We had homeschool co-op this morning. I was in charge of planning, so I sprang out of bed at 7:30 (early for me, these days), and rushed around getting kids fed and dressed, last minute things together, and the van packed. We were out the door by 9:15 which is remarkable considering the fact that I even had an extra kid with me - Clover's best friend Autumne.
When we got to the nature preserve, Clover and Autumne helped me get all of my supplies into the room where we meet. It was nice to have a couple of minutes to look at everything, and arrange it in a convenient way.
Everyone was ready to start at 10:00. We sang the Circle song, lit the candle, and talked about Winter backyard birds. Some of the kids had a little anecdote to tell about birds (or squirrels in birdfeeders!), and then they each told what their favorite bird was. I read the book _Wild Birds_ by Joanne Ryder. It is really more of a poem in picture book form. We have been reading it every Winter since Clover was small because it is so sweet, and so appropriate for a wide range of ages. I think that all of the kids really enjoyed it.
After sitting still for the story, we sang a song and did some movements to go with it - "The North wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, and what will the Robin do then? Poor thing! He'll sit in the barn to keep himself warm, and hide his head under his wing. Poor thing, poor thing, poor thing..." The kids looked so cute hiding their heads under their "wings".
For craft time, we made bird feeders! I brought several sharp needles with dental floss already threaded onto them (for the older kids) and some embroidery needles with yarn (for the younger ones), and we made strings of popcorn and O-shaped cereal. The little ones mostly strung cereal, but some tried working with the popcorn - not an easy thing to stab with a blunt needle.
Some of the older kids made patterns with the popcorn and cereal. Clover made the comment that she would like to skip the nature hike and just make birdfeeders for the rest of the day.
When everyone was done with the craft, we had lunch time and clean-up, and then we set off on our hike. The kids ran all the way up and down the trail to their favorite spot - the great big hill. They checked on Tandy's house (the elf house that we built during our last co-op meeting), and did some repairs on his roof. Autumne and Clover found a fallen pine tree and gathered a bag of pinecones for more birdfeeder projects.
My kids were so anxious to get home and hang their birdfeeders in the plum tree. We had to do a few errands first (including the return of Autumne to her family), but we were home in plenty of time to hang the feeders.
I can't wait to watch all of the birds eat their breakfast tomorrow morning!