I must admit, I´m fed up with pandemic stipulations. Period. At home we are less affected and can work our way around them. But at work in an urban kindergarten with a rather blank outdoor area and without the opportunity to bring the children to places with more nature … my, it´s a real challenge!
Believe it or not – wilderness pedagogics can still help, even in settings where you have to squint very hard to find an ounce of wilderness. I find myself adapting and using wilderness games or mentoring tools increasingly often and with good success.
Some weeks ago, we were learning about bees. We would see the combs, craft bees from pinecones, dry leaves and felting wool, taste honey and sing some bee songs.
But the most fun we had with an animal forms game. I arranged some folded paper flowers across the room, each with a tiny cup and some water inside. A bigger cup was declared as the honeycomb and placed in the hive (a low shelf in the corner). The children received small pipettes and magically transformed into bees. They were so eager to collect all the nectar with their pipettes and to bring it home to the hive!
Another great game is called tree tag. The catcher dubs a kind of tree (birch, oak, maple…) as the safe haven, counts to a suitable number to give the others a head start and everybody tries to reach a safe tree while the catcher tries to catch them.
As we have only 5 very small fruit trees in our outdoor playground, we had to adapt the rules. Last week we were dealing with the topic of colours, so we used colours for the haven. But the game should work as well with other topics (like for instance different shapes, different materials, something to climb on, something to use with your hand), too.
At the very least the children have a great game of tag with the bonus of some focused attention to different aspects of their surroundings.
In my case the children were soon running all over the place and spotting even the tiniest flecks of safe colours. And they could adhere to the rules easily, which is a real bonus and a sign for a true natural game.
So, let´s bring wilderness games inside!
The wild creatures we are at heart will love it. CT