It is hard to believe tomorrow is September!  I love the beginning of Fall but I am always sad to see Summer end.  At the moment it seems we are being given a gift of both seasons!  Crisp, foggy mornings turning to warm, sunny afternoons with clear evenings.  With the yesterday’s surprise rain we will have a wonderful view of the stars and the amazing moon tonight

This will be a great week to venture out on a destination hike.  With the change in the weather there is so much to see and experience while on a hike.  It is a perfect time to explore the textures of nature on your hike.  You can pick up a green leaf and feel the difference between it and a brown leaf that has fallen from the tree.  Find a tree that has smooth bark and one that has rough bark.  Already did that on a previous walk?  Well, guess what?!  They will find this a new and fun game on this walk as well.  Please, remember repetition is how they learn.  

Take a piece of paper and a fat crayon to make bark prints, rub the crayon on the paper as it rests on the tree bark and talk about how one is different from the other.

If you are at the beach you can do the texture print using a piece driftwood and a seashell.  Send them on a scavenger hunt to find things that are the same or different.  What can they find that is smooth and slimy, smooth and cold, smooth and soft?  What can they find that is rough and hard?  How is a barnacle different from the rock it is attached to?  So many different textures at the beach…so much fun to exploring.

As the sand slides through their hand talk about how it feels.  Is it cold?  Is it smooth or gritty?

What does the bark on that tree look like?   

While you have a conversation about texture you can add new words to their vocabulary.  Be sure to use words they are familiar with to help build their vocabulary.  They might already know “wet” but “moist” may be a new word for them.  Giving them examples of gradation is a way to build their vocabulary. Wet – soaked, moist, damp.  Rough – bumpy, ridges, smooth.  Soft – pliable, delicate, hard.  Find words that are intriguing to them and add them to their vocabulary.  

Play with words and make a game using them.  Zoe just realized that coat and boat rhyme.  She loved saying the two words over and over again as she made this discovery.  Children like playing with words just like they like playing with their toys.  Silly words, words that sound the same, words that can be said in a different tone.  Playing is how they learn.

There are so many discoveries you can make outside in nature.   They can use all of their senses: they can see their world all around them, there is always something making a noise to hear, they can learn to touch living things gently, there are things they can eat (be sure to teach them the importance of checking before putting something in their mouth) and things they can smell.  The outdoor world is a place of adventure. It is a place they can sit still and watch or run and be free to move their bodies.  Enjoy taking a walk or hike outside this week. Nature’s wonders are waiting for you.  Go outside and find them!  

Here are three places to go and explore – Danielle, Ansel and Zoe tested 😉

~Teacher Janice