Friday, May 21, 2010

The Raft - FIAR Volume 4 Co-op

One week after our scorching hot day for field day, we headed to the Eno River for co-op.  Wouldn't you know that the day was on the cooler side and overcast.  It didn't matter at all though!  We had a blast!

We started as always with the reading of the story.  Can you picture a more scenic spot to read a story about a boy who discovers all sorts of things in nature on and in a river?

We were briefly interupted by this.

The story paused as you can't compete with a big vehicle fording a river.  LOL

After reading the story, it was time to head to a small island IN the river!!!  Ooooh, was the water COLD!  I don't think the kids even noticed at all. 

 I watched my Daniel head out with the group.  :-)  He has not participated fully in this co-op and he really does well when we are outside.  It just always makes my heart feel good when he is able to join in.  Its hard to explain, and maybe it doesn't even make sense, the challenges he faces.  He has come a long way though and my heart rejoices to see the progress he has made!

In case you were wondering, they are all wearing socks under their crocs, sandals and swim shoes.  This was to help prevent leeches from attaching to feet!!!  YUCK!  Apparantly the presence of leeches is a good thing because it means the water quality is really good and healthy.  Thankfully, no leeches were found on this outing!

The activity on the island was to learn more about the course of the Eno River.  Each child drew a "labelled marker" out of the pot.  Each marker had the name of a city or location along the Eno river - starting in the mountains and ending at the sea.  Daniel drew Cape Hatteras.  Really appropriate since he LoVeS the lighthouses and was even wearing a t-shirt with Hatteras on the front of it this day!

Joshua built the town of Smithfield.  Each child was given an object that could go along with their site OR an idea of what was located at the site for them to build or replicate.  Smithfield is known for its great BBQ.  He was wishing he had brought his pig Silly Bandz, but when with what he had.

Let me back up as I'm not starting at the beginning.  The job for the children was to build a replica of the Eno river.  Each site was numbered so that they could go in order from the beginning of the river until the end.  They worked to build their location and then began digging a trail for the river to follow.

Of course, they needed water for the river.

It took numerous trips to "fill" our river, but they didn't seem to mind at all!

Can you see the start of the river?

Here it is from another angle.

What a fun, hands-on activity that the children LOVED!

After all this hard work, they were ready for a snack.  They had a bagged lunch with a pbj sandwich, an apple and animal crackers.  There was lemonade to drink.

Now it was time to learn a little more about the wildlife in the area.  The children were given a sheet with pictures from this area.  (Actual pictures of actual things seen here just a week before!)  One side had animals and critters.

The other side had plants and flowers.

They were given nets to use to find things.  They also had boxes or jars into which they could put the things that they found. 

They needed no encouragement to get back into the river again!

After spending time hunting ... and finding... they gathered together so that they could see what each person had found.

It was most helpful that Miss Laura knows an amazing amount about all sorts of plants, bugs and animals!  She helped the kids to identify what they had found and also shared interested facts about a number of them! 

Check out the size of this crawfish!

A large spider and the smaller bugs are water striders (I think - a nymph of a more common bug?).  Sorry, my details on bugs are really sketchy at best. 

Some of the plants and flowers that were found.

The co-op ended with the children decorating and floating rafts in the river. 

What a fun morning!  I know I couldn't post about co-op without saying how thankful I am to be a part of this group.  I'm thankful for the gifts, talents and experience that each mom has brought.  I'm thankful for this sweet group of children and how much fun it has been to hang out and learn with them.

We have one more co-op after this one which just happened yesterday.  I'll post more about it soon. 

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring season.  I hope you are able to enjoy some of the amazing things that God has created.  There are so many interesting things to learn from and to enjoy.  Thank you God for creating such diversity!