Making Shelters With Trees
November 2019


After the new playground opening, the children have been spending a lot of time in the large sand area. One afternoon, Cole, Oliver, and Sam wanted to dig holes in the sand with the snow shovels. They started digging and after ten minutes, they reached the depth they wanted for their holes. “We are polar bears”, Oliver commented. Each of the boys sat in their holes and giggled. “My hole is bigger”, Cole added. “My hole keeps me warm”. Oliver said. “My hole was first”, Sam commented. This experience demonstrated the boys had some knowledge about polar bears and their shelters.


To expand on the boys’ knowledge we added a provocation where we went for a forest walk and gathered  supplies that could be used to make shelters in the forest. We brought rope, sheets, and blankets. The children observed many long sticks and branches along the forest ground and propped them up against the trees. The teachers tied the rope from one tree to another and draped a sheet over the rope. Adaline watched her teachers tie the rope to the tree. “Addy tie rope too”.


children running towards shelter


The children ran to see what the new fort was. Elliot went under the sheet and stood under the shelter. Roselyn peeked under. Ryleigh had fun hiding under the sheet. “It’s a tent”, Elliot commented.


The following Friday on November 14/2019, the preschool group went for a walk along the forest path. There was freshly fallen packing snow. The children discovered a tree along the path that was a perfect opportunity to make a pirate cave. The children found rocks which made great buried treasure. It was great to see the children utilize the trees as shelters, forts and caves.


Children sitting in fresh fallen snow


To expand on this learning experience, we will discuss as a group what materials and loose parts we can use to make different shelters. We will provide pictures of animal dens as a representation in their play space. We will also provide modeling materials such as clay, leaves, sticks and sand for the children to construct their own shelters.





Contact Us

55 Hammet Street
Cambridge, Ontario
N3C 2H5

Hours of Operation
6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

(519) 220-1148


portrait of lisa

Lisa Rintoul, RECE

Headshot of Tracey Ruppenthal

Tracey Ruppenthal, RECE
Assistant Supervisor