Last summer I rearranged the stumps in the yard to create a path to and over the rocks on the little hill/tunnel.
At that time I wasn’t thinking about winter but now that the snow is here we have been creating a BIG hill in the yard by piling all the snow inside the stump circle.
This picture was taken before the recent snowfall. Yesterday we spent nearly two hours adding more snow to the pile so now the hill is much bigger 🙂 Watching the children play on this hill makes me dream of permanently filling that stump circle so we have a big hill in the summer too – but I would miss the inner stump circle and the tunnel too.
With all the snow piled up one side of the tunnel is now blocked so the ‘tunnel’ is actually a ‘cave’.
This cave is now a favourite – not so secret – hiding spot.
Another favourite space is inside the tipi. In summer it is nice to be able to see through the tipi and into the lane beyond the fence.
In the winter I pile snow behind the tipi and it becomes a wonderful place to sit when you want shelter from the wind.
We love our winter yard.
Yesterday was the first inservice day of this school year so I had all the children here for the full day. Even though the older children have enjoyed getting back to school I also think they miss the opportunity to interact with the others here. All the school-age children attend the same school but they are in different grades so they don’t get to spend much time together. They were so excited to spend the day together again and the younger children were thrilled to have them here too.
There was little for me to do except observe as they tried to fit in as many of their favourite activities as possible into one day. It was amusing to watch them rush through a group dramatic play activity, sing and dance briefly in the music area, scurry up the loft steps to read a familiar book and then dash to the art area to hastily create a piece of artwork. I don’t really think that it was the activities that they were truly interested in pursuing but rather the opportunity to reconnect with friends who they’ve had little contact with since school began.
The weather outside was amazing so we spent most of the morning outdoors. I was curious to see if they would slow down once we got outside – a phenomenon I’ve noticed before. It was amazing to watch as they built structures, played games and explored the yard in record time.
Using water from the rain barrel they again filled jars and built towers;
They washed the rocks to make them look pretty;
And ‘cooked’ up a dinner in the wok;
I loved the poles set up around the cooking area so that no one would get too close to the fire – safety first!
Then one of the children built a tipi;
This was new and it was quickly copied by another child;
A third child passing by the first one and elaborated on the design;
Then another tipi popped up over on the other side of the yard;
This tipi building activity was not the focus of their attention. It seemed to be a common theme that connected then as they engaged in other activities. Maybe it was a way of saying ‘I’m busy playing here but I see what you’re doing over there too’. A way to make one more connection in a busy day before rushing off again.