If you’ve been a long-time reader of the Today’s Family blog, you will know that we love rain. Rain helps our Community Garden grow, allowing us to teach our children the importance of growing their own fruits and vegetables. Rain also transforms the playground itself, allowing children to engage in a different set of activities: a boring patch of grass can be transformed into a giant puddle ready to be jumped into!
Yes, rain has a tendency to help children see a different side of the outdoors. It’s not just the smells and tactile feelings that change, either – rain often entices a whole different set of animals to come out and play.
One day, after a solid drizzle that had lasted overnight, Miss Monica – one of our Early Childhood Educators at our Greendale Centre – noticed a gaggle of children clustered around something in the dirt. “What have you found?” she asked. “We found a snail!” the children replied.
The children were very interested in the snail, putting their faces very close to it in order to get a better look at its shell. Soon, other children were also looking for and finding snails all over the playground. Miss Monica had an idea: it looked like it was about to rain again, but the children could bring some snails back into the classroom with them and continue to look at them, and then release them at the end of the day.
“Let’s build a home for the snails,” she told the children. Some children helped her shovel some dirt into a clear plastic tub. “We need more than dirt,” she said. “What else do you think snails need in their home?” The children replied, “leaves and sticks!” and went out to find some.
With the makeshift terrarium complete, Miss Monica instructed the children to carefully pick up some snails for their exhibit. “Snails are very fragile, so be very, very gentle with them,” she said. The children were careful and moved a couple of snails into their new home with zero injuries to human or snail.
For the rest of the day, children were able to take a break from their usual classroom activities and go watch the snails move around their new home. It was a great experiment, and also a great chance for the children to learn about a new creature.