Early Childhood Programs Blog

Art, Water, Imagination and Exploration!

September 19, 2017 - Forest Dreamers

The Forest Dreamers have returned for another exciting school year in the great outdoors! We’ve done so much in the first days of class, that its hard to believe that only a week has passed! Ms. Tara and Ms. Paula already have so many great ideas and can’t wait to share them with the FD gang! The great thing is that you never know what you’ll find and where the next exciting thing will lead us! Below is the breakdown of our classes by day of the week.


    Our Monday/Wednesday class may be small, but is full of wonderment! This week, the forest friends were anxious to become young scientists! They observed the happenings inside of the bird boxes. They wanted to document what was in each one! In the ones documented, we found:

..1 with twigs

…1 with fluff

…1 with bees!

… and the rest were empty. I’ll bet those observations  will change drastically next spring!

Because of Irvine’s wetland restoration project, we now have fun and exciting runoff areas that are chock full of things like mud to stir and rocks to toss! Both groups really liked stirring up the mud and watching it settle and tossing things into it to watch them ‘plop’!

A charcoal stick made a great little face painting device when magically mixed with water and pokeberries made a fantastic fuchsia  hue when mixed with our squishing muscles in a mortar and pestle! We wondered if the birds would enjoy our pokeberry concoction or if they would enjoy some milkweed fluff. Either way, we left remnants of our findings along the trail for whatever little animal that may come along next!



     Our group may be large, but everyone has their unique interests! It’s been fun seeing personalities blossom over the week! On Tuesday, we found a rare sight, snake skin, frogs (of the golden color variety!), toads, worms and two (yes, two!) snakes! How did we get so lucky?? One of the snakes may have been ready to shed because its eyes were a pearlescent blue!

We, like the Monday/ Wednesday gang have really enjoyed Irvine’s new water features! Games of sink or float carried on for both days. We found that the dead and soft black walnuts had a much better chance of sinking than the hard and packed fresh green ones. We also enjoyed the clouds of mud that formed every time we threw something in! There was a tiny peeper that some enjoyed watching for a long time as it swam to and fro in a small puddle of water. It was really neat to watch his legs kick through the water!

An extra accompaniment on our journey was a large ceramic garden gnome! He was our visual aide for the story Goodnight Garden Gnome by Jamichal Henterly. We looked at the pictures to help us tell the story about a toy sculpture that comes to life.

The story became so fantastic, that we wrote our own adventure for our little tagalong during our snack time. Each student added a part to our story.

The Magic Coins and Snake

Once upon a time, there was a girl with a dwarf”

“He turned into real life;”

“a snake.”

“He ate a magic coin and then was flying around!”

“Then he was wearing a bandana and turned himself into a leaf.”

“Then, he was in the gazebo”

“He is a blind snake now, and is riding a bunny”

“By mistake he ate another magic coin and turned into a magical evil butterfly with more coins”

“The little girl found the dwarf of the ground and it was fast asleep

The End

What a journey that dwarf went on! We all had a good laugh about the turns this story took!

Checking out the meadow

They deemed this their ‘ship’


Frog catching club

They thought they saw a chipmunk!

Ms. Paula reading a tale with a visual helper!


Fascinated by frogs!

Look who’s watching!

Journaling about our experiences

Ms. Tara helps

Reaching to touch!

The meadow in late summer!

“Wait for me!” The gnome says

Reading and snacking

Ms. Tara helping draw a key

Ms. Tara got hungry and offered some wood sorrel

The elusive frog!

‘ribbiting’ back up the path!

Boy in the weeds!

He was knocking on the rocks with other rocks to hear their noises!

This water was the place to be!

Drawing himself climbing a tree

“I like these ferns”


Showing me his cannon!

Dirty and happy!

Some sunk and some floated!

Writing our story!

Tossing things in the water!



Imagine on, Forest Friends!