After visiting the forest on a regular schedule, the children in the toddler room appear to have become more comfortable exploring different areas of the forest. Today a child from the preschool room asked to go down to the muddy puddle, so I extended the invitation to three of the toddlers who were standing with us. The child in blue asked for a shovel before we headed down and I asked if anyone else needed anything before we went to see if the muddy puddle was still there. With everyone ready to go, we started to walk towards the area where the they usually found their mud. The preschool aged child spotted it as we got a bit closer announcing, “It’s still wet!”
When we arrived at the muddy puddle this child walked right in. The child in the red and white coat watched and said, “no”. The child in the green coat smiled and followed the preschool aged child into the puddle, while the child in blue crouched down to begin digging in the mud with his shovel. The preschool aged child, who really wanted to play with one of the toddlers, encouraged her to come in. “It’s muddy. It’s squishy.” Then the preschool aged child sat right down in the mud and moved her feet in the water. The child in the green coat laughed as she watched as the preschool aged child and then headed back through the mud and water.
“Children communicate through play, build relationships through play, articulate needs through play, and most importantly have fun through play. Learning that emerges through play is meaningful because of the authenticity of those playing – the play occurs on their terms, guided but not dictated by an educator” (Forest and Nature School in Canada, 2014, p. 26).