Feeding Birds, Signs of Spring, “Guess Who?”, and Farewell Visits

The last two weeks have concluded my scheduled visits for Wild Child (although I do have make-up visits scheduled for next week due to all the snow days!). These weeks have been really fun. I have noticed that the by my 3rd, 4th, and 5th visits that relationship with children really starts to become more evident. I remember many childrens names and we can recount experiences from my past visits. Children’s excitement levels seem to increase with each visit. I have also noticed increased comfortability in myself as I revisit each daycare. In terms of relationship building and material retainment, I am curious how a week long visit to each daycare would compare to the bi-weekly visit approach that I have taken. This may be something that the next season of Wild Child could consider trying.  Given it is March and spring is just around the corner, during my Wild Child visits I thought it would be inspiring and hopeful for us to start pointing out some of the signs of spring that we can see. melting snow, budding trees, Canadian Geese, longer days, more sunny days, warmer temperatures (sometimes), melting snow (sometimes!). We paired this outdoor awareness activity with feeding bird seed to the birds. Each Wild Child received a small dixie cup (and one refill) of bird seed that they could go sprinkle in the schoolyard or park. Children loved this and it really got them to pay attention to the birds while we were outdoors. They were looking at the different kinds of birds, counting birds, and even calling to the birds… “cheeseburger” and “caw-caw-caw”. Sometimes the children got to see the birds eating the seed, other times the children were planning on going out a later time to see if the birds had eaten any of the seed. Some of the different birds seen include: Bluejay, European Starling, Black-Capped Chickadees, and of course Crows and Gulls! On indoor days, we spent our time playing a game known as “Guess Who?” In this game, children take 10-15 minutes to draw a picture of an animal of their choice. Drawings are collected. Each child gets someone elses animal drawing taped onto their back and has to guess which animal is on their back by asking their friends a series of questions about the animal on their back. The children have to think about what the animal eats, where it lives, if it has fur, if it swims, if its flys, if it is nocturnal, if it is a mammal, etc. It is good to do a demonstration of this before the activity begins to give the children a good understanding of the types of questions that should be asked. Otherwise, they may just walk up to each other and ask “what animal am I?” – and that really takes away from the major learning component of this activity! Depending on the number of kids and how the group responds to the game, Guess Who can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes +.. so I recommend planning another activity or two alongside this one incase your group is on the 20 minute side of the spectrum! I found that a good game to go with this one is the “What animal am I?” game where children choose an animal to act out for the other children to guess. Basically, animal charades. I let the younger children (ages 2-4) make the sound of the animal if they would like to, but challenge the older children to be silent while acting out their animal because often times, sounds can be a dead giveaway!  All in all, these last two weeks have been a great experience and I hope that each daycare has gained some valuable knowledge and resources from Wild Child over the last two and a half months. Above all else, I hope that Wild Child has encouraged daycares and afterschool programs to take kids outside more often and let them explore, play, experience… and BE WILD!   Thank you!! Hanna HamelinePEI Wild Child Coordinator