Wild Grapes

Wild Grapes

Over the fisrt few weeks of Forest Preschool this Fall we learned to identify wild grapes. We then harvested grapes, smashed and pressed them for juice. Then we turned the juice into jelly. Fianlly we made pakcakes to enjoy our jelly on. It was a really fun project that the children really enjoyed being part of all of the steps. I’ll take you through a visual journey of the process.
Sorting and smashing the grapes.
Pressing the juice and removing the pomace.

Making and enjoying our pancakes and jelly. Yum!

Snow Fun!

Snow Fun!

Over the past two weeks we have had so much fun in the snow. One of the kid’s favorite things to do is exploring the snow forts started by a group of older kids. They have used their muscles and worked together to climb and dig more tunnels. Working hard, trudging through deep snow, and doing silly dances to keep warm was a big part of every day.

The preschoolers practiced tracking both animals and each other. After seeing mink tracks near the creek and spotting a mink on our trail cam footage, they have been learning about animals in the weasel family . They enjoyed learning about how otters like to toboggan on their bellies and then used sleds to do the same. Some of the skills they practiced were how to bail off the sled and how to steer with their hands. It was really fun for the instructors to watch them.

We also talked about snowflake formation and had a beautiful moment where we could see perfect snowflakes on each other’s dark clothes. It was a great way to keep the attention focused while we were waiting for other kids to hide.

These two preschoolers worked together to climb the slippery hill and slide down many times together. We have seen so many examples of the kids working together to solve problems and their friendships are growing really strong. 

Welcome Winter!

Welcome Winter!

We have had such a magical start to the winter session. The cold weather has brought a lot of ice, and with that a lot of fun exploring, skating, breaking, and investigating it. On Monday we had some magical snowfall as we started our day. What a beautiful welcome to the new year and the Winter session. We looked all around Trillium camp to see what had changed since we had been there two weeks earlier. We found a lot can change in just two weeks!

On Tuesday we discovered there was ice that formed on the creek. We spent much of the day ice fishing, skating rocks across the ice, breaking it, and making ice popsicles. 

On Wednesday we investigated how the ice had changed and went on a wander to see how the ice looked at different parts of the creek. We discovered that it looked different everywhere. Some places had almost no ice, while others were almost completely covered! We also found the perfect puddle to smash! 

On Thursday we went on a wander to the bird feeder. On our journey we found so many frozen puddles that made perfect skating rinks. The kids loved skating around on the mini rinks! We also found that there were things frozen in the ice, like leaves, and sticks.

We made fires every day and the kids all appreciated warming their hands at slunch (combined snack and lunch) time at the fire. It was also really fun to put out the fire with chunks of ice from the creek.
We also learned a new song with movement. It has become a fast favorite.
Standing and keeping the beat sing:
I hear the wolf and the fox and the weasel
I hear the wolf and the fox and the singing
I hear the wolf and the fox and the weasel
I hear the wolf and the fox and the singing
Now skip and dance around and sing:
In ten years I will come back
I hear the wolf and the fox singing
In ten years I will come back
I hear the wolf and the fox singing
 
Repeat this as many times as you like and it is a really fun way to stay warm, have fun, and sing together.
Fall 2021 Wrap up and Celebration

Fall 2021 Wrap up and Celebration

I can’t believe that the Fall session has come to an end! This past week we celebrated every day with special food: nettle and rosehip tea, hemlock tea, fire roasted pumpkin seeds, and popcorn over the fire. What kind of celebration would it be without costumes! It was like a party every day.   

We also retold our Peace Superhero Story. This story was adapted from the Haudenosaunee peace story by Melissa Blake in collaboration with tribe members. In this story we meet Fine Words Fox, who uses their finest words, like please and how are you feeling. We also meet Shadow Tail, the squirrel, who grows in size when they realize how good it feels to help out. Shadow Tail carries the other Peace Superheroes on their back as they journey through the forest. Next, we meet Feel Better Butterfly, who helps others to feel better with their beautiful dancing and kind words. Peaceful Porcupine helps others to find inner peace by guiding them to take deep breaths, saying, “Everybody fill your balloon. And let it all out.” Our final superhero is Unity Unicorn who helps others to find common ground and things they can all agree on. The Peace Superheroes left us five peace stones to help us remember their superpowers and how to use them. 

On the last two days, we performed a song we had been working on all week. The first verse is one that we sing at school. The following verses the children made up themselves:

 

My roots go down, down into the earth
My roots go down, down into the earth
My roots go down, down into the earth
My roots go down
 
I am a Jaguar eating ice cream
I am a Jaguar eating ice cream
I am a Jaguar eating ice cream
My roots go down
 
I am a unicorn eating a marshmallow
I am a unicorn eating a marshmallow
I am a unicorn eating a marshmallow
My roots go down
 
I am a stick jumping on a trampoline
I am a stick jumping on a trampoline
I am a stick jumping on a trampoline

My roots go down

Enjoy this fun little video from one of the performances. laughing

Mud and Snow

Mud and Snow

We have had so much fun playing in both the snow and mud this past week. 

We have also been working on making friction fires with a bow drill. The kids have been helping us gather supplies for tinder bundles, whispies, pencil, and marker sticks. They encourage us, when we are having a hard time getting a coal and are amazed when the fire starts. It has been a fun process to get them involved with and learn about. 

More photos from the week. 

Office Location:
Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
607-272-2292 | email Us

Preschool Location:
4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Ithaca Forest Preschool is a nature immersion program for children ages 3-5. Our program is run in cooperation with Primitive Pursuits, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension.