Video 33: The Salamander’s Playground Design.

“Aren’t salamanders so lucky to be born into an automatic playground?”

This is what Luc observed after a few minutes of taking mental notes on how to replicate the salamanders’ environment. Well, the truth is, kids are, too!

In “What Are Kids Up To When They Go Outside?”, you were reminded of how rich it is to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the season. The natural environment is constantly changing and with every transformation come new and creative ways for children to find a world of make-believe, and great opportunities for improvisation and problem solving.

Luc and André love running into the woods after the rain to look for salamanders, frogs and worms, and to see how high the creek has gotten. They also check the rain gauge levels. All this information is stored in their “nature database” as they go on to find a new adventure every time. When they find animals, they use sticks to mark the spot so they can bring them back to where they found them – they especially look under logs. They take walks along the creek and before the first snow fall they’ve usually acquired a collection of bugs whose lives get spared by spending a few months inside.

We believe that the information that they gain through engaged, playful and interactive experiences like these becomes more permanent than that from other, more superficial forms of acquiring knowledge. Children also learn a great deal from taking risks – healthy risks that empower them to solve problems and develop learning strategies that will prove useful later on in their lives. If it takes them ten showers to finally get the dirt from underneath their nails, so be it.

We are fortunate to live around so much nature. Nonetheless, we have lived in more urban places, too, and when that was the case, we planted all along our window sills (find more tips on “What’s In The Beans?”), and enriched our concrete surroundings with reminders of a variety of colors, textures and smells.

Set-Up for Episode #33:

  • Salamanders, worms, ants, frogs, crickets, or friendly creatures around the house
  • Nature
  • Drawing materials (paper, crayons, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, etc)
The replica to help the salamanders feel at home.
This leaf was quite intriguing: it is impermeable!
A close-up picture to find out more about the leaf’s surface: no clue!
André took a picture of this Sally here.
Both kids spend time observing salamanders to learn how they move.
Observational drawing that represents one of the salamanders.
The blue spotted sally:
And the source of water:
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Have fun and Go Beyond The Classroom!


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