Autumn Discovery

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Autumn this year was a season full of discovery for Little Moo.
During our weekly trips to Forest School, Moo got to experience the season for herself. Seeing it, feeling it, smelling it, hearing it. The woodland offered so much opportunity to learn. Moo felt the change in weather, she saw and heared the wind rustling through the trees, and watched as the brown leaves fell around her. Every week we would bring home bags full of treasures, autumn gold! Leaves of various autumnal colours, shiny conkers, fluffy feathers, and an abundance of nutty acorns which the giant oaks had thrown down on to the woodland floor (and often on our heads!)
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We saw ladybirds, newly transformed from their grub stage, ready to find a cosy spot amongst the moss to hibernate through the coming winter. We found worms getting full off the crunchy leaves which had formed a beautiful yellow, orange and brown carpet on the woodland floor.
This was a classroom, but there were no walls, no pictures in books, just a real sensory rich learning environment ready to teach Little Moo all she needed to know about the changing seasons.
Autumn truely is a wonderful, beautiful season, and there’s no better place to experience it than in the woods!
The experience didn’t stop there. Back at home we set up an investigation table ready for Little Moo whenever she felt the desire to continue her autumn discovery.
This began as a simple collection of her ‘autumn gold’, a magnifying glass, paper, and pencils, but grew and evolved as Moo’s needs arose.

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After previously discovering a millipede amongst her nature collection, Little Moo was keen to explore the acorns, twigs and conkers to see if she could find any more little creatures. Breaking open the acorns soon became a popular task. Moo used her fingers to break the shell, and soon asked for more tools to help with the job, such as a pencil and a knife.

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During the dissection of one acorn, Moo discovered that it was full of what looked like tiny little black seeds. Most of the acorn was otherwise hollow, except for one little wriggley creature. And Moo was keen to find out more…
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On closer investigation, and with a little help from Google, we concluded that our little visitor was most likely an ACORN MOTH CATERPILLAR. Acorn moths lay a single egg near to or inside an acorn, the hatched caterpillar then lives inside the acorn, eating the inside, until it is ready to emerge and transform in to a cocoon.

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So, the little black seeds Moo had found, were in fact the caterpillar poo!
Later, when Moo found a baby snail in the garden, this gave her an opportunity to learn about and compare tiny creature poo šŸ˜‰
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After our investigations, Moo decided that as acorn moths needed acorns as their home and food, it would be best to put him in to the garden with some acorns šŸ™‚ But the learning and discovery didn’t end there. The abundance of acorns later became useful as a counting game, using some old plant pots painted with numbers for Moo to count the acorns into…
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And the ‘autumn gold sorting game’, where Moo sorted the various items into named plant pots. This began as a simple 4 pot game, but Moo quickly pointed out that we needed more pots for the extra items she had found. “I need one for the feathers and the stones too, mummy”.
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Little Moo’s adventures through the wonderful, discovery rich autumn, has reaffirmed for me the vast benefits of child initiated play and learning. By keeping our minds, time, and plans open to opportunity and discovery, Little Moo’s instinctive, investigative nature has taken us both on an exciting journey of discovery, fun, and learning šŸ™‚
Thank you for visiting.
From me and Little Moo xx

Posted by Cheryl

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