People often ask me what we "do" in the woods. They seem to ask this with the impression that children would need things to be set up for them in order to find ways to "occupy themselves"- when the opposite is true, when adults don't lead the activity- children have the freedom to do exactly what they want to do, and the adults are then just put in supporting positions. Today, I had the chance to observe thee situations where this was happening. I saw perhaps a tiny part of the play, but I think these mini-stories can serve as examples for what exactly we "do" for three hours in the woods!
Evelyn and I were taken "to see something" in by Elena. We looked at what she wanted to show us (the road that is much more visible since the leaves have fallen off) and then started to return to where we were- but Evelyn quickly realized that we were close to a space that she likes. She said, "It's around here somewhere.." and then she found it, a section on the hill with a lot of moss. I asked her what she likes to do in that space. She said, "I cook. I cook moss chop". Just then Immi came by and when Evelyn said that she was cooking, Immi asked, "do you want to bring your food and put it with my stew?" "Sure" replied Evelyn, "but the moss chop has to stay separate". Immi agreed to this stipulation and the continued on, together.
A bit later, Elena and I noticed Georgia lying on the ground, with no one around her. I went up to her and asked if she was Ok. She opened one eye and whispered to me, "I'm dead". I passed on this message to the children around, and asked if anyone knew how to fix this situation. Elena said that her mom is a doctor so she knows some medical stuff. She created a potion, made up of "bone, berries and creek mud". She mixed it together and the administered it to Georgia. She asked her "are you better now?" Georgia did not reply. Elena asked her "Do you need more?" Georgia said, "No". Elena took this information and moved on to another activity.
Later a big group of children had gathered around a tree that is often used as a bus or car. Georgia got everyone interested when she said she wanted to go to Simon's Farm. Several other children stated their destination: the vet, the unicorn/princess store, India and others. Max positioned himself so he was in the front, and announced that he would drive everyone to where they wanted to go. But first he wanted to know if they wanted to listen to music. YES! They replied. "Ok", he said. "But all I have is a hard rock band, is that OK?" They all agreed, and then he began to "sing" some "hard rock music" (is that called singing?).