On a beautiful, but very cold, snowy day, the Feet on the Earth Aftercare group settled in the Eurythmy room for a fun day of indoor games and learning, due to it being a blue flag day. We started the afternoon off with lunch and chalkboard drawings, where Lilliana and Berkley proudly demonstrated the cursive finesse of their names’ signatures on the board. After free time, we gathered for a game that is called Coyote Sneaks Through Camp, which the instructor Darilynn prefaced with her personal account of having witnessed a mysterious small four-legged shadow sneaking through her campsite at night. Though she suspected it was a coyote at the time, she was not able to confirm until the next morning that it was in fact a coyote, or a canine animal, which can be identified by the distinct shape of its paw print in the earth. Darilynn then went on to demonstrate the difference between a coyote, or dog, print, in contrast with a feline print, by drawing the two images on the board. We examined the differences between the two prints, and the group observed that the prints of dogs are identifiable by the appearance of claw markings above the toes, as well as by the symmetry of the toes which surround the pad of the dog’s foot. Cats, on the other hand, retract their claws when walking, and therefore do not have claw marks in their paw prints, and their toes are curved around the pad of the foot, without any parallel toes. The game that followed this discussion was a great success. Similar to a game of tag, the child who is playing the role of “it” or the “unsuspecting camper” stands in the middle of the play-space, blindfolded. The rest of the group carefully sneaks like “coyotes” around the blindfolded “camper” in the center, hoping to not be sensed by him/her, as the camper tries to tag them. The last coyote to be caught by the camper is the new “It.”
We played several cheerful rounds of this, and everyone got a chance to be blindfolded in the center, which allowed for a conversation afterwards about what the feeling is to be without the sense of sight, and how/what other senses are enhanced in the process of losing that sense.
After the game, we gathered for our opening circle where Elana, the second instructor, opened the circle with exercises in rhythm and musical call and response. We drummed and clapped together for 15 minutes or so, and then had our opening Gratitude Circle, also known as Thanksgiving, where each of the students and instructors announces what he/she is grateful for. We all agreed in compliance with all of the gratitude expressed, and then Darilynn proceeded to introduce our final activity for the day.
With oranges, grapes, apples, and peanuts, we constructed bird-feeder ropes, which we would take home and hang out to feed the winter birds and note our observations of them. Darylinn instructed the class about Cordage, which is a method of making leaves, or cattails, or any kind of thin fiber into a strong rope-like cord, which can be used for many nature-survival activities, such as building a strong shelter like a wig-wam, or tying an arrow to the end of a stick, for spear-fishing. We took palm leaves and twisted and knotted them methodically into a strong cordage, and then threaded the fruits through the cordage to make the hanging bird feeders. The children were completely engrossed in the activity and the room was practically silent while we all worked on our cordage and fruit-threading. The children each left with their own bird feeder and instructions to sit and watch the feeder for at least 10 minutes every day until we meet again next Thursday. Additionally, they were asked to take note of what species of birds or squirrels visit the feeder throughout the week, and to bring that information for discussion next week.
We are very much looking forward to another fun-filled Feet on the Earth class coming up on Thursday!
In gratitude for the earth,
Elana and Darilynn