Learning Story – Venturing Across the Lake to the Deep Snow

Learning Story – Venturing Across the Lake to the Deep Snow

The Week of November 30, 2022

What did we do? 

This was our coldest day yet this season at Bushkids! We took some time in the afternoon to explore the frozen lake. The snow was hard and crunchy and had been blown with so much wind there was a crust forming on top of the deep snow. Some Bushkids wrote their names in the snow by making big letters with their walking trails. There was a rough and tumble wrestling game played by a group of the older Bushkids, they had close to 50 rounds of wrestling – one Bushkid took on the role of sharing wrestling techniques with the others. They modified the Northern game called Muskox Push too. Across the lake is a large hill and rocky area that was full of fresh deep snow. It’s the first time this year that we crossed the lake. It started with one Bushkid climbing and scaling up the hill and finding the best way to ascend, then when others saw what they were doing it attracted several more Bushkids to come and join. The climbing hill was a busy and fun place! Some enjoyed jumping into the deep snow while others were challenged with finding a unique trail to climb to the top. On our walk over the frozen lake one Bushkid was trying to not break through the crunchy top layer of snow by crawling and spreading their body weight out over the snow. 

Why is this important? 

On the lake it is windier than what we experience up the hill at our Bushkids site. Taking care of ourselves was a big theme of the day as we had our first very cold day together. Visits to the lake were short as we would go back to camp and warm our cheeks and dry out wet neckwarmers in the tent. We explored the difference between Frost Nip and Frost Bite and why it is so important to warm our tissue at the first signs of frost nip so we don’t go further down the path towards frost bite. Some Bushkids were very helpful in taking care of others by letting their friends know when if they saw white patches on their cheeks so they could go warm up. 

The Bushkids should be very proud of themselves and how they learn to manage their play in the cold temperatures. It is not about “conquering mother nature” when we spend the day out incold weather, it is about noticing and appreciating how peoples, Land, water and animals adapt and change to live in the beautiful cold weather. 

The wind on the lake provided an opportunity for our Bushkids to explore untouched snow patches on the lake and think about why the snow is hard on top and soft underneath. Why do you try to crawl or lay on the snow to avoid crunching the top layer, how does that work? One Bushkid said it made their weight different but noticed that they were still breaking through the snow with their knees. They experimented with rolling along the snow and slithering like a snake to try to keep it unbroken. This is about understanding the science of snow, weight transfer and weight distribution in the body. 

Rough and tumble play is very attractive to some of our Bushkids and today’s important piece was how this kind of play keeps us warm and our bodies moving when it’s cold outside. The snow is drier so it doesn’t stick to our clothes when we roll around in it making our clothes less wet and easier to keep warm. The last nine weeks of Bushkids have been very wet with the warmer temps keeping the snow heavy and wet. 

What will we do next time? 

Please express how proud you are of your child’s ability to take good care of themselves in the cold temperatures. Our cold temperatures seem like they are here to stay! We will continue to explore frost bite and frost nip and how they are different and how we can avoid it.. Keeping warm in these cold temperatures is easy when there are fun games to play. We will look at some of the more physical Dene andTraditional Games to find fun ways to keep our extremities warm. 

We can add to the inquiry about weight transfer with respect to ice safety and what we do if we fall through the ice. The climbing hill across the lake will be a focal point next week to continue with exploring that side of the lake and the snow covered rocks that are so fun to slide down. We will prompt them to discover the tailings pond from Con Mine that is just over the hill to see what curiosity and questions they have! How does that impact the lake, the fish and the Land?!