Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Popcorn over an open fire!

Teacher Roo starting the fire and teaching about it at the same time. 

A happy Tiny Trekker with her snack.
What do children learn from making their own popcorn over the fire?  First we start with fire safety.  The children must kneel down next to the fire before they add sticks to make sure they are stable near the fire.  They must walk around the fire and face the fire at all times while in the fire ring.  Then there is the making of the popcorn packet and putting it in the fire.  Wow!  The kids feel accomplished making their own food!  And when they take it out they have the satisfaction of having done it themselves.  Made their own snack!

At Tiny Treks Outdoor preschool the children are continuing to learn fire safety and how to build a fire and how to feed a fire.  These are essential skills for kids who are going to love the outdoors and everything to do with it: camping, hiking, caretaking.  That is our goal at the Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool:  To help bring up children with an intense love of nature and the outdoors.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Climbing Trees, Snakes and a Garden!

The Monday TTOP kids found a great climbing tree!  We are excited that we are still finding cool spaces at Keep It Simple!  They climbed and played in and on the tree for ages.  When the Wednesday group found out there was a climbing tree, we eagerly went there and everyone tried out climbing or watched and learned, according to their abilities.
On Wednesdays we are having a gardening theme for the rest of the year.  We have already planted bean starts, and last week pumpkin seeds.  We are preparing the land for cucumber seeds and perhaps peas.  It is so exciting to lift up the cardboard and burlap that has been on the land to keep the weeds out.  Underneath we have found roly polys, spotted milipedes, red worms, earthworms and lots of spiders.  
 Last week we saw a garden snake making its way around the garden.  This week we were very sad to see that it had died.  We were all very curious about how it died.  Some ideas were the tractor drove over it or the cats killed it.  Either way we all mourned its passing.
We plan for our TTOP (Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool) garden to make it through the summer and be another element in our outdoor teaching for our Fall Preschool Program.

Parents: We still have a few spaces left for the TTOP summer camps!

Tiny Treks "Expedition" Camp
Send your 3-6 year old child to experience camp with Tiny Treks!   Each day will be a new exploration while we plan an expedition into the woods with maps and flashlights.  One day we'll cook marshmallows over an outdoor fire and sing silly campfire songs.  Another day will be all about maps and adventures.  Activities each day include a short hike, circle time with singing and laughter, a craft or outdoor exploration.  Please send a snack and lunch each day.
June 23/24/25 930am-1230pm $100

Tiny Treks “Chrysalis to Butterfly” Camp
Your child will get to chase butterflies in the grass with nets and peer at chrysalis with magnifying glasses.  They’ll have fun crafting a chrysalis, caterpillars and colorful butterflies and learn butterfly songs..  Activities each day include a short hike, circle time with singing and laughter, a craft or outdoor exploration.  Please send a snack and lunch.
July 7/8/9 930am-1230pm $100

Tiny Treks "Gone Fishing" Camp
Kids love to pretend to fish!  Your young one will find and make their own natural fishing pole, learn about fish and the water then head to the woods and Bear Creek to “fish”.   Each day will center around who lives in and near the water in Bear Creek.  Activities every day include a short hike, circle time with singing and laughter, a craft or outdoor exploration.  Please send a snack and lunch.

July 21/22/23 930am-1230pm $100

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Getting the soil ready for planting

The Wednesday Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool Kids (TTOP) were very busy this week getting the soil ready for planting.  We had to pull weeds (the teachers had to get rid of nasty big thistles ) and we had to pull up the cardboard and burlap sacks used on the soil to keep out weeds.  Then we spent lots of time filling up buckets with water, digging in the soil, making hills to plant seeds on and for the most part, working as a team to get the work done!
Everyone was very busy filling up and dumping water.  It was a perfect thing to do in the 80 degree weather.  We even had some fun running under a "sprinkler" when Teacher Ann put the hose up high in the air.  The water felt so good!

After we cleaned the mud off all of the buckets and shovels we put some little strawberry plants in the ground.  Next week we'll put some seed in and mark where they are.  Each week we'll check back to see if our seeds have sprouted.  With our strawberry plants, we'll see if they have survived this heat!

"planting" sticks in the ground.  Will they grow?
The Monday class looked at the differences in the tails of white tailed deer, mule deer and black tailed deer then we played in the woods looking for deer footprints. We made some if our own by the stream using potato molds.

We spent at lot of time planting sticks in the ground and wondering if they would grow. It was lots of fun using cups to take water from the beach to water our sticks in. Sometimes the water in our cup didn't make it to the stick especially if we squeezed the paper cup to hard on the way. We will check to see if our sticks have grown next week. 

Story time by the fire pit.
Listening to stories while having snack.

An overview of the class:
The kids are enjoying getting to know each other this session.  There are 9 kids on Mondays and 8 kids on Wednesdays.   We are working on learning to sit and listen during circle time, on raising hands before we speak in the circle, listening to stories and staying together as a group.  We are learning  how to be a "Bungy Kid".  This means that the children  are learning how far they can wander from the group before they need to come back.  Our safety rules are that they always must be able to see one of the teachers.  If their name is called, they must come right back. They can play with sticks but must watch where the stick is in space so they don't hit anyone.  We'll be working on all of these safety rules as the session continues.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Raccoons and Earth Day

 It was a raccoon-y time at Keep It Simple Farms.  On Monday the Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool kids made masks and read stories about raccoons.  They went looking for raccoon prints in the mud and played in the woods.
On Wednesday we were talking about Earth Day.  We made crafts from recycled objects; container lids, wood bits, spools and practiced using tape and scissors.  We had a discussion about how we can make our planet better-recycling toys and clothes and things from the kitchen.  Picking up trash.  Then, we sang a fun song called:

Reduce Reuse Recycle Song ( sung to the tune of Have you ever seen a lassie)

Reduce Reuse Recycle, recycle recycle
Reduce Reuse Recycle It's easy to do.
Cause your world is my world, and my world is your world.
Reduce Reuse Recycle It's easy to do.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quality Time in Nature

There was  lots of listening play today at Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool.  We heard crows, compared the sounds of the small chicks with the grown chickens, and then we played sand castles by the river.  We made our own special leaf boats to sail on Bear Creek.  The water was flowing very fast today after all of our rain this weekend.

Farmer Leon  showed us a snake skin he had found on the farm.  The kids were having fun climbing up downed trees and enormous Douglas Fir Trees.  We are having fun watching the baby chicks become awkward teenager chickens.  

We, on the other hand, are far from teenagers and keep the wonder of childhood live by spending quality time in nature.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nature's Art at Keep it Simple Farm

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool has been creating temporary nature art at Keep It Simple Farms.  It didn't take long before the kids got the hang of what we were thinking about.  They made rock piles, ferns and rocks and sometimes ferns and sticks.  And because they were children, they didn't feel compelled to make the art completely balanced the way an adult might.  They added a stick to the leaves and called it art.
Wednesday's class was so excited to find the art that Monday's class had created and now this week, to find some of their art still there and bummed to find some gone.  But then they quickly replaced the missing art with new art. The kids were wondering if other visitors at KIS are finding their art too!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

See saw Majorie Daw

The Wednesday We had an amazing time these past 2 weeks at Keep It Simple Farms.  First with the flooding, which got into our boots and was really fun to splash through and play with.  We did lots of pretending.  We have an ongoing game of family going on.  The kids want me to be the youngest with the kids choosing to be mother or father, older brother, grampa etc.  Soon it is time for my "nap" and then they spent a lot of time making me "hot chocolate" "chicken noodle soup" and other yummy concoctions from the water that had invaded one of our usual spots.

We spent a lot of time talking about why there was so much water. (everyone remembered the heavy rains of the week before) and watching how differently the water acted.  The water was flowing quicker than normal and over the beaver dam and over other big logs in the stream.

When we got to the designated deer sanctuary we found a  small log lodged in a tree.  Perhaps the Monday group had hauled it there?  We moved it over a few feet and voila-it became a teeter totter!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stick Animals!

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool found lots of water today and not so much mud as last week.

We managed to light the fire today and cook some marshmallows. Some got so squishy they fell off before we could eat them. But we got better with practice. It was funny to see them melt in the fire.

Afterwards we took some sticks to make stick animals. They were all very colorful.  Maybe they were chameleons and were matching the tablecloth! Or rainbow snakes.
Parents!  Please let your friends know about Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool!  The next session begins on March 31st!  Here is the schedule below.  Payment for the next session is due by March 19th.
Please note there is no school during Northshore School District's Spring Break and also no school on Memorial Day. 
March 31 – June 9 – 10 weeks $270 (no school April 14 or May 26/Memorial Day)
April 2 – June 11 – 10 weeks $300 (no school April 16)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sticks and Stones-for fun!

Sometimes it takes a group to carry a stick this big!  We had one child with a big stick and other kids feeling left out of the stick world.  When this stick was noticed in the stream-it just had to come out. Since it was 15 feet long it took 3 of them to carry it. The three of them lugged it all the way to the deer sanctuary and then deposited it on top of another stick pile they made called "the bench".

In the deer sanctuary we found deer scat (poop) and deer hoof prints.  I guess they really do use it as a sanctuary like the sign says!

Along the way we celebrated the Olympics by balancing and jumping off logs, finding spider webs, jumping in a puddle and running around trees.  There was also a rousing game of hide and seek with some big tic tac toe pieces I found in my garage!  Then some regular hide and seek. All to soon it was lunch and stories time.  And we got to eat in the sun.  Ahhhh!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Mondays have a theme of wood and trees.  We had a lot of fun talking about wood, and playing a memory game of what's in the bag? Can we remember? 

What are the things made of? What are trees used for?

Then we found the mud! We splashed, we mixed, we gave bits of wood a mud bath, we dug.  We put our fingers in it and sat in it. We then had to wash ourselves off with the hose!

We were having too much fun in the mud to find sticks to paint,  so we will do our stick craft next week.


And that's the way we roll at Tiny Treks.  If there is something happening nature-wise that we didn't plan for or the kids find something they want to focus on-our planning goes out the window.  We can always study about wood, but we can't always squish in the mud!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sticks, floods and make believe

We've had lots of rain this past week and today we found Bear Creek overflowing it's bank and up onto the trails we usually take at Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool.  We had to turn around and try another route.  That ended up being flooded too, but just the right amount to walk through.  Pretty exciting stuff.  We had to be very careful since this walkway can get very slippery with moss.
The Tiny Trekkers had a special day today learning about the Olympics.  We jumped off rocks, ran around trees and pitched rocks into a hole for some of the events.  Another event was to "fly like a bird."  Some of us kept up playing birds while others became other flying types: Pegasus and a flying princess. 
These 3 Trekkers decided that they needed a special nest for their pony and princess.  One of the "bald eagles" was willing to help move the sticks needed for their structure. 
I'm always fascinated when kids spontaneously help each other.  They are usually eager to help out and enjoy the process of who will walk with the stick and who will carry. As you can see, one of the helpers got the stick between his legs and it was quite awkward to walk.  But he still made it happen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow at TTOP and Keep It Simple Farm!

Weren't we lucky to still have some snow left on Monday for Tiny Treks?   The kids found duck, cat  and raccoon prints in the snow and then enjoyed making some of their own.
With cups and spoons and some snow-anything is possible.  The kids enjoyed pretending in the snow and exploring the back woods together. The craft was a snowman made with finger paint.  Some of the kids weren't very comfortable getting their fingers dirty-so we'll be spending more time on that as the classes proceed. 

There is a make up class on Monday for the missed Monday class.  See you there!  Teacher Ann

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thumbs Up and Thumbs down on ideas about the wind.

We're learning about wind and it was a wind-less day today.  But the kids spent time using their newly made fans, blowing around leaves and trying to blow rocks.  During circle time we discussed how we thought different things in the woods would behave if we blew on them.  Teaching the idea of "thumbs up for yes and thumbs down for no" we hypothesized that tree stumps would not move, spider webs would move with our wind and leaves would also.  Someone wondered if the fur on an animal would move-so we were off to go find out!

We first went to Lily the goat.  She was standing right next to the fence so we could blow on her fur a bit and it did move.  We proved that point!  Next on our hike we stopped to "feed" the "Talking Tree" and also tried to "blow it over".  Impossible!  Thumbs down with blowing over a tree stump.

We blew on a fern and its leaves moved.  So did the spider web and lichen.  We also watched the lichen scurry down the stream-weaving in and out of the rocks along with the current.

When we stopped on the way back to watch the horse in the sun with steam escaping from his nostrils, we all tried making steam from our mouths.  Oh yes-it was still cold out.  We could all see our breath!

Next time we get together we are going to pretend to be tornadoes by spinning around fast!  I wonder how many of us will get dizzy from it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool having fun

We began the Tiny Treks day learning about wind and making our own fans.  We had fun seeing what things we could "blow" with the fans: some straw but not the rocks.  Our hair and faces.  The kids enjoyed cooling off Teacher Ann while played the guitar and taught them some of the words to "Blowin in the Wind."

Next it was on to the chicken coop.  I had found some chicken feed from when I kept chickens at my house-so I brought it in for the kids to throw for the chickens.  The chickens were very excited about this treat and so were the kids.  We even got to help gather eggs from the nesting boxes.  There were 13 eggs today!

Soon it was time for snack.  We headed over to the fire pit and scrambled up onto the new big logs that ring the fire pit.  We didn't have a fire but we enjoyed our snack and stories.  We read a book that had true and false questions about weather.  The kids really knew their stuff about weather!  Then we also read a story about Chinese New Years and learned all about the Lion and Dragon puppets.  We all thought they were pretty cool and maybe a little scary too!
After a rousing game of hide and seek in the woods we spent lots of time making and baking along the stream.  This is a northwest version of mud pies.  Instead of mud we used rocks and sand to make hot chocolate, ice cream, smoothies, strawberries and rocky road ice cream.  There was also some cake baking going on too.  The kids played in the stream for a long time-interacting with each other and using their wonderful imaginations.

Tummies began rumbling and it was time for lunch.  During lunch we read more stories and I also played more songs on the guitar.  It was a good day at Keep It Simple Farms with Tiny treks!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Learning about rain and water

Water play is fun any day of the year.  At Tiny Treks I often carry in my backpack some kind of cups or bowls.  When I get them out the kids just begin to fill them.  It might be with stones or dirt or leaves or water.  But they always are eager to fill them up.  I think this is like the story of giving your child an expensive toy and what they are most excited about is the box.  So all I need is the outdoors, a stream and some plastic bowls and I've got kids excited to fill up the bowls, water the plants along the side of the stream or throw the water back into the stream and watch it splash.  This week the water play went on for a long time.  So long that one of the kids said-"Teacher Ann-Its time to hike!" So then, I interrupted the play of the other kids so we could continue exploring.  But it lasted a good long time.

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool has a certain place along the trail that it loves at Keep It Simple Farms.  There is an area where the trees are all deciduous and easy to climb on and around.  The kids have games that they play every time they arrive.  Here is one of the trekkers "driving a car" on the tree.  "Beep Beep!"
During January we are learning about weather-so we got to have fun with shaving cream, water and eye droppers full of blue food coloring.  The idea was to add blue water to the "clouds" of shaving cream to see how much water a cloud could accept before it "rained".  The kids were very intent, watching the shaving cream fill up with the blue food coloring and then raining down into the jar.  We all had fun cleaning up as well!

Next week we are learning about the wind.  I'm looking forward to using straws and fans to teach how wind moves things around.