We have been "studying" conifer trees for well over a year. . . my girls have been fascinated with them ever since I organized a little lesson on Hemlock trees for our local Waldorf Co-op at Hemlock Bluffs, a local nature preserve with beautiful hemlocks.
First I studied the local Hemlocks myself. . . and I really fell in love with them. I wrote a short children's story about a Hemlock tree and Woolly Bugs (which will be available to download in our downloads section for subscribers!). It is an adorable story with forest creatures too. So I practiced my story over and over so I could tell it in the forest on a hike under the hemlock trees. I also planned the day out in my Threefold Human Calendar (this was when I was first creating it and a first draft!). I wrote my thoughts about my studies, I drew the feelings it gave me along with the story. . .
We met up with the group and went on the hike with snacks and water. . . and eventually got to the spot under the hemlocks, and stood under their large presence with their baby cones!
The children all listened to the story and stared up at the trees. . . and we then hiked the rest of the trail, returning to the start to have a snack and prepare for the craft! I led the craft to make these little baby hemlock ornaments (we did not take them from the preserve I ordered hemlock cones online before the event. . . we leave nature preserves intact!)
These make perfect little fall into winter ornaments . . . we put them on our wooden year round seasonal tree 💛 It was wonderful to combine the hike/story/craft for the group! If you would like to organize this with your group, please check out our downloads section to download the hemlock story!
Onward to our current conifer experiences . . . this year, we have had incredible pollen storms in North Carolina from our pine trees! It was so intense that we were sneezing, wiping yellow dust from our eyelashes, and other things we never thought we would have to do! We aren't doing a lesson on pollen for a couple weeks in our Botany block, but I can assure you. . . I think they learned a big lesson! Haha! The conifers presence has made itself known loud and clear. . .
My first grader loves to pick up the "Pine Worms" for pretend play, and pointed out to me how the worms hide the pollen in their cracks! Here are some collected in a pot from the pines in our backyard, but after a good rain that washed all the pollen away finally. She noticed it was all gone and told me "The rain washed the pollen!"
My 5th Grader and I read the story "The Fisherman's Catch" from Charles Kovacs Ancient Mythology book and what an interesting story it is about a Brahmin who lived in the forest and swam with the fish for long periods of time but was eventually sold by fishermen to a king for a sacred cow! We blended this and our conifer talk about the trees who have no blossoms, and are like four years olds who can count up to 20 but cannot yet add, subtract, or multiply. We also talked about their resin which my girls have also experienced while making mudkitchen concoctions. All this combined with more cursive practice made for a really great lesson!
Meanwhile my 1st Grader and I read aloud a story about a Rat's wedding. . . in the story, the rat moves up from bargain to bargain swapping and trading. At first, he helps people out greatly! Even rescuing children who are hungry and in the rain and can't start a fire because all the logs are wet. The rat rescues them with some dry root he had saved!
I prepared an alphabet letter "R" for rat. . .
We talked about roots a lot. . . how we trip over them in the forest, how they suck up water for the trees, and how they dry out when trees are dead and fallen! It is really fun to get creative with alphabet letters pulled from stories, I feel like I could do it all year long! 😊✨
We are still block combining Botany/Ancient Civ for 1st Grade and we are still loving it!!! So many connections for my daughters to each other through their lessons, while still giving them age appropriate work. . . and Mama gets to have creative teacher fun 💛
We love you, conifers!