This week, the Sprouts at wBees thought critically about what it takes for ecosystems to flourish and support life. The children discussed what role people play in protecting living organisms in their habitats. The solution was unanimous: grown ups and kids alike need to be aware of themselves and how they are contributing to our great outdoors! From playing respectfully and kindly with friends, to making sure we leave spaces outside better than we found them, the sprouts put these practices into action. It all started with a book about a garbage man named Mr. Gilly and some seed pods found by some of wBees’ very own mini explorers.
From this we had some ideas and big questions. What will this seed be? What will it need to grow? Where does it belong? What is nature? How can nature benefit people? What should we do to protect nature? The sprouts started to connect what they do indoors to how to support the outdoors by beginning to separate their trash into landfill garbage, compost, and recycling. With out trash, plants and trees can grow and animals can be safe from digesting harmful items. Nonfiction texts read about the circle of life and the food chain had kids hooting, howling, and roaring just like the animals they want to protect! Birds love the trees that grow in our beautiful green space at McGorlick Park. As do we! They give us shade to play on those super hot days. And so much entertainment and learning when we discover different insects and animals living on and inside of them. We decided that if we can keep green spaces clean more birds can thrive and even spread seeds!
The sprouts undertook a three day project of building their own tree and adding to it leaves and creating their own birds based off of what they studied together! We collected natural materials to build nests for our birds. By the end of the week everyone was working together to do the right thing by our great outdoors!
Hello wBees families,
We started Monday with a wonderful (and at times overwhelming) surprise in McGolrick. Over the weekend there was a super bloom of our favorite furry dudes. There were giant fuzzy caterpillars everywhere we looked. Friends caught what felt like thousands of them all around the park but made sure to take care of them.
We started a little experiment by burying a banana peel and a piece of plastic packaging in a special spot in our green space to see how they both changed during the week. We made predictions about how they would change. Some friends thought they would be exactly the same at the end of the week and some thought they would be a little broken down.
Inside we busted out the water beads for our sensory bin. The water bead bin quickly became a bustling kitchen with kiddos serving up new concoctions like the “every drink like the everything bagel” and my personal favorite, the guava and chocolate smoothie.
We saved our waste throughout the day during our inside time we took a break from works and sorted it into 3 different categories: recycle, compost, and landfill. We made a chart of the different items and discussed what happens to each item after it leaves us.
On Tuesday we were back in the pavilion because of rain. We continued our investigation into waste and learned how important worms are for compost. We learned that worms eat the food scraps we don’t eat and turn it into healthy wonderful soil. Some friends pointed out that plants grow out of soil and then we eat the plants. It is a cycle! We also had some questions about when food isn’t composted and instead goes to the landfill. Can the worms get to it there?
Teacher Sara taught us a new song with greetings in many languages and after we shared all the different languages we spoke in our group.
On Wednesday we continued our investigation into waste. We learned exactly how landfills work and were surprised by some facts. We also discovered that landfills have several layers of plastic lining at the bottom so that the waste won’t pollute soil and water. That also means that worms can’t get to the food scraps in landfills. So instead of becoming delicious dirt it rots and produces methane. One of our kiddos pointed out that some of the other planets in our solar system have lots of methane gas and it is not good for human lungs.
We also found lots of worms in our green space. We practiced what we had learned the day before about worms and made sure to put them back into the dirt after we looked at them for a bit.
On Thursday we had our first field trip of the summer! We took a long bus ride to Prospect Park. Along the way we learned when is the right time to push the button for your stop. Once we arrived at the park we had a delicious snack that gave us the energy to enjoy Zucker Natural Playground! In Zucker many friends played a game that involved a complicated royal family and their servants. There was a brief labor strike and in the end the workers got better pay and working conditions. We also investigated a pond in the back of the area that had so many dragonflies! We climbed all over the tree structures and did lots of running and digging. After that we sat down to lunch and then marched back to our bus stop singing the whole way.
On Friday we had a special guest. After observing how some of the trees in our green space had parts of their bark stripped away, we invited a local friend of McGolrick Park and wildlife conservationist, Chuck, to lead our group on a nature walk and teach us about how important the trees are to the park and how they help the animals that live there. He taught us about how trees soak in the sun through leaves and roots absorb water to feed the trees and they need the bark completely covering the trunk (the way we need skin to cover our bodies) for nutrients to pass through the tree to help it live. He helped us understand that we can help the trees thrive by only climbing on trees that are big and sturdy, by being gentle with leaves and branches of small trees, and caring for the trunks by leaving the bark attached.
We dug up the banana peel and plastic wrapper that we had buried earlier in the week to see how they had changed. We observed that the banana peel had turned dark brown, shriveled and was in pieces. The plastic however hadn’t changed at all. We talked about decomposition, and learned that while a banana may decompose in 4 weeks, a plastic bottle might take 500 years to break down.
During our inside time children were busy preparing cookies, cakes, and decorations out of play doh to celebrate the anniversary of the king and queen (Floyd and Maddie) who had married earlier in the week.
It was a fun day to bookend a fun filled, super creative week.
We had such a busy and exciting week at camp! Your children were such a delight and we truly enjoyed all of their unique and enthusiastic energy. We focused on insects as our theme of study this week. We discussed many types of insects but specifically focused on bees, butterflies, snails, worms, and praying mantises. We read a book about a praying mantis named Manuelo who just wanted to make music like many of his insect peers who use their own bodies to create sound. Luckily, he was able to create a cello from natural objects with the help of an unlikely spider friend and be an integral part of the summer symphony of insects. We also learned about the integral function of bees in our society and were amazed to learn that their back legs have little baskets utilized for collecting pollen. The live snails were an absolute hit! The children loved helping the teacher’s cut up fruit to put in the bin and we enjoyed counting the cute babies and also watching them slide on their bellies across the dirt. We learned that snails can change genders throughout their life and also that they grow with their shell.
Your children were so happily engaged in all of the classroom works and activities this week as well. They happily used our kitchen and beloved ice cream stand to engage in dramatic play with their friends and many chose to paint, build with a variety of building materials, put together puzzles and so much more. Although it was hot, our outdoor time at McGolrick was filled with so much creative and spontaneous interactions with nature. In the new playground, they used the climbing ropes, slides, swings, and the sprinklers. In the green space, the children were immersed in the joy of digging and creating mud, climbing the climbing tree, using sticks to build homes and structures and also engaging in a variety of games like red light green light. Thank you kindly for sending your lovely children to us this week and we hope to see you at another week or around the neighborhood!
Hello wBees Families,
We had another wonderful week outside. This week we learned about animal habitats and how humans can impact them!
On Monday, we learned about how different animals make their homes in trees. During our morning circle, we read a book about a tree that provided food, shade, and shelter to many different animals of the forest. As we played in our green space we made observations about the different animals we saw in the trees. We noticed caterpillars, birds, and squirrels. A big hit on Monday, and throughout the rest of the week, was making stinky soup with mud, sticks, and imaginary disgusting items (skunk spray, old socks, etc).
On Tuesday teacher Adrianna brought in doll house furniture and kiddos set up a beautiful caterpillar village. By the end of our time in the green space there were caterpillars crawling over every inch of the village. There was an especially rambunctious caterpillar that inspired a lot of silly squeals! Nicholas taught many of us how to play a new game, “What time is it, Mr. Fox?” Friends played that in both the green space and on the playground! We also collected twigs, leaves, and other materials for building bird nests. We started noticing that as we looked around for nest materials we were also finding many pieces of plastic that humans had left behind.
Wednesday was our hottest day of the week and we got creative. Some friends filled up buckets of water and dumped them down the slide on the playground as they slid down to create a DIY water slide. Brilliant! We spent a lot of time running through the sprinklers on Wednesday and chugging water! Inside we learned about animals that create homes underground by reading Mama Dug A Little Den. Afterwards we created a group art project. Each child drew a burrowing animal in our shared burrow mural. Some friends chose to do research about their burrowing animal so they could make it more realistic. Axel researched what hedgehogs ate so that he could draw his with a tasty meal in its burrow. We learned that hedgehogs eat snails!
Thursday was a wonderful rainy day! We got to start the day in a new space and splash around in puddles and the rain. As it started to clear up we spent a lot of time playing a new favorite game, Red Rover! Teacher Sara showed us how to mix water and chalk to make beautiful pastel paint! We noticed that birds had built nests in the pavilion. We also noticed that humans had their left their marks in the green space behind the pavilion with a lot of plastic trash. Campers were wondering what to do about it so we started learning about Leave No Trace principles, starting with properly disposing of waste. Friends did a great job leaving no trace in all the spaces we were in for the rest of the week!
On Friday we were back to our regular routine and because of the rain we finally found some worms! The worms were very treasured and joined the caterpillars in the caterpillar village. Some friends created eye patches out of paper, grass, and crayons. Friends also got creative with methods to cool down and ran to the sprinklers to get their bottoms wet and then went down the slide!
We are so excited for another wonderful week outside!
Thank you all for a wonderful first week of camp. What a wonderful way to kick off the summer. This week campers had a blast digging in the dirt and creating mud puddles. We climbed trees and ran all around the grassy green space of McGolrick park with favorite games such as “Fishy Fishy Cross My Ocean”.
We brought art to the park with a yarn fort installation and using chalk and water to create a paint for painting bark. A few campers tried their hand at climbing the knotty big tree on Russell side of the green space and teachers made sure to only direct and help guide Saplings rather than by physically pushing them higher. This helped campers know how far their body could go with their own climbing. Campers also enjoyed lots of gross motor play on the playground and cooled down in the sprinklers.
During our circle times we talked and read about the forest and observations we made in our green space. We learned about how to identify trees found in McGolrick Park using bark and leaves as a guide and how each type of tree has unique seeds. We even discussed how important a tree's bark is to keep it healthy and how some trees that are ailing are helped by getting grafts placed on it.
Indoors we brought found natural objects with us to create mixed medium art projects.
The karaoke machine was a huge hit during extended day when campers created “talent shows”!
We had a wonderful first week of camp getting to know our Sprouts! This week the campers practiced being explorers of nature and we talked about how different plants grow from seeds.
Our morning indoor time was full of fun activities like slime, play dough, block building, puzzles, dress-up, drawing & painting and, of course, reading books! An absolute favorite music-time song had the campers pretending to be sleepy lions who would pop up and dance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsNUtmZyPLk) and we used our knowledge about plants to sing and dance along to the song “One Seed” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDtehB-BpIA).
The campers had a blast on the playground, swings, and cooling off in the sprinklers. After lunch we spent time in the green space digging in the mud, climbing trees, making art, and singing songs. Sprouts had the chance to paint a big mural that we later used as pieces to make collages, paint a giant branch & rock we found in the green space, make nature sun-catchers and sparkly fairy wands. We are looking forward to more fun-filled weeks with the Sprouts this summer!