Today was the Nature Club's first meeting after summer holidays. The group was just as wild and crazy as the Birds of Prey Club earlier this week, except their shrieks hit the eardrums a little differently. But they were happy shrieks, so that's okay.
After a snack, I was eager to get them out of the house. Our task was to prowl the backyard in search of sweet little flowers and leaves for pressing that we could use at a future meeting. The plan is to turn these little bits of summer into some sort of art, and is inspired by a project in Green Crafts for Children. We also hunted around and plucked out some herbs from our herb garden - sage, mint, thyme and lemon balm. Some slowed down long enough to take in the herbs' gorgeous smell and we skimmed over how these herbs can be used to help little ones fall asleep or settle a sore tummy. We tied them into bouquets that will then be dried and we'll use them for a couple of projects out of Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots. I'll be adding lavender later on - it hasn't matured yet and may not in time, so I'll need to dip into the store-bought stuff. Stay tuned to see the end results later in the fall!
I'll be honest...gathering them to do these two little activities was much like I imagine herding cats is. So I've been wracking my mind for how to perhaps make the transition from play to the actual activity a little easier. I'm thinking some sort of active game that could tire them out a bit...or backfire and completely wind them up. Perhaps the Nature Club could take a page out of the Birds of Prey Club book and play a little Predator and Prey? Or maybe we put more play at the beginning and save the last 30 minutes for the activity, if time allows? Or maybe I take a page out of the Girl Guides' Sparks program, and transition to the activity by telling a story or singing a song to help minds focus on calming down. I'm not sure right now. Any other suggestions? I'm glad I have two weeks to sleep on it.
I was thrilled to see the group enjoy some unstructured play outdoors. They stumbled across my son's play bow and arrow set, and they took turns pretending they were hunting buffalo. Some dressed up in the chest armour that was in the back yard, they found a place to put up the flag they found, and they all knew the playhouse was "home" for their game of make-believe.