This week the Chickadees learned about an invertebrate they love to find hiding under logs and in the dirt — worms!


“All-In Chickadees!” The children ran to the log circle where they were greeted by a mystery bag in Nora’s hand. They listened as she gave clues about what was inside and each got a chance to feel it and guess what it could be. After a loud drum roll (the Chickadees love giving drum rolls to reveal our daily mysteries!), Nora showed that the mystery was…dirt! But not just any dirt, she explained, dirt from the nearby compost bin! Nora explained that you can put lots of things in a compost bin (like vegetable scraps, egg shells, even tea bags!) and that over time, these things will start to decompose and can be used to help plants grow. The children learned that worms are great decomposers and that as they eat dead leaves, logs and other materials, their poop (also known as worm castings) has a lot of nutrients in it that’s good for plants — how cool is that?

After learning some fun facts about worms, the children got to practice being worms! Sarah explained to them that worms don’t have spines like we do and that makes them invertebrates. They also don’t have legs, arms or even eyes! The Chickadees went to the far side of the front field and closed their eyes while Sarah banged on a loud drum. The children had to follow the sound of the drum and try their best to walk in a straight line across the field. They practiced this until it was time to head down to Trillium Camp for slunch.

After washing hands, doing a tick scan and drinking some water, Sarah was about to tell a story when something AMAZING happened! A child pointed across the creek and said “what’s that?” Everyone looked toward the creek and saw, on the hill on the other side, a small animal with a long body. It had dark brown fur and short legs. The children watched it bound down the hill and go into the water where it swam downstream and out of sight! The children had some immediate guesses about what it could be — “A fisher!” “A mink!” These were great guesses because this animal was definitely in the weasel family. The Chickadees got to see a picture of each animal and after some discussion, they came to the conclusion that they had seen a mink! Sarah told the flock about the time she had seen a mink in Trillium Camp two years ago, but it was early in the morning before preschool had started. This was the first time we had seen a mink in camp during the preschool day so it was a very special moment for the Chickadees!

They spent the rest of the day playing in the creek, enjoying some light rain showers and singing Nora’s fun worm song in Closing Circle.


The Chickadees were happy to discover another mystery in Opening Circle on Tuesday! Eli held a small feather in his hand. The children noticed that it was blue, black, white and gray. Eli explained that the bird that this feather belongs to likes to eat acorns, insects, fruit and sometimes worms! The Chickadees each looked closely at the feather, shared their guesses and learned that the feather came from a blue jay! The children flew around the circle like blue jays, practicing their calls “Jay! Jay! Jay!”

Like Monday, the Chickadees practiced being worms and followed the sound of the drum to find their way across the front field. After a few rounds of that, Eli hid in a new place with the drum and the children had to find him! They were so excited to see where he was hiding that they opened their eyes a bit and ran to look behind every tree — where could he be? The drumming got louder and louder until…they found him hiding along the trail to Trillium Camp! The Chickadees each got a turn practicing banging the drum and then headed down to camp where they spent some time collecting firewood and exploring the wooded area above the Climbing Hill.

At slunch time they sat around a warm fire and listened as Rey told them an awesome story about different animals and their importance to their environment (worms included!). After filling their bellies with food and water, it was time to get moving because we were getting chilly! Many of the Chickadees are fascinated by volcanoes and like to play imaginative games where every volcano on Earth is erupting at the same time! The flock went on a wild adventure that led them through Trillium North, up the hill, to the front field and back down the Trillium Camp. During this time they had to dodge erupting volcanoes and rivers of lava — it sure was exciting!



Wednesday brought some wild weather! The day started off cool with some light rain, which turned into hail and eventually snow! The Chickadees started their day by helping fill up a wheelbarrow with firewood Nora had collected and worked together to bring it down to camp. After putting all the wood in Trillium Camp’s woodbox, the children saw that it was completely full and ready for us to have lots of fires in the future!

Before slunch, some of the children walked in the garden and found a mysterious piece of paper with a drawing of a plant with a tall and wide green leaf with a reddish stem. The Chickadees knew immediately that this was a clue and started looking for the plant. Their search took them to the top of the Climbing Hill, around the pavilion and back to the garden where they discovered a cluster of plants that looked similar to the drawing. The Chickadees learned that these plants are called ramps and that they take seven years to reach maturity — that’s older than all of the Chickadees! The children got to feel their soft, green leaves and noticed the reddish stem. The Chickadees remembered that they had seen this plant yesterday while collecting firewood at the top of the Climbing Hill!

Because it was starting to snow, the Chickadees ate their slunch in the shelter of the pavilion and listened to Sarah tell the first part of her favorite story called “The King with Dirty Feet.” After slunch it was time to get moving again. The Chickadees played a few rounds of the “All-In” game before heading inside for the last part of the day. Once inside, the flock made towers using blocks, worked with Chloe to complete a puzzle, read books and did some coloring!



On Thursday the Chickadees saw all kinds of weather in a single day — warm sunshine, rain, wind and even snow! They spent their day in Trillium Camp where they played a firewood collecting game and got to hear the rest of the “King with Dirty Feet” story at slunch time. They ended their day with Nora’s worm song and some gratitude.


Thank you for reading! We’ll see you next 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.