Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New day at Keep It Simple Farms!

Today is the first day of the new drop off class for Tiny Treks at Keep It Simple Farms.  This is a class with 2 teachers and up to 14 children who will get to experience the chickens, ducks, bunnies and bees in the environment of a restored salmon habitat from wetlands to woodlands.  I am excited to take these kids on a nature adventure for 3-5 year olds. 

I'll keep you updated on what this new class is learning, experiencing and doing. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How Do You Teach a Child to be Gentle?

In our Tiny Treks classes we
explore nature with young
children. In one of our classes

we found some Roly Poly’s or
Pill Bugs. The children made a
circle around the bugs and
watched them as the uncurled
and moved slowly on the earth.
They learned that when the Roly
Poly felt threatened it would curl
up in a ball. One of the children
held a bug in his hand. He was
mesmerized. He stood there
simply holding this little black
bug as it crawled on him. He
knew if he tried and touch it, the
bug would curl up in a ball. He
held in carefully, so the bug
would keep crawling. We spent
more time than we could have
imagined simply holding these
precious bugs as each child had
a chance to experience first
hand what it meant to be gentle.
We knew we could carry this
lesson that unfolded naturally in
the forest to other parts of their
lives. We could use this
moment of holding a little
creature to help them
understand how to treat a
younger or older sibling. We did not spend time lecturing them on what is gentle, they were able to embrace and experience it first hand in a magnificent way.

Recipe to Teach A Child to Be Gentle


An ant hill

A rock or dirt where a Roly Poly/Pill Bug may live A loving adult
A young child


Take the time to look and observe an ant hill or under a rock for a Roly Poly.

Guide a child to observe the bug or ant.
Gently place the bug in a child’s outstretched hand. 

Cooking time:
This is the key to the entire experience, there is no set time.  Some children can observe an ant hill for 30 minutes and others for two minutes.  Take the time to give the child time.

Watch and Truly Enjoy!  Pamela Worth is the owner of Tiny Treks.  Tiny Treks classes have encouraged families to get outside and explore for over 16 years.  Visit our website at or our facebook page Facebook Tiny Treks.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Earth Day/ Celebrate Spring
One of our family traditions is to head down to the beach for our own family earth day clean up. Each of our kids are given a bag to fill.  There has been some baulking at this tradition in Chicago when Earth Day can be 20 degrees!  Nevertheless, everyday should be earth day.  Teaching our kids to be stewards of our earth is a powerful lesson.  Pick something they can do to clean up some part of the earth this spring.  
In our Tiny Treks class this week, I gave each child a bag and they had to find the number of pieces of garbage to match their age.  My two and three year olds needed some help, but really tried to get that garbage in their bag.  One of our five year olds took the task very seriously and with work gloves on he quadrupled his age and filled a whole bag with winter garbage on the beach.  Another added twist is to blast one of my all time favorite children's singers, Tom Chapin's song Happy Earth Day.  My older kids may give me an eye roll at first, however within moments we are all loudly singing along.
Happy Earth Day 
by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 1992 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)

One day she spun out of the sun.
Did she know at the hour of her birth?
That she'd cool and she'd bloom and one day become
The garden we know as the Earth.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
From the schools of leaping dolphins and the herds of kangaroo
Happy Earth Day to you.

We celebrate your waterfalls, your glaciers and typhoons,
The sweet smell of your meadows on rainbow afternoons.
The northern lights on starry nights and when the night is gone
The fiery magic of your dawn.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
From the fields of chirping crickets and the frogs of Blue Bayou
Happy Earth Day to you.

From the highest Himalaya to the mountains under sea,
From the frozen tip of Greenland to the sands of Galilee.
We're gathering together to raise our voice in song
And pledge to keep you green and strong.
Happy happy Earth Day,
Happy happy Earth Day.
Every time I smell a flower or feel the morning dew,
Every time I see a baby learning something new,
I'm amazed again how blessed we are and it's all thanks to you.
Happy Earth Day to you.
Happy Earth Day to you.

This song appears on both Tom Chapin's Billy The Squid and This Pretty Planet CD's.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Herbert and Santa Alert!

Welcome back to TOP!  Both Teacher Jen and I noticed that the kids had grown over break.  Oh my!  How quickly they change!  We had to spend a bit of time going over some of the safety rules again.  Many of the kids were really excited to be back at preschool so we kept on the move!

We began the day with bubbles and blocks.  Circle time was cut short because of the park crew's noisy machinery-so we soon were headed over to get out Herbert for a cuddle.  Everyone got to pet him and see how fast a rabbit grows!  We had some interesting discussions about why rabbits don't need their mom's and dad's around.  Because they grow up much faster than we do!
Michelle and Noah were very gentle with Herbert.
We had a lot more to do so we were soon out in the big field for snack. We read a neat book about a salamander called The Salamander Room. This wonderful book teaches all about what a salamander would need if you brought it inside.  In the end the child's room has become a complex forest ecosystem-all done from a child's point of view.

This Western Red Cedar is a favorite to climb through.
 We are thankful to Angus's Mom for donating her Forest Gnome "Santa" to the park.  We went on a hunt through the trails for "Santa."  When we found him we took him on a hike and hid him again.  I hope we can continue to search and hide him for the rest of the school year.
"Santa" the Gnome was hiding near the Elephant Tree!
Lunch was a free for all-with the choice to sit on the picnic table or on the ground.  Some kids were too excited to eat and others were really hungry after our big hike.

The end of the day was greeted by 2 fire trucks and 2 fire vans.  Luckily the smoldering bits were quickly put out and everyone was safe. I hope you weren't too worried when you saw the fire truck at Farrel-McWhirter!

We are really excited about the next weeks as spring continues to bring more birds and baby farm animals to the park.  If anyone loves to garden-we would love to have you come and help plant a small preschool-sized garden next to the old farm house.  Let me know if that is something you are passionate about sharing with the kids.

PS As the new weather brings new clothes-please remember to put your child's name on the tag inside the jacket or fleece so we know who it belongs to!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kindness brings light.
What does hatred bring?

My first 3-Day breast cancer walk was in 2002 in California.  It was a moving, inspirational and powerful experience for me.  One of the momentums I kept from that walk was a simple grey t-shirt with three words on the front that moved me to tears. 
Be Both
Three simple words.  What happened to “kind” on Monday at the Boston Marathon?  What brings people to a place where hatred is foremost in every action.  Where a young father can say goodbye to his own 3 year old child and walk out the door to kill another child, to destroy families?  When did religion and politics become a place where being right is more important than human beings,  how can evil win over humanity?

History shows it has always been this way, how can we change it?  How can we respect other view points? How can we take the time to learn about other beliefs?
Martin Luther King Junior tried through peaceful marches and peaceful actions.  In a famous speech he said, ““Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Where was the love on Monday?

As I wrote this final sentence ready to send, it occurred to me that there was and has been an incredible amount of love on Monday and every moment since.  Every human who witnessed the horrors and helped immediately without question.  Every person in their home glued to the Television asking what can I do?  How can I make sure to raise my children with kindness, acceptance and love?  There was a lot of love on Monday, I only wish these two young men felt loved enough to not let hate overtake them.

Pamela Worth inspired by photography from 16 year old Talia Worth

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Today was a wormy day.  We collected worms out of the puddles and put them in the bug box to observe them.  Teacher Ann had a worm book-so during circle time we talked about what we already knew about worms: they live in the ground, they don't have legs, they don't have eyes and then we learned more about them: they don't have bones, they are good for the soil, they have predators ( a new word we'll be working on).  Some of the predators are birds and fish.  You can reinforce the word "predator" at home.  Noah mentioned later in the day that alligators are predators that can eat people.  So the concept was working well!

We learned a new song about worms too.

Thousand Legged Worm

Said the thousand legged worm as he gave a little squirm:
Has anybody seen a leg of mine?
For if it can't be found,
I'll have to hop around,
on the other nine-hundred ninety-nine!

Hop around
Hop around
on the other nine-hundred ninety nine.

For if it can't be found  
I'll have to hop around,
on the other nine-hundred ninety-nine!
When it came time to let the worms go-we spent time with math-how many worms were there?
9! and how many kids?  10!
Our hike today was deep into the woods, into and onto some giant stumps and many of us played hide and seek in among some huge sword ferns.
The stream was forded on the way home with varying degrees of success as the water was quite high today.  But everyone came through happily and with smiles they ran to the tire swing and back for lunch.
If you plan on having your child in TOP for the fall session-sign ups with the City of Redmond begin on March 19th.  At that time it is open to the public.

10 Fun Ideas to Celebrate Spring Equinox 

By Pamela Worth   |   February 26, 2013 Originally published on Chatterblock
spring equinox
What is the Spring Equinox, you ask? Spring Equinox is when the sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length. This year it’s on March 20, and it marks the first day of Spring!
Here are 10 things you can do celebrate the coming of Spring:

1. Go on a worm walk on the next rainy day or the first day of spring.

Worms are fascinating to watch. Follow up with a warm cup of hot cocoa and a great book that teaches kids (and us!) why worms are so important to the earth. My two book recommendations are  Compost, By Gosh! by Michelle Eva Portman and  Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer.

2. Research composting with your kids.

Go to the library and read about composting and talk with your family about how great it is for the environment and your garden! Go on websites and visit gardening stores to find composters.  If you go to Whole Foods ask them to show you their composters in the back. They have huge composters in most stores, so think about what size you need or can fit.

3. Start a new tradition with a family gift on the Spring Equinox.

Why not make one of those composters part of your annual Spring Equinox family gift? Go for something that the whole family will benefit from and preferably something that gets everyone outside!

4. Take a rainbow walk in your neighborhood to see the blooming flowers.

Have each child hold a note card with each color represented with a marker circle. Challenge: Try and find each color in nature, not just a blue car etc.

5. Balance an egg.

There is a myth that the Spring and Fall equinoxes are the only days of the year that you can balance an egg on its end. On March 20th give this a try. The myth may last because most people only choose to try this on the first day of spring and fall!

6. Splash in puddles.

Simple old fashioned fun with rain boots or bare feet. The bigger the splash the better!

7. Spring cleaning.

Pick one drawer or one shelf or one closet a day throughout the first month of Spring. If you choose to spend 8 hours cleaning usually everyone burns out. Make a chart/calendar and and assign everyone to one section each a day, or do a section as a family. In our household with four kids, this means 6 drawers a day or 6 shelves. Of course things come up so it’s more like the first four Sundays of Spring, but we get it done!

8. Spring closet cleaning.

Let the kids choose what outgrown and unused toys and clothes to give away. Have them set up their own garage sale to take place during the warmer weather. See if there is something new for summer they want to buy by pooling all of their earnings together or if you can convince them to have a garage sale for a favorite charity.

9. Plan a garage sale.

Kids as young as 3 can participate in the sale. Our kids were able to buy a trampoline with their earnings and a year’s worth of change, saved in a jar. We did match their money, which helped, but they were so impressed with what they could do when they saved!

10. Before the sun is out regularly, plant a bud garden in an egg crate.

Find veggie, herb or flower seeds for the kids to make buds inside. All you need is a little soil, light and water! By Mother’s Day you all should be able to plant them outside.
Pamela Worth is the owner of Tiny Treks. She knows all kinds of great ways to explore the great outdoors with the kids!