Muddy Shoes - Story of the Day 

3/25/17

Greetings Muddy Shoes and Families!

We enjoyed a beautiful spring day out here and took advantage of the all the new plant growth and wildlife that comes with it! While waiting for some friends to arrived, we woke our bodies up to an animal form game called Cougar Stalks Deer. With one 'deer' facing the wall, the 'cougars' line up on the other side of the field and quietly try to sneak up on the deer without her/him hearing us. Anytime the deer hears a noise, they turn around and the cougars must freeze all movements so they do not get caught and go back to the starting line. This really helped us hone into our awareness skills, which came in handy later! Then, feeling the urge to continue animal forms, we role played as rabbits and foxes for a bit and collected leafy greens for the rabbits to eat and making dens for the foxes. 

We played until our stomachs growled with hunger, then decided to gather for our morning circle. With tasty snacks in hand, we brought our minds together by introducing ourselves and sharing what animal we would be if we could trade bodies for a day. Some said they would want to be a cheetah to run fast, while others wanted to be a dinosaur stomping around. We also set some rules for the group like always stick together, stick to the trails, protect our feet and hands, and always treat our friends with respect and kindness. For story, Lindsay read the book 'Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!' by Candace Fleming. One spring Mr McGreely planted a beautiful garden full of lettuce, carrots, peas and tomatoes. But when rabbits came and started eating his veggies, he tried everything he could do to keep those rabbits out. No matter what he did the rabbits still found a way into the garden, and Mr. McGreely eventually decides to give up and share the veggies with his new friends. This had us wondering what plants might be growing and what wildlife might be enjoying it, so we grabbed our backpacks and hit the trails!

As we hiked down trail, we couldn't help but notice all the pollinators buzzing around from flower to flower. We also found some tasty edibles and stopped to sample the fresh shoots of green briar, wood sorrell (and their pickles!) and turks cap along the way. Noticing a bunch of foamy stuff on the green grass blades, we stopped to inspect the home of the spittlebug and even coaxed one out of its home for a closer look. As we passed an algae filled pond, we practiced sneaking towards the water to see if we could spy on any frogs. Unfortunately the frogs were very aware and all we heard were their funny chirps as they hopped into the water. Continuing down the trail, the group shouted out any hazards we would pass like cactus and ant piles, making sure we were all safe and sound! Eventually we made it to a new hideout that was shaded by the new tree leaves and equipped with a fire pit and many grapevines. 

As we pretended to be monkeys swinging and hollering from the grapevines, some continued looking for edible snacks and searching for wildlife. All of a sudden we found a huge mound of silkworms at the base of a tree! We were amazed by the large number of silkworms and spent some time observing them. Some were feeling inspired to build a fire, so before lunch we collected tender and kindling and set some fire agreements. We spent time learning how to be safe around fires and sang a fire song as the flames from the tender spread to the sticks. Once our fire was going we sat to enjoy lunch around its warmth, some even finding sticks to roast portions of their food! After lunch many continued to find sticks to feed the fire and add on to a fort that was in the area. A barred owl was making calls in the distance, which inspired us to look at the bird field guide and see what else was around. We noticed cardinals flying from branch to branch and even heard a woodpecker close by. We enjoyed playing games in the area and gathered once more for a story before wrapping up our afternoon. This time the story was about a tiny seed who traveled long a far to find just the right spot. The seed made it through the hot summer and cold winter and eventually became a flower that was larger than a house! Animals and humans from all over the land would come to see this beautiful flower. As autumn came back around, the large flower now blew it's seeds into the wind to create many new flowers as the cycle began again. 

After story we grabbed our backpacks and were back on the trails to greet our parents and friends. Unfortunately our creek spot was all dry today but we still had a lot of fun and will be plenty muddy next time! :) 

Love,
Lindsay


12/17/16

Hello Muddy Shoe Fans! 

Today was our last muddy shoes program until 2017, so we made sure to fill it with fun and games! This morning we warmed up with a game called Run Rabbit Run, where some of us are bunnies collecting food and water and some of us are foxes, looking to catch the bunnies. The bunnies are safe in their rabbit hole, but may be tagged when they're out on the search for resources. We ended up a happy fox-bunny family and shared the resources together! Then we gathered for our morning circle, pulling out snacks and water for a nice break. We each introduced ourselves and shared what our favorite animal was. After talking about some agreements like always stick together, respect our friends and wildlife and protect our hands and feet, it was time for story. Today's story was about how Man first obtained fire from Bear. We learned what fire needs to keep burning, and what happens if we stop feeding it. After a quick bathroom break we were ready for a hike and adventure!

As we made it to our first destination, we came across a large wooden fort that looked perfect for playing in! Some of us continued building onto the fort while others helped collect food for us to survive. Some were warriors keeping lookout for us in case anyone tried to sneak up. Later we made drawings with charcoal pieces from the firepit, and some continued role playing and acted as a happy dog family. We were having so much fun  that we worked up an appetite and decided to take a break for lunch. After filling our bellies, we played a few rounds of hide and seek, hiding behind bushes and trees. We took a break to collect all the fallen leaves in the area and made a huge pile for us to jump in! We took turns running and jumping, working as a team to fluff up the leaf pile for the next person. By this point the weather had warmed up and the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds, so we decided it was a perfect time to head to the creek.

We decided that as we hiked passed the other classes taking place that we would be invisible if we didn't make a sound and used our fox feet. We were so sneaky that no one noticed us! We finally made it down to the creek and were ready for some new activities. Some of us enjoyed collecting shells, while others made really neat sand castles and mud cakes. We thought it would be a good idea to not throw mud at each other so instead, we made a mud man to throw mud at! We even found a fallen log that looked like a pirate ship, so we took turns being captain and pretended to sail the ship across the huge ocean. We were having such a blast that time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to head home. We gathered once more for a closing circle, each sharing their favorite part of the day and made the silliest sound possible. We had a blast and got muddy, and we look forward to doing it again next month!

Happy Holidays!

Love, Lindsay 


7/6/15 

Hi Everyone!

Thank you for trusting me with the care of your little ones today and for giving them the experience of being with peers outside all day!  I know my life is forever changed by our time together and hope theirs is, too :)  

We started the day stalking in to the woods towards some really noisy birds we thought might be grackles.  When we got closer and they flew away, they were bigger than grackles and all black - ravens!  Wonder what all those ravens were yelling about.... maybe a predator nearby?  

We found a clearing where we could sit to have our morning circle and snack.  Everyone introduced themselves and shared something they feel grateful for.  So much gratitude filled our community - from the trees because they give us oxygen, to spiders "because without spiders, there wouldn't be humans."  Then we heard a story from our puppet friend Hoppy about being aware of our surroundings.  A few times she wasn't paying attention, she stepped in fire ants and got itchy poison ivy!!!!

Today we focused on increasing our awareness as we played in the woods.  Most of us could identify poison ivy by the end of the day :)  We found tons of cicada skins and dead cicadas, some with white coating all on their bellies.  Nature mystery?  In the dry creek bed there were so many tiny frogs that it looked like the sand was moving!  Babies or just a tiny species?  

We hiked to Pecan Bottom for some activities where we would become aware like the animals of the woods.  We moved our bodies like deer and coyote and birds to get us into animal mode.  Then we practiced our deer ears during a sneaking game.  Could the coyotes sneak up on the listening deer and steal a bandana from it?  The next game was to practice raccoon hands.  We walked blindfolded along a string using only our barefeet and soft hands to guide the way.

Next it was creek time!  As we walked through the Elderberry Forest we noticed tons of digs in the ground - who has been here?!  Squirrels, skunks, or maybe even armadillos!  Splashing and mud fights ensued, and even another stalking game through the water.... Oh my goodness, raccoon tracks that lead all the along the creek!  Let's follow them!!!  And a huge striped feather, too?!  Maybe from a hawk!  So many signs of the creatures we share this place with.

One last game to practice our eagle eyes - a hide and seek game!  We camouflaged with creek mud and headed back through the Elderberry Forest.  Can the eagle stay in its nest and just use its sight to look around for its friends?

During closing circle we shared a nature name we might have come up with from the day.  Some were "Mud,"  "Tree Leaf,"  and "Spiders".  Then we shared our favorite part of the day (you guessed it - playing in the creek was most popular!)  We ended with a song and goodbye to the land :)


Love to you always,

Miss Nichole


7/8/15 - STORY OF OUR MUDDY SHOE CREW

What a beautiful day we had out in Bastrop!  I hope your kiddos went home muddy and relaxed from their time with our living world :)

We each chose a stuffed animal to bring along on our adventure today.  We all hiked into the dry creek bed, watching for poison ivy and climbing over broken logs along the way.  



To start opening circle, we greeted different parts of the woods with a good morning song - hello to the trees, the sky, the dirt, and even the turtles wherever they are!  Then we took time to become present and bring our minds together in gratitude.  Each person shared their name, nature name, and something they felt grateful for - sand, trees that bring us oxygen, and the breeze were a few.  Next it was time for story to inspire our day - Bob the Zebra got lost in the desert and had to survive for the night!  He taught us we need shelter, water, fire, then food to take care of ourselves.  

What would you know.... the next place we visited had a bunch of giant shelters made of sticks and leaves!  Gave us some good ideas about how to make shelters for our animal friends :)  Better hurry!  The storm is coming!!!!!  Thanks to our good team work building the fort, our animals stayed pretty dry when the water bottle rainstorm came ;)


our animals' shelter


the big human shelter


After shelter comes water!  We refilled our water bottles and played "Take a drink if..."  We laughed and learned a lot about what we have in common while we were getting hydrated.

Next was fire!  We headed to the Pecan Bottom firepit where we learned how to properly build a fire.  Thinking of the beginning flame as a baby, what do babies eat??? Whole huge turkeys??? No!!!!  They eat tiny baby food!  First we fed the flame fluffy, light material like dried grass and juniper bark.  As it grew we fed it baby sized twigs, then kid sized sticks, all the way to grand parent sized logs!!! With heat, fuel, and a little oxygen, we finally had our first Muddy Shoe Crew built fire!!!!!!


adding oxygen


practicing for smores ;)


feeling that precious, healing heat energy


Finally it was food!  Time for lunch where lots of joke telling happened.  And then down to the creek where the Muddy Shoe crew earned their name!


muddy sisters


ahhhhh!!!!  a camo friend!


some of the crew!


Yes, its true.  The lose-your-shoes mud of Cedar Creek took another casualty today.  One sandal could not be recovered.  Lauren thought she had found it but it was just a tricky stick :)


a bobcat track!  M-shaped pad and leading toe!


For ending circle, we got our animal friends out of our backpacks.  We conferenced with them about their favorite part of the day (most animals did that by whispering in their child-friend's ear).



Then we introduced our animal by name and shared something wonderful from the day.  Building the fire, climbing trees, and catching whirly gigs by the creek were a few!

Thank you to everyone for sharing your kiddos with me today!  Come back and see me Friday if you can! 

Love, 

Ms. Nichole

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