January 2024 Nature Notes


The sprouts rang in the new year with lots of ice exploration at the farmstead. Each morning they excitedly search for ice each in the pots and pans and in the creek. They have been practicing using different types of tools to chip apart the ice or smash it into small pieces. Using their imaginations, circular ice blocks become cookies and a triangular piece becomes a jet. The creativity amongst the sprouts is endless!

As the ice and frost melt each afternoon the farmstead becomes a muddy wonderland. A favorite afternoon activity has been making mud balls, and throwing them onto different surfaces to see if they will stick. In mid January, we got a big rainstorm that transformed our dig zone into a giant mud puddle. The sprouts had a blast jumping off the logs into the puddle, filling cups and bowls full of soupy mud and rolling around in the mud to turn into “mud monsters”!

One day in late January, we arrived to find the whole creek had frozen over! The whole group of sprouts worked together to chip away at the thick ice, using pots, sticks, and stomping with their boots. We were all in awe of the thick, layered ice and the bubbles flowing under the surface.

The afternoon sprouts have noticed lots of birds this month. Flying from tree to tree in the afternoon sun, or whole flocks landing in the field while we are up in the school yard. We have also spotted some squirrels chasing each other around the trees and trying to steal our snacks from the shelter!

This month the growth amongst our group of sprouts has been a wonder to witness. After playing and learning with one another for several months, they have learned to communicate with each other in clear and kind ways. Inviting others to play, asking when they want a turn with something, working together to solve problems. I can’t wait to see what the sprouts will notice in nature next month!


Winter is in full force here at the Farmstead. With cold weather and even sightings of snow, the Explorers enjoyed all the cool things the cold weather had brought into nature during this winter month. 

The month started out super chilly, with days when the Explorers could not even come to school because of ice on the roads! The arctic chill brought snow and ice, which made it a fascinating thing to look at. The Explorers enjoyed scavenging out all the ice and had a blast watching it melt and break. The creek was almost completely frozen, making it a great area where icicles formed. 

In the middle of the month, we started to see warmer days compared to the arctic chill at the beginning of the month. The Explorers enjoyed building nature forts, hanging out at the slack line, and finding snail shells. They even noticed more small critters running around in the forest due to the spike in temperature. Lots of fungi were being found, and even a cool cicada shell! 

At the end of the month, it started to feel even warmer! The Explorers enjoyed the sunshine and the ability to shed some of those layers that were helping them out at the beginning of the month. They noticed a critter rummaging around in the leaves, squirrels scurrying up trees, and earthworms wiggling around under dead logs.

The Explorers are continuing to work hard on their project for the school year! This next portion’s focus is all about how plants and animals get their energy. We did get to see some minor snow this January. We shall see what next month has in store for us!

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