Today we spent some time at the swinging vines! The thick, sturdy grapevines provided at least an hour's worth of spirited play. Along the way, we peacefully took turns waiting in line to play, peeled off the bark and made some crude rope, and piled up some more leaves for a landing pad!
Kids need unstructured free forest time—that's a given—and we leave space for a sufficient amount of that during each day. Really delving into some serious play—bouncing on the vine, swinging with enough momentum to grab onto the nearest branch with one hand and then two, and peeling and twisting bark—that stuff is what childhood is made for! Hours of making forts, skipping stones, hide and seek etc. ... It seems clear that many children today don't get nearly enough of that time, and I can look back with great thankfulness at my own childhood, knowing that I had plenty of that type of nature connection time. Being steeped in such natural beauty was a great blessing.
What I'm getting at is that, whoever each Wooly Bear grows up to become—a teacher, parent, mechanic, lawyer, whatever—I think they will look back at hours spent swinging on vines, poking dusty root balls with sticks, and breaking wood for fire and remember those things with great fondness.