Early Childhood Programs Blog

Living Off of The Land Week 2

October 18, 2016 - Earth Friends



For our second week we started off by playing a really fun game called camouflage in the outdoor classroom. The outdoor classroom is really just an awesome area with lots of natural objects to hide behind, climb on, dig in, and create with, where it’s impossible to not want to play! Camouflage is sort of like hide and go seek where the seeker is stationary and the hiders have to be able to see the seeker. It is a great game for scout training where you have to sneak up on a predator or prey without them noticing you!

It was raining lightly so we headed to the covered picnic tables to go over knife safety for carving! Everyone was really excited to carve and was very patient in listening to the safety instructions. We went over things like carving away from yourself, blood circle meaning having a proper distance away from other people, not traveling with an unsheathed knife, not leaving your knife unattended, and paying attention while carving. I only had to remind a few people about the rules, and overall everyone was very focused, serious, and therefore safe.

While many people associate knives with danger, they are a tool that when used carefully and wisely can create many useful and beautiful things. Carving and using sharp tools is a skill that has been used by humans from a very young age for many millions of years. It may seem counter-intuitive, but for children that have trouble paying attention, helping them learn how to carve safely can actually strengthen their focusing ability. This is because most children want more responsibility, but also don’t want to get hurt so they pay attention. If you want to know more about how knives and potentially risky activities can be helpful to children’s growth please read this amazing article by Dr. Peter Gray https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201404/risky-play-why-children-love-it-and-need-it

After spending some time carving we went over the three needs of a fire: Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen. We also experimented with what would burn and learned how living plants which are mostly green and bendy are that way because of water! Whenever I first work with a group of older kids with fire, I like to see how they would build one themselves without my help. Not surprisingly, when they are allowed to test and experiment freely, they figure out pretty quickly what materials work well. Also not surprisingly, as soon as we work with fire there is the mention of cooking or roasting marshmallows over it!

Lastly, we made some charcoal face paint by crushing up some charcoal with rocks and mixing it with water from the puddles created by the rain! While we spent most of the day on carving and fire, it was important to me that we had sufficient time to go over the safety so everyone can go home happy and healthy 🙂

See you next week!