Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring the Prairie

I'm not much of a field trip person.
Getting my crew out the door and to any destination is much like a circus attraction, and I get a ringside seat.
Lately, however, I've been reminded to say "yes" more and "no" less--
especially since after the baby comes it will be harder to make commitments like these.

Our homeschool group went to what is commonly called The Prairie on Monday.
I am SO GLAD I made the effort and said yes.
We had THE BEST time!  
It was a positively gorgeous day, albeit a bit chilly, but I had dug out all the winter gear the weekend before so the kids were prepared.  Me, notsomuch.  But I'm a big girl and I made it through.
(Ok, confession:  one child forgot his hat, but thankfully another mom had extras.  Thanks, Trudy!)

Since I am only one person, I couldn't tag along with each of my children's groups
so I had to pick one.  It's probably no surprise I went with the "little" group.
We started out on the trail and came first to a little bridge.
Our leader laid right down on her tummy and told the kids to do so, too, to get a good look at what was in the water.  They LOVED it!

They saw different insects, bubbles, the leaves that had settled to the bottom...

Then one little girl exclaimed, "I see ME!"
That made us all chuckle.

Ruby began the morning stuck pretty close to me,
but soon was brave enough to venture ahead.  
She walked over to the rail all by herself.

My friend, and lifesaver, Sally.
Sally's older kids are grown and her youngest is a teenager
and she remembers well what it is like to be busy with little ones.
She came along with the younger group and offered to push Ivy's stroller
and basically took care of her for me so that I could hold Ruby's hand and
waddle up and down the trails. :)
Here, Ivy and Sally are watching the ducks and geese
and Ivy is making some really great quacking sounds.

 Our guide's name is Teresa--
she told the kids how birds utilize cattail and then let them pull the fluff off it
and then they all got to 
BLOW it into the wind!

As we were standing on the bridge, some geese flew in 
right over our heads to land in the water next to us.
They flew in so close we could hear their wings flapping.

Teresa would pick things from the prairie
for the kids to touch and smell.

For this age group,
the prairie experience was very sensory.
Teresa said, "Kids, go wrap your arms around that tree--does it feel smooth or rough?"
(the second before I snapped this picture, all of them were wrapped around the tree.  I missed the shot.)

My own little tree-hugger.

The kids rummaged through the oak leaves to find a "pink fuzzy"--an insect who makes it's home for the winter on the underside of an oak leaf.

Next came the tall grass.
(Which, incidentally, is the name of my very favorite musical.)  
She encouraged the kids to run into the grass, lay down and hide.
Christopher and Elijah thought this was SO GREAT!

Sally carried Ivy in to explore, too.

Ruby's bravery increased as the morning progressed

Elijah tunneled through the grass to "sneak up" on Teresa.

This is the last picture I took that morning, 
though I could (and should) have taken a bajillion more.
(I'm hoping to go back and take a more leisurely stroll
with just my crew, so we don't feel like we're holding up the group if I make them all stop to smile at mom's camera.)  
We talked about everything you can see on the prairie--even the moon during the day.

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