your hands, and repeat 3 times or so
- When you find food to eat you are to return to your knees and nibble away using your hands.
-Now the more you eat and move around, you continue to get longer and longer until when you go to eat you are lying flat on your belly.
- You have eaten so much that you have become a huge caterpillar! Lay on your back, reach your hands to your toes and grab the big toe and rock from side to side
- Crawl one last time to find a place to be still, lay on your back and draw your knees in and wait here
- 3 breaths here and then shoot those legs up and out!
- Come to sit on your bottom and bring the feet together with bent knees, flap up and down like a butterfly!
- Get to your feet and fly around!!
I hope that you all have an excellent week!
Hello Learning Community,
I hope that you are doing great and enjoying the mix of rain and sun that we are having. It is my favorite kind of weather hands down. If you didn't get a glimpse of that beauty of a northern flicker last week, there is one in my neighborhood who, true to form, as his favorite spot...atop a metal light post snuggled in some trees beside a parking lot on high and 12th st. Check it out if you are around! Enough about birds, this week is all about the grass. Grass is EVERYWHERE on this planet (well I'm not certain about Antarctica) but the point it is that it is bountiful, grows in extreme conditions, comes back to life when killed off, AND it is the fifth largest Family in the Plant Kingdom.
Are you impressed? I am. I found out this week that it is SUPER strong. I casually tried taking some samples of long grass on my nature walk this week, and it turned into a tug-o-war in which I had to give up cause I was afraid of people becoming even more concerned about me, LOL. It's a plant that doesn't have a traditional flower but it DOES flower it just looks more like grain.
1- Grass weaving
This is super fun, and this tutorial is helpful, great fine motor skill practice if you need to be inside. Also, there are SO many of this kind of tutorials on youtube, check them out :)
2- Lay down and listen to a poem: The Grass by Emily Dickerson
The grass has so little to do
A sphere of simple green,
With only butterflies to brood,
And bees to entertain
And stir all day to pretty tunes
The breezes fetch along
and hold the sunshine in its lap
and bow to everything
And thread the dews all night, like pearls,
And make itself so fine-
A Dutchess were too common
For such a noticing
1- Clay Pots with Grass Wick: (from Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children by Walmsey and Westall)
You need some air dry clay, so hopefully you have some lying around, if not it is worth purchasing..
*before you begin, make a wick out of things you find: grass is a great option, and goes with our theme, moss, string, bark, cotton, wool. twist it together until it look like a wick (or like cigar shape)
1. Get a clay ball the size of a lemon
2. Work it into a nice ball, then take your thumb and make a indent
3. From where you put your thumb in, work it around in a circle, pressing into the edges
4. Now take thumb and forefinger and pinch a spot on the rim to create a spout (to lay the wick to rest)
5. Choose your oil: sunflower, coconut, lard
6. Lay the wick you made, half in the oil, the tip resting on the spout.
7. Dab the oil on the tip of the wick a bit, now the wick should be able to draw up the oil as it goes
8. Light her up!
2- Dew Drops on Grass
Eye-dropper in hand, a jar of water goes forth and tries to land a dew drop on a blade of grass. It is excellent for patience building, and a steady hand.
3- Bottle Filter: from Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children by Naomi Walmsley and Dan Westall
This filter works well with many layers taking out the big chunks of dirt..but WON"T remove bacteria and chemicals...you must boil the water after if you want to drink it.
1- make muddy water, or go find some in a pond (your activity might end here if you just have fun making muddy water and that's okay
2- Gather natural materials
- crushed charcoal
- wood shavings
- pine cones
You don't need all these materials, you just want a combination of small and big pieces to make some nice layers for the water to trickle through
3- Put everything together
- You need to grab a plastic bottle, piece of cloth
- cut the bottom off the plastic bottle and wedge the cloth into the neck of the bottle
- Then fill it with layers in this order as best you can: charcoal, gravel, grass, leaves, wood shavings, pine cones
- make sure that everything compacted down nice and tight. The larger particle of dirt will be snagged in the top chunkier layers, and then the smaller particles will be caught by the charcoal
That's it from me, can't wait to see what you guys are up to this week.
Survive but also thrive!
Hello Learning Community: Co-Founders, Board Member, Families in the Program
The virus may be affecting our rhythms but out in the natural world, the animals are still keeping to theirs. This is the time of year where the Northern Flickers (a beautiful bird) start drumming on trees. Here is a great video below since it is more likely you will hear them before you see them. If you would like to learn MORE about this amazing bird that will probably show its head where you are, here is a great site with information about them and more local animals. They are a really neat bird that is actually around in urban areas and forests.
Question this week..."Do woodpeckers get headaches when they hit wood over and over again?
1. Picking up "Ants" like a Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers have tongues that have sticky saliva made special for catching ants and other small bugs. One Flicker's stomach was found to have 5,000 ants inside, so they like them.
- First, you will find a string and attach a clothespin to the end of it--this is your bird's head so maybe draw some eyes on either side.
- Second, make it sticky, wrap tape with sticky side out, get creative.
- Next, spread out some sunflower seeds or something that looks like it could be ants on the ground
- All that is left to do is to dangle that string down (from whatever height you feel comfortable with) and pick one up. Collect them and see how many you can get
- Use those same clothespins and pick up sunflower seeds, or other things that could represent ants.
- You could just plop them in a tray...or you could arrange them on paper with sticky glue in a need design
2. Watching your Northern Flicker Trap:
Northern Flickers LOVE to eat ants, so if your yard abounds with them you have a leg up. But if you don't you can still lure them out, all you need to is set out peanut butter, and apple slices. Do this before a meal so that your kids can watch from the window to see the Northern Flicker that is drawn to these tasty foods.
1. Making a Bow and Arrow
from "Play the Forest School Way" by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton
This has nothing to do really with Northern Flickers, but I did think that looked like a good time and that we need to do it. I really want your FEEDBACK on this one.
2. Northern Flicker Drumming:
This one is pretty straight forward: it is experimenting with different tools and surfaces to make that woodpecker drumming sound that we all love. Now the Northern Flicker loves to project and be as loud as possible, so finding the combination that will do the trick might take some time.
Flickers also drum to puncture holes in whatever is available to find food but to also make a home. If you are so fortunate as to have a log that you can make a hole in for a home then try taking a peg and a mallet and hit it to make a hole that could be a cozy lodging for a bird...or just to make holes cause it is fun. I did this with shells the other day because my friend from Program, Odin, had inspired me a while back...except that I used metal knitting needles and it was a blast and therapeutic.
Print this email off, post it up and try some of them...that is my goal for this week.
I hope that this email finds you well and that this week begins your passionate study of birds if you have not already begun that journey
Have a great week!
Are you Interested in learning more about outdoor education, nature connection and sharing your experience with the community? Barnacles and Bees Facebook Group is live!
Hello Dear Learning Community,
I feel lucky that I get to be among the first to send something to your inbox at the start of the week, I love sending out these emails with ideas of what we could be learning together--even if the activities don't get done, and you are swept up in something more inspiring, just getting to email you and say "hi" is breaking up these weeks with news of a different theme celebrated this season. The plant life cycle. When I saw this on the docket I thought, "blah...come on give me something more thrilling like red breasted nuthatches, or raccoons (which I am seeing like all the time right now...they may take over the city with less people around--they are walking about like they own the place). But then I started looking at plants, and in detail with Paisley and I have been blown away by the simple miracle that they are and I am looking forward to seeing what you all get up to with plants this week and this season. So basically if we were in the program we would love to see kids be able to different parts of the plant. But really we, the main thing with this week is to just show an appreciation for what comes from a tiny seed planted in the ground. Like magic it just pops up, and to be able to watch those stages never gets old.
1. Yoga Poses for the Plant Life Cycle
(parents, I would give you gold stars for participating in this)
1. Down in the dirt, under the surface, a seed finds a safe place to be, and is ready to absorb nutrients: sit on your bottom, put hands behind thighs, recline slightly, and there you have your hole in the ground (boat pose)
2. Cover with dirt: Laying on the ground in a flat pose (corpse pose)
3. Sprinkle down water on the ground: Stand, with feet firm on the ground, arms up above, and then bring the water down to the ground (forward fold)
4. Roots start to establish: Sit down, balled up, and slowly push the legs out until they are straight
5. Now the stem starts to shoot out slowly: Squat down and make yourself as small as you can be, slowly uncurl and make yourself tall (mountain pose)
6. From the nodes come branches (arms out with fists for buds)
7. From the buds come leaves! Uncurl your fingers to make leaves
8. Now we need flowers: Balance in tree pose on one foot, bring hands to center, and then slowly raise them up and push out into a beautiful flower!
2. Watch a Bean Grow
A fun experiment to see a seed grow in the window:
- Take a paper towel, fold it into thirds, dampen, and slide it into a clear glass
- Press a bean seed into the towel, so it is between the glass and the paper towel
- Put the glass in the window, bean out
3. Listening to Music
- This is perfect for indoors and when you want (or need) to spend time to yourself.This song is looooooong, and could even be an amount of time that needs to pass for some reflection.
- Put on "Spring" from the "Four Seasons" by Vivaldi (we did this for Fall and it was priceless) and have them move like a plant rooted to the ground in Spring
1. Plant Diagram Collage (picture attached from Ms. Reanne!)
- Finding a weed that is available, pull out root and all to get a good look at the different parts of the plant : primary and secondary roots, stem, nodes, leaves, flowers
- Gather materials that resemble different parts of the plant (stringy grass for root, leaves, pine cone flake for seed, ect) -- I did a scavenger hunt with Paisley looking for the different elements and it was super fun.
- Then using glue and paper/cardboard you assemble a plant from root to flower out of what you have!
Attached to this email are some lovely pictures of Ms Reanne making leaf prints with plants, a hammer, a piece of cloth, and a flat surface
- All you need to do is put a plant arrangement under a cloth and smash with a hammer until you see prints coming through ---very therapeutic to be sure.
- If you would like to display, you could take toilet paper rolls and glue the cloth to each roll, string a piece of yarn through and hang. because they will be beautiful!
3. Plant Concentration Memory Game: (so fun)
from "Coyote's guide connecting with nature" p 432
This game is all about observation and recreating from memory
1. Walk around your area with your kiddos and have them help collect bits of fallen plant life off the earth floor
2. Have them turn the other way, while you arrange a picture/design with collected items, then cover your design with a bandanna, and invite your kid to swivel around
3.Tell them that they are going to get 30 seconds to look at what you have created, they are going to take a "picture" with their brain, and then they are going to have time to go and recreate that same picture in their own space
5. Now if there are in a panic because they don't remember the details then go ahead and lift a corner of the bandanna to show them quickly again
6. When everyone is done, remove bandanna altogether and have them compare
* when the kiddos get good at this, they can start taking the turn of design/picture
4. Sit Spot: Watch the Plant
At my sit spot I was thrilled. I was watching a camellia tree in our yard, which Sam has been pointing to SO often and yelling "coon!!" for "raccoon", cause we saw one once. But this time I saw a Grey Squirrel and he was picking up the flowers and licking the bottom of the large blossom. Paisley was nearby, and excited I told her, and she suggested that he was after the sweet nectar.
Have fun, stay safe, and thrive!
Hello Barnacles and Bees Learning Community,
I hope that your world is bursting with color, and that it is a welcome balm in this time NOT spent in the company of people. But as far as company goes, beautiful plants are not bad...they are great listeners, and can smell beautiful.
This week I have split the activities into three categories to keep it nice and simple: "outside", "inside", and "leave them to it"
1. Dandelion Syrup
Below are some LOVELY pictures from our dear Megan and her kiddos showing us all how to make dandelion syrup. She says and I quote "It tastes pretty good. It is very sweet." Enough Said
Step 1: Go walking and find 100 dandelions
(rest of the steps are under "inside" if you are interested)
2. Nature Headdresses:
- Create a paper headband your little one by wrapping thick paper into circle and staple in place
- attach tape sticky side out and then have them stick wildflowers to it as they go about on their walk
**Paisley did a variation of this when she had her helmet on the other day and it was so cute. She looked for every color of the rainbow and then had us stick it through each hole in the helmet
Leave them to it:
1. Flowers and Journal Time
- Tape any flowers in their nature journals and have them draw it during their sit spot time
- Try to find all the colors of the rainbow and construct one when you get home
2. Wild Flower Designs
- Take the flowers you found on your hunt, or whilst out collecting dandelions, OR if you are at a park space just use what is around you. I did this this morning and for myself, an adult, I found it very relaxing in the midst of a lot of stress. Paisley LOVED it
Megan and her family took us through the process of "How to make Dandelion Syrup"
1. Flower Pressing
Take the blossom and place between sheets of wax paper and then place something heavy on top for 7 days and see what kind of flower pressings you get.
2. Dandelion Syrup Cont'd
- Wash them thoroughly, cut the petals off and put them on a kitchen towel to dry
- When dry, put the petals in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a rolling boil for about one minute. Remove from the heat and cover. When cool, put them in the fridge to steep overnight.
- Next day, sieve the petals from the water--using a spoon to press the petals with a spoon to get all the juice out.
-Use the juice in the pot, add sugar, lemon juice and simmer, covered on low heat until it has thickened, stirring occasionally. The MORE sugar, the THICKER.
- Check consistency after an hour, did a spoon into the syrup and it will be thick enough if it sticks to the back of the spoon
- Store in the fridge up to 3 weeks
I do hope that each of you is thriving where you are planted for the time being. Speaking to our families, if you are not thriving, and you feel a lack of support, please do feel free to contact me via email. Just a drop off and pick up I want to check in with you and see how you are!
Take care out there, soak in that Vitamin D like it is going out of stock,
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Hello dear families,
I hope that all of you are continuing to adapt to this crazy world that we are living in and that you are finding a new rhythm in which to thrive. There are some definite silver linings in this time when we are driven from being with our communities in person--much like a theme for this week.
Garden Snails. Your delightful slime trails, spirally shells, and slow cautious approach out of your shell are all so intriguing. Although garden snails are able to climb up plants and eat your beautiful blooms, they also will eat all the dead and decaying plants, and as an added bonus their poop is a nitrogen rich fertilizer that will enhance your plant's nutrition!
This period of being contained more at my house has allowed me to strengthen my skills in art projects. It really has NEVER been my thing. But actually it is very much my daughter's thing. When I have invited her to come participate she has been like , "what?! really?! YES! Wait, is there glitter? No glitter?....Yes still."
1- Snails Fun Facts:
- When a snail is born, it is born WITH its shell and it grows with that shell. So when we hurt the shell, we also send pain to the snail as a whole.
- They love to come out in the rain because it is easier for them to move about on their muscular foot.
- When it is dry, they take refuge under rocks and logs and sometimes even seal themselves inside their shells
- These creatures are nocturnal and can eat several times their weight a day with thousands of replaceable teeth! Eek.
- Even though people usually group them with "bugs" they are not! they are mollusks (yes, yes...clams, oysters and muscles).
Resources that I gleaned from this week:
- Curious Kids Nature Guide by Fiona Cohen
- Woodlark Blog
- Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins
2- Activities for beginning the day, winding down, resting, and reflecting:
- Night Walk:
This activity might not be for everyone, but it is fun to do once in a while. Since snails are most active at night, go and take a night walk to search for snails in your yard with flashlights. During the day search for them under old pieces of bark, rocks, and skirting the dark unlaying parts of plants :) The ones that I have found in my yard have been clustered in units: it has been cool to compare patterns and sizes!
- Observation of the Slow Snail:
Here is a link to an excellent tutorial on how to make a snail habitat.It is from the most excellent blogger named "Woodlark", she has some amazing ideas! Snails are really cool to watch and see what they might do. It's a chill way to spend your sit spot time, or just to be relaxing. The snail could even lead your child in a game of copycat where they do what the snail does, lol. How to Make a Snail Habitat.
3- Activities to inspire, foster focus, and allow for motion:
- Swirly Snail Patterns:
Again this is from the Woodlark Instagram, because it is so fun! When using dry ingredients from your house to make the snail pattern, Paisley discovered that if you use a small twig with clear glue on the end, it was excellent at re-positioning things!
All you need is: cardboard cutout of snail, clear glue, whatever dry foods or plants you have : beans, lentils, rice... We used pussy willows too :)
- Slime Strength Experiment:
This at home experiment tests the strength of slime!
All you need is : a willing snail, a piece of plastic, a dime, some sand/dirt, a leaf
- Painting Weather Rocks:
With the coming of snails in this season, the weather is liable to doing crazy things. One minute it's raining, the next storming, later hailing. The snails are very aware of the weather changing, and even in old folklore they were said to have been able to predict weather!
So, the idea is to paint rocks with a weather scene on each one. Your kiddo can be in charge of picking out the weather rock that matches what they see outside. It's possible they might not move it all day, maybe 10 times a day. It's all a surprise.
Have fun this week, stay healthy AND happy
I miss “our in person learning community” more than my trips to Trader Joe's!
Robin (Mrs. Moss)
Well it was supposed to be Garden Snails this week but on my neighborhood walks I have been noticing the trees doing some amazing things, and I thought that it would be a good time to focus our attention on the trees. Like us they are stuck where they are and there they must thrive.
1- Activities for beginning the day, winding down, resting, and reflecting:
Tree Hugging game from the "Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children"
This game is so fun and requires calm awareness. It is a great way to begin the day and get their creativity stirring.
- Take your kiddo to where there are some trees. Have no fear if you don't have any. If push comes to shove you could just use things around your house.
- Make sure they can't see and then lead them to a tree
- Lead their hands to the bark and then let them explore the bark with their hands, noticing all the details
- Lead them back to where they started, spin them around real well and then have them go and find the tree that they touched, seeing if they can notice the qualities they experienced blind
Sit Spot turned "Lay Spot"
This time at their sit spots, have them lay on the ground so that they can notice and describe the branches and how they leave the trunk of the tree. It is a good moment to read aloud a poem or a create a spring story telling.
2- Activities to inspire, foster focus, and allow for motion:
"Leaf Printing" from "Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children"
- Find some scrap fabric or paper towel
- Find some green leaves and Flowers
- Lay them under the cloth of choice
- Take a hammer, and smash the cloth and see what prints come through!
"Acorn Hide- and-Seek" from "Play the Forest School Way"
Turns out a lot of our trees out there in nature are pantry thanks to squirrels. In the chills of Winter the squirrels get tunnel-visioned about building stores of food by choosing random locations to hide their little bites..and then they forget where some of it ended up. Silly Squirrels.
- Pretend your little one is a squirrel, and have them hide 10 nuts out in the yard.
- Encourage them to devise a way of remembering WHERE
- Then go for a walk, and look at the trees, see where there are buds, and where the flowers are in bloom
- Then when they come back, get them to try and find where they put all 10 nuts.
3. Woodland Mapping
- Find a whole PILE of sticks
- Help your kiddo to make a circle and then have them divide into the 4 directions: North, East, South, and West.
- Go off into each of those areas by putting heels to the edge of the circle and then walk forward in that direction
- Bring back treasures from that direction and set it in that slice of the circle
I hope that you are all doing great, and let me know if you have any questions,
We are in this together, we will endure!
I am coming to you live from my backyard this week. In all this sunshine and crisp wind, it makes me sad that we cannot meet just as spring is waking up, but on the bright side I am excited to see what spring is looking like where you are in the photo album (which I am SO thankful to those of you who have posted--it really is what community is about: inspiring one another and sharing ideas)
The BLURB about the Theme:
So I will be less overwhelmed with the amount of activities I include in this email, but the key things are: a waking up and a show of color with the change of season! The word "equinox" means "equal night", meaning that we have equal day and night now as the sun is shining so much on the Northern hemisphere, giving us our lovely Spring and Autumn!
1- Activities for times in our day when we are just beginning, winding down, need rest, or want to spend time reflecting:
Take in a Poem
- Read the Poem while you are all nice and cozy sometime at the beginning of the day: on a blanket under clouds, in a hammock, in a nest made of blankets, hands around a warm cup of tea, around a fire...you get the picture
- Poem suggested "Written in March" by William Wordsworth
Using "Owl Eyes" and "Deer Ears"
Take some Binoculars (real, or made out of toilet paper rolls) to their sit spot and then have them look for color, buds on bushes, new leaves on trees, bees buzzing
- The kids have been practicing these skills from "Coyote Mentoring" where the Owl's Eyes don't move in their sockets! but they have to turn their heads as they focus forward.
- Dear Ears are where the kiddos cup behind or in front of their ears depending on where the sound is coming from, to amplify it.
Nature Journals (these can be taken to sit spots too) Paint or draw some of the flowers, buds, or new leaves in detail that you found with spring waking up.
2- Here are some activities for when kiddos are ready to be inspired, want to focus on a project, or when they want to be in motion:
Frozen Spring Ornaments:
- Gather colorful items from your yard from Spring and have the kiddos spread them out among muffin tin trays,
- fill with water and then lay a looped string at the edge so that a bit will get frozen in the freezer.
- put in the freezer, and then when frozen you have a BEAUTIFUL springtime ornament for your tree outside
Map Out Spring
Draw a big map of your neighborhood/yard and then go walking, drawing landmarks and signs of spring that you see!
Day and Night Cupcakes:
- Since we have equal night and day (and if you like to bake) make some chocolate cupcakes, and some vanilla
- then make white icing and some blue and yellow
- make some MOON cupcakes, and then decorate some SUN cupcake
- then feast on them. you must do this part in order to get the fullness of the activity.
Family Game of Fox Feet
Have your kiddo lay something in front of their lap to guard with their eyes covered (for those more experienced pick something that can make a noise if handled roughly) We will call this person "it" a mole: they have horrible vision, but keen hearing
- Then have the rest of the family make a perimeter around them and slowly attempt with fox feet (toe, heel, toe heel) to reach the middle, take the object and get away to starting point.
- If a person makes it back with the object, that person is in the middle as the next mole
- If the mole hears any movement they need only raise their paw and point in the direction of the sound and that fox has to go back
Have fun, stay healthy, and let me know if you have any questions!
Hello Hello Families!
This is our first at-home learning week experience!
I am so excited to hear from you and how it goes. Whether or not you delve into any of the activities or games - it would be great to hear about what your little was interested in as we explore Birds and Nests. This is not meant to be a lesson plan exactly; but I have divided up our activities below according to the intentional flow (i.e. , to mimic what we would *normally* be doing during our time in the classroom. Our activities and structure is drawn from the Coyote Mentoring guide. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!
Supplies: *journals* perhaps you all have some extra journals you could use for our time at home?
1- There are times in our day when we are just beginning, winding down, needing to rest, or wanting to just reflect.
Perfect time to observe some birds:
a) From the comfort of your window. Leave some food for your feathered friends and have some binoculars handy, pay attention to who comes for a visit - maybe note the feathers, legs, size, and maybe create a sketch!
b) Have fun creating a hide outside for bird viewing (be sure to leave out some seeds)...this is especially fun at the end of the day, cause birds are SO busy then.
c) Find a sit spot. We like to make fires with them, just peaceful...quiet enough to hear the birds, bring their nature journals to their sit spots.
d) Go for a walk if you can and perhaps find nests. And with winter still happening, they are going to notice easy.
e) Once you have a nice bundle of bird nest materials, try leaving it by where you saw the birds collecting food, or just a spot you think a bird might find.
f) Make a cozy nest inside before bed, as a way to slow down and get cozy.
2. Then there are times in the day when kids are ready to be inspired , want to focus on a project, want to be in motion!
This is when you can:
a) Bird Stretches/Breaths (from Mindful kids Cards / Little Renegades)
b) Look up some pictures of bird nests that are in your area (Robin, Chickadee, Crow...) What materials do they use? What is their technique? How big is it?
c) Go for a scavenger hunt to collect some of those materials you found in your search of bird nests! Or just any materials that they can find that look string like, soft, what they think would be good to make a nest with. Urban birds get VERY creative, finding things people leave lying around, or other animals leave lying around
d) or...play an active game that looks at the Bird's senses of Hearing and Sight
- Coyote and Deer
- Hungry Birds
e) With left over materials found, create your own bird nests.
I have included a playdough recipe and that is great for holding the nest together. When done you could find a "y" shaped branch to perch it in, or take it inside.
Have fun out there !
Are you Interested in learning more about outdoor education, nature connection and sharing your experience with the community? Barnacles and Bees Facebook Group is live!
Barnacles and Bees is committed to the health and safety of our community. In light of how quickly the public health situation is evolving, the recommendations being made by public health officials across the region and the announcement by the Bremerton School District to close our schools for six weeks beginning March 16th, we decided to suspend all programs during this same period. We will continue to follow the situation closely and will provide updates on any changes in status for our programs and workshops. We invite you to check CDC website for any details, resources and how to..
We are extremely grateful to be part of this community and we want to make sure that everyone stay safe by lowering the risk of contamination. For the weeks we are not together, our team will continue to work remotely as well as together, so don't hesitate to contact us.
For our Nature Immersion Families, Robin will be in touch with project ideas and things to do during your time at home.
I also want you to know that we will reimburse (or not charge) any tuition to the prorata of days missed per month. This is an emergency situation, we know some of you will have to find babysitters and other alternative childcare. We really feel that this is the right thing to do, and we hope that the reclaimed tuition costs will ease any financial stress to our families for a service that for a time we cannot provide.
In the meantime, enjoy one another, stay healthy, and keep smiling.
I'm sure you all have been hearing about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) going around in WA.
Kitsap County is preparing people to take steps for preventing the spread and we want to help with that.
If you have not yet looked at it I invite you to read Kitsap Health District Public Health News.
As we want to gather/play and learn as usual and keep doing what we do we also want to be on the safer side.
So if anyone feels sick: temperature, flu symptoms or a cold, please stay home and rest.
Thank you! B&B team.
I was asked by a parent the other day if our kiddos in program were notably more sick being that they were out in the elements so frequently. Kitsap County has had a rough virus season to be sure, but one thing that I have been delighted in is not being trapped in a room sharing scissors between sneezes. It seems to us that on the whole most kiddos have not dipped in their attendance with being sick, showing off their excellent immune systems.
Who says that you cannot go to the beach in Winter? Beach Days despite the cold, have not been spent huddled up under a blanket. The benefits of adding fire to the program stand out on beach days with that assistance of Barry's Dad Scott providing warm rocks for kiddos who need to give their hands a break! Then they are back to the sand. Another aspect of Beach Days that is beautiful is the variety of terrain that is available for the kids to explore while still being in view. Feeling quiet and want to be away from the crowd? Stand on the pier in the sun looking over the edge (with a grown up). Feeling the need to climb high? Climb the small cedars that border the beach, or the bluff (in view of an adult). Want to have NO plan and just wander? The water's edge is perfect!
As I am sure that you have heard us say, our program is still budding and finding its stride. We are always learning what works and what doesn't work. What a relief it has been to learn that kids have the most amazing imagination! So much time has been spent packing up materials, unloading, cleaning up...when it turns out (especially Friday's crew) that materials/activities are not really needed, or they can be minimal. The other day our staff members were given the hint from a group of kids that they had they play under control and that we didn't need to really participate, they just took off! We stood back watching them play and tears welled up a bit as we have watched these friendship circles grow and bring in kids of all ages and abilities. If you can pretend to be unicorn, you're in! If you want to run around aimlessly and try to tag each other, you're in! I'm just proud of all them!
A shout out to our NEW parent volunteer Kyle! Ryan's mom is coming every other Friday, and bless her, her first day was a beach day! Other volunteers can attest Beach Day is a lot to take in, and it was great to have some fresh eyes to have us refresh with the kids some basics for the beach. You can help your kiddo remember these on beach day:
1. Keep their layers dry by having toes in the water rather than the whole body
2. When playing at water's edge, eyes forward to the open water
3. Play in view of an adult (that is always a rule but is more of a challenge to stop and ask an adult to move to where they want to go...like down the beach)
Making Candles, Journey Sticks, and Cedar Wands
With themes like earthworms, evergreens and the coming of more light this season in the North West, there are so many activities that come to mind that kids would love to do, and where they would find a challenge.
During our week on light, the kids were invited to make their own candles! We had a mallet for them to break up the wax, and a container to put it in so it could double boil on the fire. Then they went gathering bits of forest floor, chose their essential oil, and then if they wanted to they could pour their own wax. We were not at all surprised by the excitement for the mallet, but were blown away by the skill some showed for pouring their own wax into the tin.
Evergreen weeks brought the making of "journey sticks" and "cedar wands".. These activities were great not only for fine motor practice but patience, and learning when to ask for help.We did the cedar wands during huddle groups so that the kiddos all got to practice the skill without the option of free play, which is lucky, cause there are many who would have ditched the activity and missed out on how empowered they felt afterwards.
In conclusion, we can plan all the fun activities we want and hope that the kids will love it, but when it comes down to it they love to imagine their own play, and really don't need much to do it. When the team sees a rainy day before the program starts, there is an instinct to pack lots of extra materials to help the kids cope. However, we find the kids running in the rain pretending to be dragons guarding their eggs, or using their fire to encircle people, only to undo it with a magical stare. They are all so closely connected through pretend play, games, and the projects they create. It's a joy to stand and watch.
Group Games, Worm Experiments, and Sit Spots
Group games have been a great way to gather together and teach a skill, all while making it accessible to all abilities. Some games we have learned would do better during huddle groups instead of the large group. In place of a lengthy gratitude circle, and a large journal time at the end, we have decided to play more games in program.
We also did an earthworm experiment where the kids got to help clear a square in the ground ready to receive a mixture intended to encourage the worms up to the surface. Most all the kids stared in anticipation, waiting (some longer than others). ALL wanted to hold worms. There were many observations made on their movements, size, and whether or not they had the "saddle"--showing that they were adult worms.
With all the excitement during a program day, we really treasure the slow moments: people arriving slowly and with different energy levels, sharing snack with one another, and sit spots. There was a time when we were putting this practice to the side; however, we have found the perfect opportunity after snack. When have packed up the kids have the chance to go off to a place by themselves (in view of an adult) with their journals or flannel pieces. It has been exciting to see them tote their journals to a place to take it easy.
Building Trust and Friendships
I've said it before, and I will say it again. The friendships forged out there in the wild are amazing to watch grow. At this point in our program we have the kids just naturally wanting to play in the same area, we haven't (with the exception of beach day which seems to stir a sense of wonder and need for exploring) had to wrangle/remind kids to stay in one spot and in view of one adult. Our mix of different ages and strengths is so apparent when someone needs a helping hand or a friend who feels the same way.
Here are some of our favorite friend moments in program:
- Seamus holding Lucy's hand across the icy parking lot to our beach spot, and then keeping her company on the peer.
- Jim making a crowd of unicorns and dragons a pot of stew after running in the meadow
- Barry helping Max through the ivy bush after they found some plastic litter they wanted to pick up
- Reed encouraging Pierson as he scrambled down the bluff at the beach
- Alsea and Lando both at different times helping Maria Sofia down the big steps on our hike
- Owen inviting anyone who was willing to join him in a game of "animals", much to Theo's relief who didn't have the courage yet to ask
We love all our little ones. Just the other day in the dappled sun, the kids all spontaneously starting singing our "Hello Sunshine" song as they walked back towards the parking lot. Myself and Reanne both just looked on with wonder and were blown away, they were all so at ease!
March is your month families to get the days you want for next year. Once April hits we will be inviting the people on the wait list to choose their days before opening to the public in May.
Do not miss out on the chance this Spring/Summer to join this workshop. Led by the amazing Krystal Meiners, you get an opportunity to connect with nature all while investing in yourself and community. https://www.barnaclesandbees.com/moon-mothers1.html
Hike Day and Beach Days
Please notes that Beach Days have you drop off at the regular spot with pick up at the beach:
Our first month back is already over and the kids have all been amazing at getting back into routine, all while bringing lots of energy and excitement with them to the forest. We have seen some challenging weather this month, and some kids have powered through it stronger than others. While there have been moments of sadness over having chills and being wet, all kids have been willing to work through gear malfunctions and adjust their playing plans to still find joy in being outside.
With the extreme wet weather, we are thankful for our shelter, hot fires, and hot water bottles! With the number of chilled toes and hands, we are feeling good about our decision to buy hot water bottles and a massive thermos for the program. New this month has been the addition of a tent. In fact, the tent has been so fun that we may need to consider purchasing another one, so that we can truly have a place available that is dry and peaceful for those that need a break.
In the midst of teachers, volunteers, and kiddos being sick it has been so encouraging to see our team continue to show up ready to engage with kids. Mentioning our team, we NEED to shine a light on our newest team member Maddi! Maddi has joined us as a staff member on Fridays and we are so thrilled to see her continue to work with kiddos. Families, you would be impressed by her seemingly endless supply of patience, kindness, and peace. One Friday, a number of kiddos had forgotten that an adult must see you where you play, and whilst they were being lovingly collected, and rounded up to stand along a wall for a pep talk, Maddi was found in front of them all with a pretend cup of hot chocolate in her hands--smelling and taking sips. They were transfixed and transported to a cozy place drinking a cozy drink. We love our team of staff, volunteers, and families that bring snack and contribute to our learning community--this is what we envisioned from the beginning.
With all this rain and wind, all our families are doing such a great job making sure that their little ones are bundled up nicely and ready to play. Excellent work! We are finding some of our more spirited friends who love to get wet are not interested in keeping on their gear. Please feel free to remind your kiddos that it is important (if raining in Winter) that we keep our waterproof layers on to avoid being really wet and cold.
Mud Play, and Forest Craft
This cold and wet January we have been looking at the characteristics of the Winter season, and then given attention to the plants and trees that continue to thrive this time of year despite the lack of sun. We are all thrilled to see that the kids for the most part do not mind the rain and enjoy all manner of play. In fact, I would say that it has inspired a lot of our imaginative play this month, and provided material for creations made with tools.
Mud. There is no substance on earth like it, and there are so many things you can do with it! This month has been the perfect month to explore it more deeply, as well as all over. We have seen mud become face paint, delicious cupcakes, swimming pools to lounge in, something to kick up and see how far it will go, and paint to make a mural with. One week, Jamaal brought a dump truck to program, and it was not long into free time until the our regular mud builders were filling the truck to the brim full of their mud mixture--completely absorbed.
Fallen branches from trees have also supplied us with materials for some of our activities this month. During free play time we invited the kids to join in and make magic wands and looms. Both these activities showed us that most struggled with this fine motor activity, so it is one that we want to revisit and continue to build on. We also learned that if we are going to have an activity that we would love the kids to engage with then we need to not only offer it during free time. As cool as making a magic wand may be, pretending to be dragons that have a nest to tend to is much more fun with a group of friends. So we have decided that activities that require focus and guidance we will introduce during huddle times before snack. We will still offer the materials of course during free time if kids really enjoy what they are doing.
Working as a Team:
Having a mixed age program has a lot of benefits to it. We enjoy watching the older kids teach and model for the younger kids how to participate and learn new skills, and the younger kids allow us time to slow down, listen, and take things in around us. Although these ages work well together, it has also been great to see our huddle groups (groups of kids that are roughly the same age) learn new skills as a team and with peers with some of the same abilities and attention span.
In the older huddle group, we will call raccoons, Reanne has been blown away by their industry in working together to solve a problem and stay on task. The other day , the kiddos went in search of "y" shaped branches that had fallen from trees and found their old friend Miss. Maple. They were there in the fall asking the tree if it would please let its leaves fall down, and now having not one leaf they noticed that one of the branches had fallen. After the kids hugged the tree, they worked as a team to carry her "y" shaped branch back to our camp. Also, the older kids have been taking forays in the forest on new trails which the kids have been more than willing to explore.
In the younger huddle group, we'll call them chipmunks, the kids are excellent at pointing out the details at about 3 feet high. The other day we were looking for winter trees that had leaves and needles versus those without anything on branches. We referred to the trees with full branches as being awake during Winter, and trees without leaves that are asleep during Winter. We had found a Cedar tree on a Friday very much "awake" and our good friend Dax pointed out that the bark on one side was rubbed roughly and left soft. All the other kiddos were happy to test it out and offer up suggestions about why they thought it was rubbed so much, others just wanted to touch for a while. One other thing that I notice about the younger kids is their attention to noise and their desire to find the older huddle group in the forest. When we were one day finding "y" shaped branches, they could hear the older kids off in the distance and wanted to set off on the trail in pursuit and use what we call our "deer ears" to find them.
Implementing Core Routines:
So, we started this routine a little while back where we told the kids that we would go to free play all at once instead of letting them choose when they were done their snack. It has been going great and now we have seen a more peaceful side of everyone during this time. The kiddos are given an option of either reading or drawing findings or something out of their imagination! We have photographic evidence of some of our most energetic kids absorbed in a book.
During winter we are very much in the mood and habit of making fire with the kids, and they are responsible for filling emergency water jug, gathering kindling, and staying behind the yellow line. The kids have been great as we have experimented with what we call "Fairy Fires". These little bundles of light are a shell, with a pulled apart piece of cotton, and a smearing of Petroleum Jelly. These fires stay lit for a while and the kids love guessing which light will go out first, and noticing the embers that dance at the very last.
Fall Enrollment Information:
Barnacles and Bees will be expanding in the Fall, information are available on our website. Priority enrollment for B&B families will start March 1st. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We would love you to share your feedback with the larger community of Kitsap, to those families that are trying to decide on an outdoor program for their kiddos. In the coming months a survey will be available for you to share your thoughts honestly/anonymously.
Land Art Love Letter
Friday February 14th: 4pm - 5.30pm -$15/kid
We'll take a meandering hike together in one of our favorite park in Bremerton to create land art installations using natural materials found along the trail. We'll rearrange, balance, and lay together sticks, stones, leaves, mud, pine cones and other natural found objects along the way. We'll learn about a few famous land artists and their techniques, and we'll have time to collaborate on a group project and our own special art pieces as well. This will be our ephemeral "love letter" to the Earth and for other people who happen to be enjoying the trails while we are there.
Sign up here!
February Community Members:
February 5th: Kitsap Regional Children's Librarian Kirstin Mueller
February 28th: Ueland Tree Farm's Mark Mauren
February 19th Wedneday
February 21st Friday
February 24th Monday
The tides should be with us on these days. Dress warm!
Reminder! No School
2/17 Presidents Day
For those of you who have not memorized the Parent Handbook, and didn't have a clue as to what happens in the event of snow. Have no fear. As we are still a new organization, we are figuring this part out and have come to decide that we as a program don't always agree or have the same considerations as the school district.
So, if the school district is closed, or is delayed we will inform you buy 7am via text if there is a change for us. We will just need some time to check in with our Ranger, or go and scout out ourselves. Since Lead Teacher Robin is a chicken in bad weather conditions, she will advise families whether or not the hill to the park is safe. If the hill is safe, and the park is full of snow, the Ranger has informed us that we can drop off at the gate.