A mysterious five-fingered track, a frozen creek and lots of sledding — the Chickadees sure had an exciting Tuesday!

The Chickadees gathered in the log circle on a chilly Tuesday morning to see what mystery Eli had for them that day. Out of his pocket he took a picture of an animal track that has five fingers on both its front and hind feet. Eli shared that this animal lives here but has relatives in South America, is very intelligent and dexterous and will eat just about anything! Afterwards Sarah taught the flock a new song that revealed what this animal was. The lyrics are below so you can sing it at home! It’s sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.” 

I’m a little raccoon prowling around 

I hunt for food without a sound 

A mask on my face and a bushy tail 

Let’s see if you can find my trail! 

The children put on their backpacks and headed down to Trillium Camp, stopping at the bridge to observe any changes they could see in the landscape. Ice! The cold weather had helped the creek freeze again. The Chickadees quickly hung up their backpacks and followed Eli downstream in search of ice to play on. They not only found a strong and slippery patch of ice to slide around on, but also tracks, everywhere! They noticed tracks with three short “toes” and tracks with four toes and claw marks on the ice. The animals of the forest must have been busy while we were away! What do you think they were doing? Do these animals slip on the ice just like we do? Trillium Camp was filled with laughter and squeals of delight as the children slid around on the ice and collected large pieces to build ice castles. 

Speaking of ice castles, do you remember our friend Willa the Winter Fairy? The one who lives in an ice castle and helps animals?  Sarah told a story at slunch about a hungry raccoon, named Rita, who had just woken up from torpor — a hibernation-like state that raccoons go in when temperatures drop. When temperatures increase, raccoons wake up and look for food. Rita and another raccoon, named Millie, couldn’t agree on how to share a popular feeding spot. While Willa is very skilled at helping others, she knew someone who specializes in helping animals share and find things they can agree on. Any guesses as to who that could be? Unity Unicorn of course! With the help of Willa and Unity Unicorn, Rita and Millie agree to share the food so they can both survive winter. 

After slunch it was time to warm our bodies with some sledding! The children trekked over to the sledding hill and did a great job taking turns sliding down the hill and carrying the sleds back up. By the end of the day the Chickadees were feeling warm and grateful for a day spent in a winter wonderland!

Thank you for reading! We’ll see you next week for more adventures in the woods! 

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.