The Detective Post #30

News from the Nature Detectives

Wow, we cannot believe how this year has flown by! The Nature Detectives have explored Woodend throughout the seasons, finding Monarchs in the Meadow, experimenting with ice in the pond, and hunting for frogs this spring! This week, the Detectives enjoyed some special days at school, topped off with our Summer Celebration with all of you! Here are a few highlights from the week.

All Outdoors Day


Oh Deer- how adorable!


Frog serenade


Frog on a log


Well, Well, Well, What do we have here?

Water Day


A day at the spa






DIY Sprinkler

Wheels Day


Wheel be comin’ round the mountain


We had a wheelie fun day!


Chalk it up to good luck!


They see me rollin’


Snack attack

We have had such an amazing year, exploring and discovering here at Woodend. We hope everyone has a wonderful summer and we cannot wait to hear about what adventures you all take next!





Detective Post #29

News From the Outdoors:

It was another rain-soaked week here at the Nature Preschool, but the Nature Detectives were undeterred by  the wet weather and continued to learn about water, aquatic habitats and ducks. On Monday we began to learn about how water travels in a cycle and even created our very own waterway on the playground to show how water travels.

AM 1


PM 2

Taking a different root.

On our hikes we followed the stream that runs through Woodend to its ends to where it travels under the road in a large pipes. Along the way, we discovered some new and interesting places to explore and climb.


We are over-elm-ingly skilled tree climbers!

PM 3

Working on their bucket list.

We also made a handful of visits to the pond to check in on the male and female Mallard Ducks that have taken up residence in the area. The AM Class observed the male preening its feathers one day and on Thursday the PM Class, approached the pond so quietly that upon arrival, discovered the male mallard with its bill tucked into its wing taking an afternoon nap!

PM 1

This bucket has more bugs than Windows 8!

Both classes dug out the nets and buckets on Thursday and had a blast catching aquatic bugs and tadpoles. The AM class caught a dragonfly nymph,which we could see was beginning to develop wings on its back, while the PM class caught a froglet, a large tadpole that is developing its hind legs.

AM 3

Unbe-leaf-able good times in the rain.

News From the Classroom:

Despite having so many epic adventures outside, the Nature Detectives also had a busy week in the classroom as well. The children had lots of fun building elaborate marble run structures on the carpet, building massive ramps in the block area and making bugs with the play-dough.

PM 1

Having a marble-ous time

AM 1

Dragonfly inspiration for our Summer Celebration decorations!

The Nature Detectives also enjoyed multi-colored water in the water table and enjoyed playing with the rubber duckies, basters, sponges and aquatic plants that were found in the water. Water popped up in more learning centers throughout the week, as we experimented with putting some white mums in vases with colored water to see if the water would change the color of the flower petals. We also used colored water and eye droppers to paint some coffee filters that will become dragonflies which will soon hang from our ceiling as decoration for our Summer Celebration next week!

AM 4

Water in the lab table is rad-duck-cal

With Ms. Susan the PM nature detectives learned about erosion and did an experiment to see how plants and trees help keep the soil where it’s at and keep water clean and healthy. Meanwhile, in the dramatic play area we set up a campsite for some Summery camping fun!

PM 2

Learning about clean water with Ms. Susan.

Books We Read:

Fireflies in the Night by Judy Hawes

In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming

The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over by Joanna Cole

AM 2

May the forest be with you.

Weekly Top Hits:


Firefly, Shining in the night

Firefly, spectacle of light

Flashing, Flickering oh so bright

Firefly, shining in the night

Why are you hiding in the bright of the day?

Only igniting when the sun goes away

Flashing, Flickering

Flickering, Flashing

Flashing, Flickering

Firefly…shining in the night!

AM 2

Camping is in tents


Water Cycle Song (Tune: She’ll be Comin’ ’round the Mountain)

Water travels in a cycle, yes it does

Water travels in a cycle, yes it does

It goes up as evaporation,

Forms clouds of condensation,

Falls down as precipitation,

Yes it does!

Spoiler Alert:

We’ll talk about what Summer at Woodend is like and have our Summer Celebration!

The Detective Post #28

News from the Outdoors

The Detectives splished and splashed this week around Woodend! With all the wet and rainy weather, we couldn’t stay away from the pond. Both classes kicked off our pond unit by spying a new set of mallards who have taken to hanging out in our pond-how exciting!


You Quack me up!

We also investigated the smaller pond on Audubon, in the sunken garden below the compost bins. We created bamboo “fishing” poles, as well as baked another cake for our friend Chester the Raccoon!



On Wednesday, the morning class found another toad, noticing the differences between the toad we found and what we know about frogs.


I toad you, I toad you twice, we gon’ light it up, like its dynamite! 

The afternoon class enjoyed our weekly visit from Ms. Susan, where she talked to us about the frog life-cycle and showed us tadpoles from the pond!


Tadpoles- How Ribbiting!

Both classes also experimented with water on the playground. We made our own rivers and experimented with water flow by digging our own water beds!


Either Oar


Cone Thugs-n-Harmony 

On Thursday, the AM class was able to catch a frog! We brought it back in a bucket which we transformed into the “frog habitat,” and kept on the stage to observe. The PM class was able to take the frog back to the creek later in the afternoon, and release it back into its natural habitat!


Frog Squad




News from the Classroom

The Detectives continued our pond discoveries inside the classroom this week! We had a multi-color pond open in the lab table, frog life cycle stamps in the play dough, as well as a frog hopping game in the discovery table!


At the art table, we completed our last journals for the year! Each child got to make predictions and drawings about three seeds planted in sand, soil from the playground and soil from the pond! We also used droppers to create watery art on white felt to help decorate for Audubon After Dark later this month.


The morning classes collected rocks and painted them as frogs on Wednesday, while the afternoon class went along with our “Habitat: Wetland edition” song, to create their own pond habitats with stamps.


On Thursday, we began prepping for our Summer Celebration by making our celebration crowns! We used paper plates to create our very own frog hats, full with a long tongue to catch a snack.


Hip Hop Horray!

Books we Read

Little Quack by Lauren Thompson

Goodnight my Duckling by Nancy Tafuri

From Frog to Tadpole by Wendy Pfeffer



Weekly Top Hits

Habitat Song (Wetland Verse)

Habitat, Habitat,

Hafta have a Habitat, (3x)

You hafta have a Habitat to carry on!

A wetland is a habitat,

A very special Habitat,

It’s where the soggy soil’s at,

It helps to filter out the trash,

And makes a home for those who splash,

A wetland is a habitat that we depend on!


Whatever floats your boat

Spoiler Alert:

Next week we are finishing up our Pond discovery and beginning to talk about Summer at Woodend!


You shall not pass!




Detective Post #27

News From the Outdoors:

We kicked off our second week of bird exploration by beginning to learn about bird calls and songs. The Nature Detectives learned the bird calls of the most common birds found here at Woodend so that we could add all the birds we heard and saw to our bird tally sheet.  We hung out at the bird feeders to watch for birds, and hiked silently through the woods and the meadow to listen for their calls.


Pool Party!


I toad you so!

The very wet weather, which caused some flooding in the classroom, led to even more outdoor exploration as we donned our rain gear and boots and headed to the creek to explore in the water. The kids had a great time building rock and brick bridges, and looking for creek critters!


Muchas grass-ias!


Insert acorn-y pun here.

On Wednesday, with Ms. Susan, the PM class learned about a the blue footed booby and the funny dance that bird does with its mate. They had a great time learning the dance moves, performing the dance and adding their own moves to the dance!


Blue Footed Booby Boogie


This creek is too mainstream.

News from the Classroom:

We continued learning about birds in the classroom as we talked about the different types of beaks birds have, the different types of nests they build, and how they use their beaks, feet and bodies as tools to make their nests. We collected sticks, twigs, grass, and other natural nesting items to use when we made our own nests out of salt-dough.


An eggselent nest.


The kids worked collaboratively to paint a giant sky mural, then cut out bird pictures to glue to the mural, which now hangs in our entrance way gallery!


What’s the stratus on this painting? It’s Cirrus work.

The Nature Detectives also made bird creations with the build-a-bird set, and made birds out of play dough with feathers, straws, pipe cleaners and googly eyes.


The PM class also had two special visits from Addy’s family as they read a fun interactive  book and shared their Cinco de Mayo family traditions with us! The AM Nature detectives worked to create a big brother book for River, who is now a big brother to his sweet new baby brother, Bodhi!

PM 1

Family Tradition share!

We capped off our bird unit with our family bird walk, which, despite less than ideal bird spotting weather, was a blast! It was so nice to get to share the Nature Detectives’ bird knowledge with their families.


Happy Bird-day!

Books we Read:

Have you Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray

Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney


Owl seed you later!

Weekly Top Hits:

The Bird Call Song

I met a Cardinal at the playground gate

That Cardinal was my playmate

That Cardinal said: “birdie, birdie, birdie” (x4)

Bluejay…”Jay, jay, jay”

Chickadee…”Dee, dee, dee” 

Woodpecker…”tap, tap, tap”

Dove… “coo, coo, coo”

Robin… “cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up”

Wren… “Tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle”


Paws for a moment and look at these tracks.

The Detective Post #26

News from the Outdoors

This week at Woodend marked the kick off of our bird unit! The detectives used their sleuthing skills to observe what makes a bird a bird. We discovered that birds have hollow bones, wings, feathers, specialized beaks, and unique feet. On Monday, both classes took to different areas of Woodend to build giant bird nests! The AM class enjoyed transforming into baby chicks and reading a story in their nest at the lookout.


Rockin’ robins

This week we also found a toad at the look out, as well as noticing signs of the fox by the den the meadow!



Toad-a-ly awesome!

On Wednesday, we talked more about the how birds use their unique set of features to live in the habitats around them. The AM class observed the pond habitat and discussed how a bird may have webbed feet and different feathers to live by water. The PM class enjoyed a visit from Ms. Susan, where she taught the kids about different birds nests that we might find around Woodend! We took her up to the giant nest we made on Monday, before flying like birdies down the meadow.


Wren you wish upon a star

The Detectives were also tasked this week with helping a baby bird “grow” by using science! We used a baking soda and vinegar mixture to create gas to fill our balloon bird! The Detectives got to make a hypothesis on what would happen when we mixed all the ingredients, and enjoyed watching the balloon grow once we completed the experiment!



On Thursday we made an exciting an exciting discovery in the log rolling area by the Briarly entrance to Audubon! A woodpecker had done some excavating on an old stump, and uncovered an old black rat snake nest! The eggs were most likely laid last summer, and we observed had never been fertilized. We observed the leathery texture of the snake eggs, and compared them the feeling of birds eggs that we might find around Woodend.


An egg-cellent discovery

News from the Classroom

The Detectives continued our bird-tastic exploration inside the classwork! On Monday, our mindfulness lesson went along with our theme, discussing how we can even be mindful with our eyesight (just like a bird’s super sense). We used our mindful bodies to stay as still as possible and just observe the world around us with our eyes!


Feather or not, here I come!

We used feathers to create art this week, painting with feathers instead of paint brushes, made our own flying paper towel roll birds, and added feathers and googly eyes to the play-dough to create our own birdies!


Toucan play that game!

This weeks block challenge was to create bird boxes for the toy birds, just like the ones we see around Woodend. The detectives also created their own bird stories with birds, bird boxes, eggs and nests in the dramatic play area! We also pulled out bird puzzles, created wings with tinker toys, and pretended to be birds pecking for seeds in the lab table.


On Thursday, we talked about different types of beaks on birds and how they use them as tools for eating! Since we discussed the proboscis of a butterfly last week, we introduced the hummingbird beak to the Detectives, using eye droppers to demonstrate how the hummingbird sucks up nectar.


Playing Hummingbird Beak-a-Boo

Books we Read

Whose Chick are You? by Nancy Tafuri

Birdsongs by Betsy Franco

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills


Birds of a feather flock together!

Weekly Top Hits

Playground Gate

I met a Blue Jay at the playground gate,

That Blue Jay was my playmate,

That Blue Jay went jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay, jay!

(Repeat with any bird and their bird sound)


Spoiler Alert: Next week we are continuing to talk about birds!

Detective Post #25

News from the Outdoors:

With a week of warm Spring weather in the forecast the Nature Detectives made the most of their outside time this week. The Nature Detectives were greeted on the playground by hundreds of tent caterpillars! All week long the kids had fun watching, holding, petting, and making homes for the caterpillars. AM 3


This caterpillar is ready to turn over a new leaf

On Monday we talked about how bees and butterflies help spread pollen around which helps plants grow, then we played a pollination relay-game where the kids pretended to be butterflies or bees and collect pollen and spread it to other flowers and plants.

PM 3

On a sting operation


Hive five!

After playing the pollination game, we went on a short hike. While hiking the AM class crossed paths with a small garden snake! The PM class hiked towards the pond to look for a box turtle that had been sighted there earlier in the day…though no turtle was spotted, they did see lots of frogs!

On Tuesday we started to talk about how plants grow and played some fun gross-motor skill games while we pretended to plants some seeds, water them, give them sunlight and finally grow into trees!

On Wednesday, the AM class took a hike to the Lookout to roll logs and collect bugs. After collecting a large variety of bugs, they brought them back to the school to display in their Bug Museum on the playground. The PM class had a fun hike with Ms. Susan, where they began to learn about birds! They took a hike up to the bird feeders to spy some birds, then flew down the meadow, pretending to be their favorite birds!


Lettuce turnip the beet

To cap off the week, the Nature Detectives had an all-outdoors-day! They spent some time in the outdoors classroom turning over the raised garden beds, then hiked up to the compost bins to collect some compost to help enrich the soil! They also got to visit the Children’s Garden and the Blair Native Plant Garden to look at the flowers and plants growing there.

PM 2


News from the Classroom:

The Nature Detectives kicked off their week by creating a new page for their journals. They talked about what they would do if they were an insect and created some fun buggy art! In the class room they also got to create colorful flower gardens out of blocks and tanagram pieces. They also discovered  bug masks and flowers in the dramatic play area and spent some time buzzing around the classroom helping flowers grow!


Put the petal to the metal

Continuing with our seed theme, the discovery table was packed full of different types of seeds, and illustrations of the plants they grow into. The kids enjoyed learning about how seeds come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes and can grow into some many different kinds of plants!


The Nature Detectives also put their cooking skills to work as they measured, mixed and kneaded up new batches of play dough. Once complete, they made bugs out of the play dough with bug parts!


In the art department, the Nature Detectives put their skills to work as they created new self-portraits! Since this is the second time we’ve done self-portraits this year, we talked about how much they’ve grown since last time, and then wrote about what new skills they have learned since the beginning of the school year. The AM class also worked on a very special “Gyton is a Big Brother…Again!” book as Gyton and his family welcomed baby Audrey to their family! Congrats Gyton!

PM 4

Weekly Top Hits:

Inch by Inch

Inch by Inch, row by row

Gonna make this garden grow

All I need is a rake and hoe and a piece of fertile ground

Inch by Inch, row by row

Someone bless these seeds I sow

Someone warm them from below

Til the rain comes tumblin’ down

AM 2

Books We Read:

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn Galbraith

Oh Say Can you Seed? by Bonnie Worth

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Inch by Inch by David Mallett

AM 4

Ants on a log

Spoiler Alert:



Can you dig it?



The Detective Post #24

News from the Outdoors

This week the detectives continued their investigation of bugs and insects around Woodend. On Monday, we traveled to the other side of the sanctuary to observe the newly built “bee habitat” as well as rolled logs to find hibernating wasps! Both classes this week found bald faced wasps, as well as observed a cicada hawk wasp, both hiding under logs.


Pollinators! Mount up!

On Wednesday, we enjoyed our last naturalist hike with Ms. Alex. She took us to the compost bins for some log rolling to explore bugs that work as decomposers. We could see the decomposition in action in all the compost bins, as well as spied Ms. Alex’s favorite, slugs, under logs! It has been a joy to have her with us this year, and the classes sent her off with a huge thank you card as well as a “We Will Miss You” book.

Alex slug

Slug Love!

On Thursday, both classes enjoyed trips to the lookout to hunt for bugs, as well as taking advantage of the wonderful weather to enjoy our snack outside at the picnic tables!

Pincnicsnack PM

News from the Classroom

This week, the Detectives honed our insect knowledge around pollinators. On Monday and Tuesday, we discussed bees and how they use their proboscis to transfer nectar to their hive. In the dramatic play, we set up our own “beehive” with pom-pom nectar to fill up the honey comb!



At the art tables, we combined shaving cream and yellow liquid water color to play in our pollen creation!


At the carpet, we worked on bug puzzles as well as played a honey comb counting game. The Detectives pretended to be busy bees, carrying honey comb shaped nectar to fill our hive.


Offering Hive Fives

On Wednesday and Thursday, we talked about the butterfly life cycle. The Detectives practiced some butterfly yoga, doing separate poses for each stage in the life cycle.


Caterpillar pose!

We also created our own butterfly life cycle necklaces, using different sized and shaped dry pasta to represent the different stages. We also added lots of pasta to the lab table to continue the fun!


Butterfly Impastas

To end our bug study, we were thrilled to have a visit from Ms. Kay, the bug lady! She brought us all sorts of caterpillars, beetles and insects to hold and observe. The Detectives were astounded by the glow in the dark scorpion, and got to explore Kay’s entire bug collection with magnifying glasses in hand!


Our visit from Kay

Weekly Top Hits

The Insect Song ( Wheels on the Bus)

The bees in the flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz,

buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz,

the bees in flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz,

all through the woods!

The ants in the grass go march march march…

The crickets in the leaves go chirp chirp chirp…

The caterpillar in the field goes creep creep creep…


Flutter Flutter Butterfly (Twinkle Twinkle)

Flutter, flutter, butterfly

floating in the bright blue sky,

floating by for all to see,

floating by so merrily

flutter, flutter butterfly,

floating in the bright blue sky!


Buggin’ out!

Books we Read

From Flower to Honey by Robin Nelson

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert


Spoiler Alert: Next week we will be talking about plants and gardening!