Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall City Farms is Pumpkin Fun!

The Pumpkin Farm was so fun!  There is a hay bale maze there that had thousands of tiny mushrooms growing on top of each bale of hay.  When we got to the middle we played "ring around the rosie" and all fell down!  Then it was time for our hay ride.  The farmer took us all over their fields and the resident dog jumped on and off the tractor to many smiles and laughs!  We hiked way out to the fields and looked for pumpkins no bigger than the "size of our heads".  It turned out that the pumpkins in the field were VERY big so we just walked around observing how pumpkins grow and then went back to choose pumpkins at the farm store.  We made pumpkin shakers and sang "Shake your sillies out" with them shaking along.  They were very loud!  The sun shone the whole time and a Great Blue Heron greeted us at the pond. 

We ended the class with individual bags of popcorn and a few stories.  Yum!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Community Gardens in Marymoor Park were gorgeous!

Last Friday Tiny Treks decended upon the Community Gardens of Marymoor Park in Redmond.  The sun was shining as I set up 2 picnic tables-each with a different craft.  I put out leaves to trace and make rubbings of on one table and butterfly makings on the other.  They were both popular but I think everyone had the most fun with the butterflies.  We took our butterflies (made out of coffee filters, clothespins and pipecleaners) and had them land on the squash blossoms and various flowers.  We flapped our arms on our way to the circle time on a big green tarp.  After singing and stretching in the warm sun we began our walk around the garden.  We stopped and looked at the jalapeno peppers and wax beans growing.  We saw big and small pumpkins and other squashes growing along the ground.  At the back of the garden is a special park with a fountain and some art sculptures.  We all took turns throwing rocks into the water around the fountain.
On our way back to the picnic tables we saw two white butterflies chasing each other and a humming bird.  Many of the plants were on their last legs before being pulled up for the winter-but they were still so pretty. 
For snack we had icecream cones filled with yummy yogurt and we read a book about gardens.
It was a lovely day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beaver Lake Park and Making Totem Poles

We had a fabulous time at Beaver Lake Park on Monday.
We learned about totem poles and how they are made.  We read a trickster tale about the Raven and how he got the sun into the sky.  We saw lots of ducks and looked for beavers.  The kids were very interested to touch the carved beaver's tail and run their fingers over his big teeth.  We each made our own totem pole and covered it in animals of our choice.  What a cool day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Red Riding Hood in the forest of Farrel McWhirter.

In order to create the world of fairy tales we decorated bags with stickers and pens and added a handle to make our bags into "baskets" -like the basket Red Riding Hood carried to grandma's house.  We then went to look for treasures to bring to grandma.  We found pinecones, leaves and even some hidden plastic eggs with stickers inside! (where did they come from ?)  Then we took our baskets on a hike and had our picnic by the stream where Maddie the Monkey and a Wolf puppet told the story of Red Riding Hood once more.  Picnicking under the trees, by a stream was truely a fairytale come true!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fairytale camp is so fun!

What a great day we had at Tiny Treks Fairytale camp! The theme was The 3 little pigs. After getting to know each other a bit we found sticks in the woods then sorted them from small to large. Then we made them into a teepee shape and tied them together. That was our stick house just like the second little pig made! Then we had a fun circle time singing "This little Piggy" and "To Market to Market to buy a fat pig". We saw giant Dottie, the farm's pig and the new baby kid (goat).  She is so cute!  Our hike was exciting! We climbed on trees, pretended there was a troll under the bridge and found a moth that looked just like the leaves! Wow! It was a fun day at Tiny Treks!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Last day of the year-Paddleboating on Cottage Lake with goslings and frogs.

We were so lucky to have the rain stop just long enough for us to take out the paddleboat on Cottage Lake.  We brought a picnic along and ate lunch at the main park near the playground.  But not before we saw 8 baby goslings with the Father Goose and Mother Goose.  The goslings still had their pale yellow eiderdown feathers.  We paddled furiously to try and catch up with them but they were too fast!  Then we hiked to the bridge to see if we could find frogs.  Yes-there were 5 frogs in the water and probably more staring up at us as we leaned over the bridge.  I sang a german frog song :

Heut' ist ein Fest bei den Froeschen am See,

Ball und Konzert und ein gro├čes Diner.

Qua, qua, qua, qua.

Qua, qua, qua, qua, qua, qua, qua, ...

And also the song:

there's a little green frog swimming in the water

a little green frog doing what he oughter

he jumped right off of the lily pad

that the little duck bit and he said "I'm glad

I'm a little green frog swimming in the water.  Glump, glump glump!

After paddling back to the house, we had to say our sad goodbyes to Maddie the Monkey and each other until Tiny Treks starts up again.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Redmond Watershed shows its colors!

Yesenia found a tree frog on our hike today! After making bear bell necklaces we took our exploring tools out into the forest to see what we could find.  We measured mushrooms, examined the moss on nurse logs and tried to catch a tree frog.  Our hike was longer than usual and the sun played peek a boo the whole morning. 
The forest at the watershed is a deciduous forest-very few pine trees-and as such the tree cover was very different from other forests we have hiked in. 
We listened for special birds and saw lots of trees that had been pecked at by woodpeckers.  There was lots to see!

We Went on a Bear Hunt!

This week Tiny Treks went to OO Denny Park in Kirkland to look for bears. OO Denny is right on the shores of Lake Washington and features friendly ducks and other birds but we didn't think we'd find bears there. We talked about how to be safe when hiking in bear country. We pretended to be bears and stretched tall for grislys and got small for bear cubs.

Right across the street is a magical hike up a shady creek trail. There we found fields of ferns, wild bleeding heart flowers, animal tracks and slugs of many shades and sizes. We hugged Silvia, the oldest tree in King County and tried to measure around the base of the trunk.The tree was 600 years old when the top was sheared off in a storm. We had already experienced so much, but we hadn't made it to the "Bear Cave" yet!

When we found the cave, we climbed up the sandy slope to sit inside out of the drizzle coming down.  I had brought strawberries for all as a snack while I read The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.  We never found a bear but the bear hunt was lots of fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kubota Gardens were exquisite!

Tiny Treks ventured out to the Kubota Gardens last week to see the fantastic Japanese flowers and trees planted there.  First we made Japanese fish kites and hung them on the trees.  They were flying there all day while we went for our hike.  They looked so fun as they spun and twirled in the breeze.

When we went on our hike we saw a rabbit hopping down the path in front of us!  He let us watch him for a while! 

We saw many different varieties of maple trees and leaves-small ones, big ones and skinny ones!  We enjoyed picking up a few slugs and even a long wiggly worm! 

We ended up with a tea ceremony with tea poured from a thermos and chinese crackers and grapes. 
Too soon it was time to say "Sayonara" to the Kubota Gardens!  I definately want to go back soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

8 Little Ducklings and 5 Goose Eggs!

Today the sun was shining bright as we put on our lifevests to venture out in the canoe on Cottage Lake.  We paddled over to see a Mother Goose sitting on her eggs while the Father Goose watched us closely from the other side of the dock.  We were quiet and left her in peace quickly enough.  Then we glided down Cottage Creek to see the beaver lodge and scare up some ducks and red-winged blackbirds.  On the way back we sideled up to a mother duck and her 8 ducklings and sang "The Ugly Duckling Song." 

We ended up sipping smoothies in the sun, sitting on the dock and reading the 10 Little Rubber Ducks. A semi-true story of rubber ducks getting lost overboard on an ocean liner and ended up in different places around the world.  What a great way to begin the day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pine Cone Animals and spring in the woods!

At Farrel McWhirter Farm there are baby pigs and baby chicks!  The chicks are all fuzzy with eiderdown and the pigs are getting very big and piggy indeed!  We made our own pine cone animals with pipe cleaners twirled around pine cones. The bees came out especially fun with yellow and black fuzzy stripes!

On our hike today we looked again for signs of spring.  We found more ferns unfurling and mushrooms sprouting.  There was a red trillium and muddy paths. For snack we had applesauce for the flowering apple tree and bunny cereal for the rabbits in the rabbit hutch.  We ended the day with a funny story about animals on the farm who have a fiesta in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  We all shouted "Ole!" together when the animals ate their spicy dishes!

Tiptoeing through the Tulips with Tiny Treks

Our theme this week was the colors of the rainbow and that is what we saw at the Tulip Festival in Skagit County.   We saw almost every color of flower and were able to put stickers on each color on our scavenger hunt sheet. We also got out our exploration tools so we could use the magnifying glasses to look really close at the flowers. We examined the stamens and pistils of the flowers and talked about how bees help to pollinate.

We read a cool book about the bugs that live under that soil in the winter with a tulip bulb.  They munch on the bulb a  bit to have something to eat and then one of them changes into a butterfly and flies around the tulip.  This is a good spring and transformation book.
Because It was kind of chilly out so we ended the day with hot chocolate and our bag lunches on picnic tables under cover.  The colors and flowers were amazing.

Here is our Rainbow song for the day:

"I can sing a rainbow"

Red and yellow and pink and green,

Purple and orange and blue,

I can sing a rainbow,

Sing a rainbow,

Sing a rainbow too!

Listen with your eyes,

Listen with your eyes,

And sing everything you see,

You can sing a rainbow,

Sing a rainbow,

Sing along with me.

Red and yellow and pink and green

Purple and orange and blue

I can sing a rainbow,

sing a rainbow,

sing a rainbow too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Geese Ducks and Osprey-Oh My!

Today we met at Cottage Lake and began with duck puppets for all.  Everyone quacked along to the songs,  6 little ducks went out one day and 5 little ducks-both favorite songs of Tiny Treks!
Then we were ready to climb aboard the paddleboat!  Wow!  3 moms and 3 kids-thats a lot on a boat!
We saw a mother Canadian Goose in her nest sitting on her eggs.  She watched us suspiciously while we floated by.  There was an osprey diving for fish and a fisherman throwing small fish back!
We ended our day making our own smoothies.
Here is the recipe:
1 banana
1 handful frozen blueberries
1 handful frozen mangos (from Trader Joes)
1 cup yougurt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Milk

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We have Bug Boxes but where are the bugs?

For class this week the weather continued to be cold, stormy and rainy. Our theme today was bugs and bug boxes. We began class talking about how good bugs can help farmers.  Then we got to open and decorate with stickers our very own bug boxes.  After a greeting by Maddie the Monkey and some quick stretches we headed out into the weather.  Armed with digging tools, rain boots, rain coats and our bug boxes we were in search of bugs.  We turned over logs, looked under dead leaves and dug into tree stumps.  Well, this teacher was stumped!  The bugs weren't out yet!  They were no where to be found.  We even were followed by an enterprising chicken who was scratching for bugs too!  I don't think she found any either.

So our lesson for this week turned out to be-there aren't bugs yet when the weather is still cold!  But we did examine mold on tree bark, moss, lichen and used our nets to scoop up rocks from the bottom of a stream.

We also spent some time in the barn.  It was fun to see Pinkie's 2 week old piglets too. They are growing so fast!  There were 10 last week and now there are only 9.  Where did the 10th go?

We ended our chilly bug hunt  in our cozy little "house", reading a funny book about cows that type,
 Click Clack Moo, and by eating "Ants on a log"-peanut butter spread on celery with dried cranberries.  These were the only bugs we saw today!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bee Stormy-see if we care!

It was a stormy, windy and rainy day with Tiny Treks today.  We made thumbprint bees, butterflies and caterpillars and then put them in a flower garden on our paper with foam flowers and stamps.  We talked about how bees and wasps help pollinate our flowers and fruit trees.  We sang silly songs about "picking up baby bumblebees" and all agreed it wasn't a good idea!  On our hike we splashed through the swollen streams, lost boots and got wet feet.  But it was all in good fun!  Oh yes-and Pinkie the sow had 10 piglets!  They were soo cute.  We got to watch them nurse and hear them squeal.
We had a special honeycomb snack while we read Bee Wigged-a story about how to make friends and be yourself at the same time. 
We were all so glad that Tiny Treks got out into the storm!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Spring Buds are here!

We looked at tree branches with buds from a cherry tree, an apple tree and some other leaves bursting out from the warm weather!  After talking about the buds each child got to make their own Popcorn tree!
We glued popcorn to a tree shape on construction paper and it looked just like the trees covered in blooms.  On our walk we got showered by petals from a blooming pink tree!  It looked a bit like snow coming down on our hair and shoulders! We read a book about spring and sang a song about a farm called Fiddle I fee.  It was a fun spring day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Boating on Cottage Lake!

We had such fun today going out in a paddle boat!  Before we went out in the boat we talked about boat safety. We learned that you don't stand up in a boat and you don't make any sudden movements.  Also, that you don't jump from the boat into the water-at least not when the water is cold!  We all put on life vests-even Maddie the Monkey!  We paddled by geese and male and female mallard ducks.  We saw a cormorant spread its wings to dry them in the sun.  We played "eye spy" and saw the pink flowers on a flowering fruit tree.  We paddled all the way to the park and got to play on the playground for a while before we headed back for a snack of hard boiled eggs and popcorn.  One of the moms noticed that if you put the egg in the middle of a bowl of popcorn it looks like a nest.  Very cool!  We read 2 books, Pelle's New Suit about a boy in the spring, shearing a sheep to get wool for a new suit.  And also Seasons,  a book with gorgeous paintings about the seasons.   We all had such fun today on a Tiny Treks Excursion!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Spy with a Spyglass!

We made spyglasses this week so we could go search in the forest for animals, bugs, spiderwebs and colors.  We also got to meet Frannie the Fox-a fun puppet who taught us a bit about foxes.  We pretended to be different animals; kangaroos jumping, bunnies hopping, horses galloping and fish swimming. Then we were off to see animals. Outside in the sun the turkeys were doing a mating dance.  The swish of their feathers as they opened sounded like a ladies fan! When we counted the eggs we saw chickens fighting over the eggs and pecking at them.  What were they doing? They were eating their own eggs! We played "I spy with my little eye something black and white."  The children had no problem finding the black and white chickens.  We played the game as we hiked on the trail along the stream.  We peaked into holes in the ground and wondered who might live in there-a rabbit?  A squirrel?  A fox?  or even a snake.  We ended the class playing I spy and looking closely at paintings of the Amazon Rainforest.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Olympics come to Tiny Treks!

The Insignificant Elephant
This week Tiny Treks experienced its own version of the Olympics!  The kids had such fun first looking at pictures of different olympic events in the newspaper and talking about what they might have seen on tv.  For a craft we created the Olympic symbol using pipe cleaners and cheerios on paper.  Next we pretended to be skiiers and birds flying high in the sky like the ski jumpers.  Each trekkers got to have their own olympic schedule to complete which included sports such as "balancing on a log" and "jumping off a rock".  Everyone was successful in garnering their own Gold Medal at the end of class! We read a story about a quiet elephant who manages to win a medal after not being noticed for a long time. It was very exciting to wear a medal home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tiny Trekkers create their own tree!

This week was the culmination of 4 weeks of learning about trees: their trunks, their growth rings and their roots.  So, we made a tree out of a long, cardboard box.  We covered it in construction paper and attached "roots" to the bottom along the floor and "leaves" to the top.  It was fun using tape and gluesticks and paper together.  We danced around the tree singing our Tree song (see below) and then had circle time.  We sang a Diamond favorite "Each of us is a flower".  On our hike, we saw a tree that had just fallen on the path and got to see the roots up close!  We also played hide and seek from the moms.  We saw trees growing around stumps with roots WAY up in the air.  We ended our day eating "ants on a log" snacks and reading Going on a Bear Hunt, which brings us to the next 4 weeks session.  What lives in the forest?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We read Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Trees

This was a fun book to go over with the Tiny Trekkers after exploring the girth of trees, tree rings and roots.  All are covered in this book.  It was a little wordy for the preschoolers but fun to look at the funny man who "knows" trees! I adapted the book for the different ages in my classes.  You can do this at home by adding in more or less of the information while watching your child's attention span. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Roots Rock!

We continued today with our Tree Theme.  We made "tree roots" with toilet paper rolls and paper.  We looked at different kinds of roots from radishes to beets.  We were able to see all kinds of roots on our hike. There were roots to trip on in the path and uprooted trees with their roots all ready to be looked at. We saw small roots and big roots.  We even learned about how the roots suck up the water and nutrients with their roots by using a straw to drink orange juice.  Roots are awesome!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tree Song

From : -

Sung to: "The Farmer in the Dell"

The trees are growing high,

(Raise arms overhead, fingers touching.)

The trees are growing high.

With soil and rain and sunny days,

The trees are growing high.

The trees are growing roots,

(Bend over and touch floor.)

The trees are growing roots.

With soil and rain and sunny days,

The trees are growing roots.

The trees are growing bark,

(Run hands up and down sides.)

The trees are growing bark.

With soil and rain and sunny days,

The trees are growing bark.

All about Trees!

This January we have been studying trees.  We began by measuring around trees and talking about which were bigger around and which were smaller.  Sometimes we guessed and then checked to see if we were right by using yarn.  The next week we explored growth rings on trees.  We learned we could tell how old a tree is by counting the circles.  This week we are talking about tree roots and what they are for.  I wonder how many roots we can see on trees?  Are they always underground or sometimes can we see them above ground?  I'll let you know what the children have discovered about tree roots tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome to Tiny Treks in the Northwest!

It is an exciting time to be opening the hearts and minds of young ones and their parents and guardians to the world outside. We know that our world is changing-we read about environmental disasters every day. Glaciers melting, forests burning... and if you are like me you wonder "what can a person like me do to help?"

An an educator, I believe that teaching our newest generation the love of nature and the outdoors is the first and one of the most crucial steps to keeping our planet vibrant and alive.

Bring your child to Tiny Treks and together we can search for bugs under rocks and birds rapping on trees. Let's make sure that this next generation has some of the memories we have of running through the woods, squishing toes in the sand and making mud pies.

Our lives are so clean and our child's lives so organized. But nature brings out creativity and exuberance we can perhaps get no where else. Nature is unpredictable. Nature is a force to be reconned with. Let's enjoy and appreciate it!