Nature’s bounty was on display this week as we visited the Pearlstone Retreat Center and farm. From harvesting potatoes to discovering how goats are milked, the children experienced what fall is like on a farm. The children continued their investigations of seeds and fall food through play with wheat dough and acorns, while some classes made purple dough with pokeweed dye*. Children also gathered seeds to make seed crowns, explored ears of corn in the sensory table, and learned about root vegetables by touch and smell.
*Pokeweed berries are amazing in color but should never be eaten. All parts of pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) are toxic at different times in the plant’s growth cycle and can be harmful if ingested. The berries are the least toxic when ripe; the root is the most toxic part of the plant. That said, pokeweed has many medicinal uses and even shows promise in some cancer treatments. Poke berries are highly valuable to wildlife and the ink is wonderful for painting and writing. If you incorporate poke berries in your play, please be sure that children know not to eat them!