Our last Coyote Kids adventure was a day for exploring Deer. Imagining ourselves in the mind and form of Deer, we headed out into the woods. We discovered mushrooms sprouting, a vibrant plant world, and plenty of water — tiny streams, and larger, and a very full pond! Along the way we found secret places right near the trail in which to, like deer often do, “ghost and hide” when hikers passed by, and we followed a deer trail that led into dense foliage. Your children met the challenge of making their way over and under brush, transforming into raccoons at one point to help them along, and working with balance, coordination, and perception to make their way through this natural obstacle course.
Games helped us explore the world and perceptions of the Deer. In one, children as Cougars stalked others of us as Deer. The challenge of the Cougar was to move quietly and to freeze when the Deer looked up. The challenge for the Deer was to hear the movement and catch the animals in motion. Deer’s eyes located on the sides of their head help them perceive subtle motion and have a wide field of view, but are less helpful in sensing dimension, especially when you blend in (as a cougar might) with the landscape.
What did it feel like for your child to be a Cougar? A Deer? Which did they prefer, and why?
Another game we enjoyed was a silly one, called Sleeping Fawn. In the early weeks of its life, a fawn will often lie alone in a secret place while its mother grazes nearby. If someone or something comes near, the fawn’s quick heart rate will slow, and the fawn will ‘freeze,’ remaining motionless while whatever ‘danger’ is near. Because a fawn has little scent, they can escape detection from predators. In this game trickster Coyote guesses that fawns might be in the area. He then displays silly antics trying to trick the fawn into revealing itself by laughing!
With Deer being a wild animal that we often see on the island, we have so many opportunities to expand into a widened experience of the nature right outside our doors, and to explore what it feels like to be at home within the land as the deer are. May you and your child enjoy these gifts that Deer offer us!