Friday Travelling Toddlers – Kiwanis – November 18
It almost feels like we’ve come full circle being back at Kiwanis Park in Cole Harbour for our Parent and Tot program. In spring of 2022 we started this program at this very park and have spent many days here with many families enjoying all the perks of this beautiful park. We have had toddlers splashing through the water and tiny buried toes in the sand; we’ve harvested wild strawberries and played in the fluff of cattails. This park has brought us so many experiences through multiple programs, but it’s accessibility and diversity of outdoor play mediums makes for a perfect place for toddlers to toddle through nature and learn about their surroundings.
On this particular day we welcomed a small group of parents and their young children to the forest – some new and some returning. We had a nice day exploring the park and connecting with one another.
PD Workshop – November 20
On November 20 we were fortunate enough to host our first workshop! This workshop was called “Image of the Outdoor Child.” We are so grateful to Liz Hicks for bringing this opportunity to us and thirteen community members who really enjoyed engaging in the activities and learning lots along the way.
Stay tuned for future Wild Child hosted workshops! We are so excited to provide even more opportunities to bring the community together.
PD day – Bedford and Cole Harbour – November 21
In HRM November 21 was a PD for many students, giving them the opportunity to join us in the forest. On this date we held two PD classes: one at Cole Harbour Heritage Park, and one in Bedford Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness Area. Being the end of November it becomes extra important to keep an eye on the temperatures throughout the day to ensure everyone is comfortable. This particular Monday was forecasted to be negative eleven degrees Celsius, cold for even the wildest child, and some of our PD day students are still wild children in training (meaning they may not be fully equipped physically or mentally to handle a more difficult day in the forest).
To account for new members in the woods one of our leaders made up a sample schedule to display to ensure everyone was on the same page of how the day would (roughly) go. This is a basic guide we follow most days, substituting the “play” areas for specific activities the students are interested in that day.
Our Bedford location is in a wilderness area with no buildings and strict fire burning rules – making it extra difficult to stay warm on days like this. The children had a great day in the forest climbing trees, swinging in hammocks and exploring the forest – but inevitably, the day was called early due to the cold temperatures. We were happy to make it past lunch, but with a quick risk assessment to our day and the cold little bodies we knew it was the right call to leave a couple hours early.
Our Cole Harbour location is a different story as we are fortunate enough to have access to a large building at the park entrance. This Mondaywas the first time we’ve used the room for a program date (it was used for our Workshop on Nov 20), and we were very happy with how well it worked for us. This group started their morning in the program room quickly engaged in building, colouring, stacking, reading and just having fun with fiends, both new and old.
Once the sun was high in the sky the day started to warm up and the children were eager to venture out into the park. From here on the day was spent at “bumblebee camp” where the students created a ring of stumps with the recently chopped trees from the hurricane that were now on this site. Once the new seating area was completed they moved onto building forts and playing in the crunchy ice covered grass nearby.
In a perfect world we would spend all of our time in all of our programs outside, deep in nature; however, we are learning that to avoid cancelling programs we must find a balance and work with the resources we have. By using the building in the morning when the day was the coldest, these students were able to spend the whole day together, and still most of it outside in nature.
PD Day in Cole Harbour an Parent and Tot in Sackville – December 2
December second was another busy day in the forest for Wild Child as we ran another PD Day program and our usual Friday Parent and Tot program. The PD Day was held at Cold Harbour Heritage park and the Parent and Tot was in Lower Sackville at Acadia Park.
This particular Parent and Tot program was in a public park – providing us with outdoor play still, but less “nature” than we are used to ; nonetheless, the children made the most of it and still went home looking like dirty wild children.
The day started primarily at the playground; knowing the toddlers would inevitably end up their anyways, we set up right beside the park. From here, families started exploring out individually with their littles, eventually all re-gathering at the hill in the center of the park. A few of the kids, and even one of the parents, were eager to roll down this little hill as fast as they could, giggling all the way down.
A two hour program goes by fast – especially when you’re chasing after toddlers. The day finished with a few little bodies circled around a tree nearby the park. The base of the tree had gathered some water in the frozen ground , creating perfect conditions to breakout the mud kitchen and start splashing around.
We are so grateful to have both returning and new families each week at our Parent and Tot program and wish you all the happiest holiday season! We will see you in 2023!
I think this PD was one of our busiest! We had many return students in this group and some new ; it was a cold, but sunny day in the forest. The students spend time at our basecamp doing crafts, drawing pictures and reading books.
But these wild children didn’t stay in one place for very long; eager to explore around the park.
And of course it didn’t take them long to find the climbing tree; this was definitely a highlight of the day !
But with all that exploration comes only one thing …
The perfect hammock nap 🙂
Decathlon’s second birthday -December 5
If you haven’t heard about our new partnership with Decathlon than I’m excited to be the first one to share this exciting news with you!
“Decathlon is one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world. Founded in France in 1976, our family-run company designs, produces and distributes thousands of affordable products for over 65 sports, all around the world.” – Decathlon.ca
We are fortunate enough to have one of their many store locations worldwide here in our very backyard; Decathlon Atlantic is located in Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth NS and has officially been at this location for two years! And we are extra fortunate to be one of the venders asked to celebrate their second birthday with them.
Wild Child Forest School had a table set up at the entrance of the store during their celebrations to share what we do with even more of the community. We had a beginners whittling station with vegetable peelers and a water testing kit to compare lake and ocean water. We had an introduction to foraging with a “forest tea” handout and fresh plant samples. We had a knot tying station to practice your skills and we had story time with our favourite books ready to go. Oh and everyone’s favourite… we had a scavenger hunt with a Decathlon built prize pack (including a hammock, books and a water bottle).
We had so much fun building up our relationships with the community and our new partners at Decathlon. We are so excited to all the opportunities that this new relationship will bring for our Wild Child community – including a new twice-weekly climbing program coming January 26, 2023!