We enjoyed an exciting and adventurous second day of our Spring session of Forest Kindergarten this past Thursday. We kicked off our time together by making some antibacterial Oregon Grape root hand wash. The children used butter knives to scrape the bark from the roots of an Oregon Grape plant that I had harvested. We then placed the bark scrapings in warm water to give this potent medicine the opportunity to infuse so that we could wash our hands with it before lunch time! (For more information on the medicinal properties of Oregon Grape, check out my blog post here: Oregon Grape to the Rescue! )
After gratitude and movement circle, we made our way over to Story Tree, where I read a story about Moon Bird and Running Deer, a man and a woman who live in a cabin in the woods. In the story, Moon Bird and Running Deer have an encounter with a cougar while on a walk though the forest. They learned from the cougar that it's best not to run away from him. Rather, when you encounter a cougar the safest thing to do is make yourself look bigger by holding a jacket or a backpack over your head, then look the cougar right in the eye and slowly back away.
After story, we were about to head out on adventure when Patrick suddenly disappeared! We looked around for him for a moment with no luck, but we were surprised to find a mysterious furry dog-like creature emerge from the bushes with a “Secret” scroll in his teeth. We unrolled the scroll and discovered a list of challenges that we needed to complete in order for Patrick to be transformed back into a person. Some the challenges involved practicing awareness skills, such as walking like a fox or listening with our deer ears, while other challenges brought our attention to natural hazards, such as finding a tree that looks like it might fall, and finding a plant that can make you sick.
We were able to complete most our challenges while wandering, stopping to get eaten by “mud monsters” and sliding down Butt Slide Hill on our handmade sleds woven from ferns and English Ivy! We sang some magic words that made our furry Dog friend transform back into our dear Patrick, and then enjoyed the rest of our day by eating lunch and making faerie houses at Squirrel Den.
We are grateful for such a fun and magical day together and we look forward to more adventures this Thursday!