The temperatures have dropped and Forest Dreamers voted to find ice! We headed to the ponds to see what changes happened overnight with the freezing weather and BOY were we excited to see the ICE! We started off our walk noticing the frost on the leaves and under logs. Several of our Forest Dreamer friends wanted to bring their finds home to show their parents. They are so sweet!
Finally, we made it to the ponds. After seeing children start to walk on the inch-thick ice, we set some ground rules! The temptation to walk on the ice was so great that we had to sit everyone down and talk about ice safety and why we don’t blindly walk on icy ponds. We talked about depth of the ponds and thickness of ice! This also led to a discussion about ice fishing and how people drive cars on the ice to set up their shelters up north.
Most everyone tried to break the ice and some places were easier than others! The flowing stream did not freeze and what ice was found, was very thin. The kids quickly discovered where the flowing water and the ponds meet was the best place for results ! Huge sheets of ice were broken off by the pounding of sticks and rocks. Sadly, the kids were disappointed to head back to Irvine after playing for over 2 hours at the pond. The smiles on their faces as they walked back to the nature center was evidence of a good day with Forest Dreamers!
Today we had a HARD time moving. This was our last full day and we quickly made the decision to travel as a herd, school, swarm, pride, murder, gaggle…well, you get the picture. We had to travel together today 🙂 After exploring Irvine’s 200 plus acres for 13 weeks, the kids were VERY familiar with where they wanted to go! Whereas we initially set off for the larger back ponds, we were constantly side tracked but the frozen puddles along the way! Needless to say, we didn’t make the back ponds.
The weather was getting warmer and we asked the children if they thought the larger ponds would be frozen. How do they think the ice would be compared to the smaller ponds we explored earlier in the week? Most kids predicted the ponds would be just as frozen with a few hedging both “frozen and not”.
The ponds looked frozen as we approached but as the kids threw sticks on the water, they quickly made several holes on the surface. This caused excitement as the children proceeded to harvest the ice and even enjoy a frozen treat of “icicles”. They investigated the stream and found, to their amazement, some crane fly larvae. Everyone wanted to hold this discovery and watch the segments move as the larvae tried to escape their confinement. Who knew kids could have so much fun in the (near)winter!