Meet Christopher the squirrel and his forest friends. Christopher best friend is getting ready to hibernate. What will Christopher do? Share a sweet story with your child and read on for more extension ideas to do at home together.
Christopher and his friends start a nature club
Christopher is a little brown squirrel who lives in a large oak tree. His home is in a hole high up in the tree just before the trunk begins to branch off in many directions. Down below among the roots at the bottom of the tree lives his friend Gareth, a kind and gentle toad. Their oak-tree home is a forest not too far from a winding stream and meadow.
In the early fall, Gareth reminded Christopher that it was nearly time for him to hibernate. He would be sleeping all winter.
“But why?” asked Christopher. “Don’t you like winter?”
“I’ve never seen winter,” replied his friend, “I have been told that it is too cold for toads and other animals. Besides my body tells me that I need to hibernate. It is an instinct deep inside of me.”
So Christopher helped his friend create a cozy place in his home with leaves and moss to keep Gareth comfy and warm. As the days got cooler Gareth slowed down and didn’t come out to play as often. One chilly day the little squirrel scampered down the tree to check in on his friend. Gareth was all tucked into his mossy bed and Christopher said “Have a good sleep. I’ll see you in the spring.” Then he shut the door to Gareth’s home and went off alone.
Now, my friends, you do not need to feel sad as this is quite natural for toads and many other animals to hibernate. Christopher decided to check in on some of his other friends. He knew that he would not see hedgehogs and chipmunks very much. So, he went instead to visit the grey squirrels who live in the pine tree nearby. As he approached Cheek, Nutty, and Nutkin all came tumbling towards him. They had found an acorn and were playing with it.
They all tried to play soccer with the acorn. It was rather difficult as an acorn is not round and would roll off in different directions. But they had so much fun playing they were sorry to end their fun at dinner-time. The squirrels made plans to get together the next day.
Bright sunshine greeted them the next day as Christopher met Cheek, Nutty, and Nutkin by the stream. Cheek had also invited Yousee and Bobo along, two rabbits from the meadow. The animals were having so much fun playing in the fallen leaves that Whirly and Joanna, two more squirrels asked if they might join in too. All afternoon the animals gathered leaves into a huge pile to leap in.
As the sun began to sink into the late afternoon sky the friends talked about plans for more fun. Suddenly Christopher had a wonderful idea.
“Why don’t we meet every week on the same day. We could explore different areas of the forest and meadow. It’ll be nice for me to see you often as I miss Gareth and our other friends who are hibernating.”
This sounded like an excellent plan. And so began the weekly meet-ups of the Nature Explorers.
- Start your own nature group
- Learn about what animals hibernate where you live
- Choose an animal and find out how it survives in the fall and winter
- Draw a picture of your favourite tree
- How do you know fall has arrived?
- What are some signs winter is on the way?
- Learn more about squirrels
- Buy some nuts (if there are no allergies) and observe, crack, and taste the difference
- Pretend you are hibernating and make a cozy spot
- Act out the story with small toys
- Collect up acorns and see how they roll, see if you can play a mini soccer game
- Go on a hike and look for animals
- Create a nature table or display area
- Use model wax, plasticine or play dough to make a squirrel (add it to your nature display)
- Bake nature shaped cookies or nut bread