At the end of every summer I always feel sad and it is hard for me to let go of the warm sunny days. But as the cold winter days roll in, I am reminded of how much I always loved winter growing up. The large snowflakes slowly falling from the sky always seemed mesmerizing and calming. Rolling in the snow, watching our dog running through it, sledding — I loved it all! And then there were those extra special moments of coming into a warm home after hours of outdoor play in the sparkly cold, the home with a smell of savory soup or a pie.
And winter holidays felt like utter magic of course! My family’s friends had a cabin in the mountains where all of us spent many winter holidays. And I remember as a small child walking to our friends mountain cabin through snowy mountains, feeling tired and cold. It was already getting dark. And then coming out into a clearing where the cabins were and seeing gleaming lanterns set all around in the snow. I still can see the magical beauty of it all if I close my eyes!
So as the winter holidays are just around the corner we wanted to make sure we made this time extra special for all the children attending our forest school.
Decorating Our Outdoor Christmas Tree
While there are many beautiful evergreen trees towering at the school’s property there is one very special tree, we call it our festival tree. It is the tree under which the children spent a lot of time in the summer, as that is where we have the sandbox. We have also constructed beautiful outdoor tables beneath this tree and it is where in the summer children work on various projects and have their meals. Of course our special tree had to be decorated! 🙂
Sledding and Playing in the Snow
Outdoor time remains our priority no matter the season or holiday. When the cold weather first came down in November, the children kept asking to go to the cabin, feeling uncertain in all their winter gear and not sure how to play in the snow. So we are particularly excited to see the transformation in these kids where nowadays they all want to play in the snow the entire day. And sledding is by far their most favorite pastime 🙂
Decorating the Cabin with
a Sustainable Christmas Tree
In the debate about whether it is more sustainable to purchase a plastic Christmas tree or buy a live tree that was cut down, there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner. So we were excited to be able to cut our own tree from a section of our property where young trees are growing too densely, overcrowding each other. It was a fun and meaningful experience for the children as well.
Making our Own Ornaments
During our preschool program time when the children were indoors working on crafts and other activities, we dedicated our time to creating our own Christmas tree ornaments from homemade playdough.
For the winter holidays our wonderful and talented Tuesday and Thursday teacher Adrianna has written for the children a special little story about Mama Mouse and other forest animals. The story has a beautiful moral about kindness, and the children have been really enjoying hearing it again and again.
Cookies and Tea
To make this time of year even more extra special and cozy, at the end of each day we’ve been making shortbread cookies and having tea time before children get picked up to go home. We love watching the kids enjoying their “yummy playdough” as they call it, making beautiful cookie shapes and then taking them home to share with their parents.
We hope your pre-holidays are filled with lots of good cozy times culminating in a beautiful celebration, whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Eve, or another tradition special to your family.