It was an overcast and windy day, so we took shelter in the forest this Monday! Sliding down hills, running through the trails, and digging holes were a few of the many play experiences we had.
We explored one special area where last year’s class had constructed a fort and a (pretend) fire pit with their Grade 6 Learning Buddies. Some students quickly noticed that there was not enough room around the fire pit for everyone, so they began working together to build a second one. The fire pits provoked many questions about what materials were needed for campfires, and about ways to start a campfire outside without matches. Students started rubbing sticks together and gathered stones to grind against each other. The children’s play interests prompted a discussion about friction. Although we were not able to make a fire with the friction between the rocks, we created heat by rubbing our hands together!
As the children gathered around the fire pit with long sticks in their hands, they explained they were roasting marshmallows. Small sticks soon became graham crackers, leaves were used as marshmallows, and pinecones turned into chocolate for S’mores. Forest play provides natural materials that prompt imaginative play. Imaginative play and material representation provide opportunities for complex communication and increases cognitive brain development.