This tool was created in response to a special request. (Open group identification-Bambis) Print and display in specific areas or in your circle time area.
(Open picture game-Hiking) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use them to spark a conversation and ask children questions about the theme.
Poni discovers and presents-Hiking
(Open Poni discovers and presents-Hiking) Print, laminate, and cut out the cards. Use a Poni puppet, or another puppet that children are familiar with to present the pictures to your group.
(Open picture game-Hiking) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use a hole-punch to make a hole in the upper right and left corner of each picture. Stack the pictures and insert a ring through each set of holes. The flipogram is easy to manipulate. Simply show children how they can lift a picture and flip it under the stack. Name each item with your group. Use the flipogram to encourage children to talk during circle time and to ask them questions about the theme.
A forest in your daycare
Draw several trees on a long white paper banner or on open brown paper grocery bags. Decorate the trees with your group. Add leaves on the branches and at the bottom of each tree. If you prefer, trace children’s hands on orange, red, and yellow construction paper and cut out the shapes to represent leaves. Add construction paper pinecones, acorns, apples, etc. (Open word flashcards-Hiking) Print and laminate the word flashcards and display them throughout your daycare. During your next walk in the forest, children may be able to recognize and name certain elements.
(Open thematic poster-Hiking) Print and display within your daycare.
(Open educa-theme-Hiking) Print and laminate the different elements representing the theme. Use them to present the theme to your group (and their parents) while decorating your daycare.
(Open educa-decorate-Hiking) Print, laminate, and cut out the illustrations. Use them to decorate your walls and set the mood for the theme.
(Open stickers-Hiking) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and use them to create unique stickers.
Press a large piece of adhesive paper on a piece of cardboard, with the sticky side towards you. Bring it outside and encourage children to press pretty leaves all over your board.
Laminate leaves collected by the children in your group during a walk and display them in your daycare windows. You can use adhesive paper to laminate them directly on the glass surfaces. Hang leaf garlands from your daycare ceiling. Cut clouds and raindrops out of cardboard and use them to create a mobile. If you wish, glue pictures of the children in your group among the raindrops.
An indoor leaf bin
Set a bin filled with leaves on the floor in your daycare. Let children explore the contents of the bin freely.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner.
(Open picture game-Hiking) Print, laminate, and store in a “Ziploc” bag or in your thematic bins.
(Open picture game-Hiking) Print the pictures twice and use them for a memory game.
ACTIVITY AND WRITING SHEETS
Activity sheets are provided for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets-Hiking)
Creating your own activity binder
Laminate several activity sheets and writing activities and arrange them in a binder along with dry-erase markers. Leave the binder in your writing area and let children complete the pages as they wish. At the end of the day, simply wipe off their work so the activity binder can be reused.
Writing activities-H like hiking
(Open writing activities-H like hiking) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print several word flashcards. Glue them on pieces of paper, laminate them, and arrange them in a binder. Show children how they can trace the words using dry-erase markers. If you wish, leave room under each word so children can try to write the words without tracing the letters.
(Open educa-nuudles-Hiking) Print for each child. Have children color the sheet and use Magic Nuudles to give it a three-dimensional look. Variation: You don’t have Magic Nuudles? Have children fill the spaces designed for Magic Nuudles with bingo markers or stickers.
To order Magic Nuudles:
The flashcards may be used during circle time to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) hiking, forest, walk, path, mountain, guide, compass, trip, stick, map, backpack, sneakers
(Open educa-chatterbox-Hiking) Print and laminate the cards. To create your chatterbox, you will need an empty shoebox or a small bin that you can decorate as you see fit. Fill it with tiny objects, illustrations, pictures, and accessories related to your theme. To help you, we have created a series of cards that you may use. During circle time or, for example, when children are waiting for their lunch, have them take turns picking a card or object out of your chatterbox and naming the corresponding item.
Story and memory game-Hiking
(Open story and memory game-Hiking) Print, cut out, and laminate the pictures. Place the cards face down on the floor. Children pick three cards and invent a story in relation to the illustrations. Variation: Print the pictures twice and use them as a memory game.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print many copies of the word flashcards and encourage children to use scrabble tiles to write the words. Manipulating the small tiles represents a great fine motor skill exercise. At the same time, children will notice which letters make up the different words.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print two copies of several different word flashcards. On a large piece of cardboard, stick one copy of each flashcard vertically to create a word column. Cut the second copy of each word flashcard so you have the word on one side and the illustration on the other side. Attach Velcro behind each part as well as to the right of the uncut flashcards (on the cardboard). Arrange the cut flashcards on the table and encourage children to look at your flashcard board to identify a matching word and illustration. When they succeed, they may stick them next to the corresponding flashcard, on your board. This exercise will help children associate words with pictures.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print several word flashcards. Use a hole-punch to make a hole at the top of each flashcard. Thread a ribbon through each hole and tie a knot. Bring the word flashcards outside and encourage children to use them to decorate a tree. Every time a child adds a flashcard, invite him/her to “read” the corresponding word. Children will be happy to repeat this activity many times. Eventually, they will learn to recognize the words.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print two copies of several word flashcards. Hang one copy of each word on an indoor clothesline with colourful clothespins. Arrange the copies in a pile on a table. Let children take turns picking a word and finding the matching word on the clothesline. When they find a match, they can place the flashcard on top of the one that was already hanging on the clothesline. Help younger children manipulate the clothespins if necessary.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print several word flashcards and hide them throughout your daycare or yard. Divide your group into two teams. When you give them the signal, children must search for the flashcards for a pre-determined period, for example three minutes. When the time is up, children must be able to “read” their flashcards to earn a point for their team. If they are unable to find the correct word, the other team can earn the point if they succeed.
Print and laminate the word flashcards. Have each child pick a flashcard and take turns presenting the item to the group. Discuss each item to see what children know about the theme.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Game-This is my spot-Hiking
(Open transition games-Hiking) Print each illustration twice. Use adhesive paper to secure one copy of each illustration on the table. Deposit the second copy of each illustration in an opaque bag and invite children to pick a card that will determine their spot at the table (corresponding illustration). The illustrations can also be used to determine children’s naptime spots or their place in the task train.
My hiking path
(Open transition games-Hiking) Print, laminate, and arrange the pictures on the floor to create a path leading to various areas within your daycare. The path can lead to areas frequently visited by children throughout the day such as the bathroom, the cloakroom, etc. or, if you prefer, delimit your workshops.
Here is a great way to teach children to count while providing them with the opportunity to be physically active. Roll a large die to determine how many steps the children in your group must take. If, for example, you roll a 3, count to 3 and invite children to take one step every time you name a number. Roll the die again and so on.
Set a series of theme-related illustrations on the floor. Have children hop from one illustration to the next in a variety of different ways: on one foot, on two feet, like a frog, etc. Every hop will help develop children’s gross motor skills.
Using adhesive tape, draw a giant hopscotch on your daycare floor. If you wish, it could connect 2 areas within your daycare. Encourage children to alternate jumping on 1 foot and 2 feet. Draw squirrels in the boxes instead of numbers.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Colorful obstacle course
Set up a variety of obstacles within your daycare and hang glowsticks from the items used. Close your curtains and turn the lights off. Children complete the obstacle course, collecting glowsticks as they go along. At the end of the course, have them connect the glowsticks to create a circle of light. Use glowstick bracelets for this activity.
(Open miniature squirrels) Print and laminate. Hide the squirrels throughout your daycare and invite children to search for them. The child who finds the most squirrels can hide them for the next round.
Follow the squirrel
Invite children to hold hands. They must follow the rhythm and reproduce the actions of the first squirrel (child) in line. The lead squirrel can choose to walk slowly or quickly, to stomp his feet or tiptoe, pretend to climb a tree, etc.
Provide a variety of cardboard boxes in different sizes and styles and let children have fun hiding in them, like squirrels hide in the hollow of a tree or burrow.
Fill a kiddie pool or plastic bins with leaves (dried or fabric). Hide items among the leaves. When you give the signal, children search for the hidden items. When children find something, have them set it in a pre-determined area, just as squirrels hide provisions. Next, let them go back to search for another item. Once all the items have been found, hide a new set of items and play again.
Leaves in water
Fill a bin with water. Invite children to blow on the leaves through a drinking straw to move them around.
A walk in the woods
Use adhesive tape to draw a start and finish line. Set 2 leaves on the floor, approximately 10 cm apart on the start line. Hand children a drinking straw or empty toilet paper roll and encourage them to blow in these tools to propel a leaf forward. The first child who blows his leaf over the finish line wins. He can race against another child. Variation: Arrange a few obstacles on the floor (ex. chair, table, mat) between the start and finish line.
The musical animals
Play music and invite children to dance around the daycare. When you stop the music, show children a picture of an animal. They must make the corresponding animal sound, move around like that animal, etc. When the music starts again, children resume dancing. When the music stops once more, show them the picture of another animal. You can use the forest-themed word flashcards for this activity (Open word flashcards-Forest).
Beware of the bear!
Pick a child who will play the role of a bear. He tries to catch the other children. When he touches one of his peers, the child who is touched becomes the bear. Variation: Instead, have a child who is touched by the bear stop in his tracks and hold his arms out. A child who has been touched may be saved if one of his peers runs under his arms. Many children may be immobilized at the same time. Be sure to change bears often.
Hiking in the yard
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Using chalk, write each word on a paved surface in your yard. Before going outside with your group, give each child a word flashcard (or 2). Have them find the words that are printed on their word flashcards. Once they find a word, help them read it.
Go for a walk in the woods with your group. Collect various items found in nature. When you come back inside, use the items collected to create a mural.
Here are a few squirrel facts. The red squirrel builds its nest in tree branches and cavities. During winter, it eats the foods it carefully collected at the end of summer and during fall. A single cache can contain hundreds of pinecones. Go for a walk in the forest with your group. Give each child an empty tissue box. Encourage them to fill their “cache” with the items they find, just like the red squirrel. Their cache can contain branches, leaves, pinecones, acorns, etc. They can use their findings for crafts and activities throughout the theme.
Invite children to build a bed of leaves that they can lie on. Ask them to observe the clouds and try to identify shapes. Encourage them to listen to the wind and the chirping of the birds.
Treasure hunt in the sand
Pick an item with your group. Designate a child who will hide the object in your sandbox. The other children search for it. The child who finds the item can hide it for the next round. Variation: With the children in your group, paint several rocks using gold paint. Once the paint is dry, hide the rocks in the sand and have children search for the golden nuggets. You can use a sieve to filter the sand.
(Open counting cards-Hiking) Print and laminate. Prepare a series of wooden clothespins on which you can paint or draw numbers 1 to 9. Children count the items on each card and place the corresponding clothespin on the correct number.
Roll & color-Hiking
(Open roll & color-Hiking) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling a die, counting the dots, and coloring the corresponding part. The first child who finishes coloring the picture wins.
(Open word flashcards-Hiking) (Open giant word flashcards-Hiking) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Deposit several word flashcards in an opaque bag and use them for a mime game. Children can take turns picking a word and using gestures to help their friends guess the word. For example, if a child picks the word “squirrel”, he/she can pretend to eat nuts. The child who guesses correctly can be the next one to mime a word.
(Open game-Tree association) Print and laminate the game. Using Velcro, children associate the cards to the correct tree.
(Open game-Beaver) Print, laminate, and cut out the beaver. Glue it on a wall. Give each child a laminated tail. Blindfold one child at a time. Children must try to press the tail as close to the correct spot as possible.
Guess my animal
Children take turns picking an animal (use word flashcards or figurines). Have them hide their animal in their hands and describe it or mime its actions for the group. The child who identifies it can be the next one to pick an animal.
It’s your turn to guess
Stand at one end of your daycare, facing the wall, with your back to your group. Ask children to stand with their back against the wall at the opposite end. Show your group a picture of an animal, but without looking at it yourself. Have children move towards you, making the corresponding animal sound. Try to identify the animal before children reach you.
Hunt and seek-Forest
(Open hunt and seek-Forest) Print and laminate. Children pick a card and search for the illustrated item in the scene.
(Open lacing-Forest animals) Print, trace the animal shapes on cardboard, and cut them out. Punch holes around the contour of each animal and invite children to thread ribbon or yarn through the holes.
Where are the mice?
(Open mice) Print and laminate. Set the paper mice here and there throughout your daycare leaving only the tail of each one sticking out. When you give the signal, children search for mice. There is no winner here. The goal is simply to have fun. At the end of the game, you can give each child a paper mouse. Variation: You can color the mice using different colors and have each child search for mice of a specific color.
(Open association game-Forest animals) Print and laminate the scene and the cards. Children must set the cards in the correct places in the scene to complete the animals.
The raccoon stole it!
Fill a cooler with items used when camping: flashlight, fishing rod, fork, bag of marshmallows, egg carton, etc. Remove one item at a time and encourage children to name them. Close the cooler and ask children to list the items it contains. Will they remember all of them? Explain how, when camping, storing certain items in a sealed cooler is important, because raccoons and other little visitors like to come steal food during the night. Remove one item from the cooler. Open the cooler, invite children to look inside and identify the missing item.
(Open forest animal tracks) Print and cut out several animal tracks and glue them on the floor, using identical animal tracks to create paths. At the end of each path, glue a picture of the corresponding animal.
Use three empty storage bins. On each bin, glue a different coloured leaf (green, red, and brown for example). Place a large bag of leaves next to the bins. Children sort the leaves per their color.
I am going for a walk in the forest and I am bringing…
Sit in a circle with your group. Begin the game by saying, “I am going for a walk in the forest and I am bringing a flashlight.” The child next to you must repeat this sentence and add another item. Each child must repeat all the items listed by others before adding one of his own.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cabin in the woods
Children love playing in cabins. Drape old bedsheets over tables, chairs, and other furniture items to represent tents or cabins. Add objects that are normally found in the woods. Let children play in their tents and cabins.
I hear forest sounds
Invite children to lie on the floor and close their eyes. Make a sound and ask children to guess its source or name it. Tap a wall, snap your fingers, break a branch, crumple a sheet of paper, whistle, tap your foot, make bear sounds, make mice sounds, etc.
Napping under the stars
Set up a tent. Press glow-in-the-dark stars and planets on the upper portion of your tent using adhesive putty. During naptime, encourage children to admire the “sky”. Ask parents to send their child’s sleeping bag for this special naptime activity.
I can see in the dark
When children aren’t looking, press pictures related to the theme under a table and set a heavy blanket over it. Encourage children to enter this dark “cabin” with a flashlight one at a time and ask them to tell you if they saw something. Some children may need extra time to find the pictures. Once they have all had a chance to visit the “cabin”, invite them to tell you what they saw. If some children aren’t able to name an item, let them re-enter the “cabin” for another look.
Waterproof or not?
Collect various pieces of fabric and different types of paper and, with your group, test each one to see if they are waterproof (water doesn’t seep through) or not. Use eyedroppers to add droplets of water. Help children notice the differences and similarities, draw conclusions, etc.
Transform an old aquarium to use it as a vivarium. Add soil in one corner, a small bowl filled with water in another corner, and various items found in nature. Set a piece of tulle or a screen on top. Throughout the day, fill your vivarium with insects and creatures that the children in your group find while playing outside.
Give each child a flashlight. Turn the lights off and close the curtains to make your daycare as dark as possible. Children walk around the daycare and observe items using their flashlight.
Search for worms with your group. Capture as many as possible and store them in a container that has a lid. Wash the worms under water. Encourage children to dip the worms in different colors of poster paint and then drop them on paper. They will love watching the worms wriggle around and “paint” all over the paper. You can also buy worms at most hardware stores.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open scrapbook-Hiking) Print for each child. When you go for a walk in the forest with your group, collect leaves and twigs that children can add to their scrapbook page. Add a picture of your hike to each child’s scrapbook too.
(Open mandalas-Hiking) Print for each child. Encourage children to color the mandalas to help them enjoy a relaxing moment whenever needed during the day.
(Open craft-Forest animals) Print for each child. Have children color the pieces and glue them on an empty toilet paper roll.
Give each child a pillowcase. Let them decorate it using fabric paint. Once the paint is dry, children can use their pillowcase as a sleeping bag for themselves (if you used very large pillowcases) or for dolls and stuffed animals.
Collect several 1 and 2-liter milk cartons. Once they are cleaned, use them to represent tents. Children can decorate them using pieces of cardboard, Fun Foam, paper, pompons, and recycled materials.
Search for rocks with your group and let children paint them using different colors of poster paint.
Collect several tree branches. Have children paint them using poster paint and glitter or, if you prefer, simply use the branches as paintbrushes for a fun activity.
Gather several animal figurines and press them in salt dough to create prints. Let dry. Ask children to associate each figurine with the its tracks.
Collect several items found in nature. Invite children to press them in paint and then on paper to create prints. Leaves yield particularly interesting prints.
My crumpled tree
Trace a tree trunk with four (4) branches on construction paper. Have children fill the tree trunk with crumpled pieces of brown tissue paper. Make tiny balls of red, yellow, orange, and green tissue paper to add leaves to the tree.
Ask children to build miniature log cabins using empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. If you prefer, have them use empty milk cartons as a base. They can glue natural Popsicle sticks all over to make them look like log cabins.
COLORING PAGES THEME
(Open coloring pages theme-Hiking) Print for each child.
(Open creative coloring-Forest) Print for each child. Have children complete the picture by drawing what they imagine between the trees.
The educatall team