We've been shifting gears this past week, into Spring. Our songs have included a fun little "jumping jack" poem where we sing "Crocus, crocus open up, and CATCH a sunbeam in your cup!" The children love doing this with all kinds of flowers. We also sing a song that goes "Where are the froggies (turtles, lambkins, brown bears...) when the north wind blows? We do not see them in the ice and snow. Deep, deep, down in the mud (ground, barn, cave) they lie, little froggies with tight closed eyes. When the springtime comes again, little froggies jump (crawl, spring, bumble) about, Oh how happy they will be, a spring time world they will see!" The game incorporates a tremendous amount of movement and is also an exercise in calming down. Occupational therapists are finding that children benefit from games and activities where rest and activity alternate, as it helps them to develop the capacity to control their own excitement and movement. It's a fun way to learn the discipline of calming oneself. In the above game, children mimic the animals resting, and then springing up and jumping around. Then they rest again. We also have been doing a lot of house/fort building during our inside time, and working on making those houses a calmer place from the outside play. Again, creating places and times for calmer play and alternating it with more active play to create the ability to find calm.
The colder weather this past week prolonged our forest hikes a little longer. We can see bulbs poking their little heads up all over the play yard, but they are not yet braving the full emergence from the ground! The children planted peas a couple weeks ago and they look carefully each day to see if they have begun to grow yet, but those too are waiting. A frequent game during these wetter days is "tow truck", where someone drives their car or bike, and then gets it "stuck" and calls for a friend to tow them out. Often, a friend is happy to play along and help pull their friend out of their spot, but sometimes everyone is engaged in other activities, in which case I have to let the child know to "be their own tow truck". So, they'll get themselves moving again and find a place to get "stuck" closer to a friend and continue the game. And on it goes! I do love seeing how these children seek one another out.