This year on January 31, 2016 Duluth will be hosting the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. It is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.
I still remember the feeling I had when we my family and I accidentally came across this race in 2012. We planned on going to Hawk Ridge for a hike but as we drove down Glenwood Road, just above the golf course, we instantly became interested in why there were so many people along the side of the road. As we got out of the car we watched and and listened as a volunteer standing in a bright orange vest at the edge of the ditch yelled up to the others volunteers on the road "MUSHER!". And just like that, two people stopped the oncoming traffic while all the other volunteers madly loosened the snow with their shovels that the cars had driven over and pack onto the blacktop. Then everyone stood back, holding hands, in a line saying "on by" just in time as a musher and their dogs crested the hill and in a blink carried on down the trail.
The adrenaline and excitement that I felt that day was awe-inspiring. When complete strangers asked my family and I to help shovel snow at that crossing you better believe we did, with much enthusiasm and smiles on our faces. We had so much fun that day! It was like nothing I had felt before. The racers, the four-legged athletes and the community of volunteers and spectators that worked together to make that event possible was so cool!
With the excitement building around this year's event the children at Secret Forest have been learning a lot about dog sledding and teamwork. Together we are preparing for their very own "Pup Run", a mock dog sled race.
Just like real mushers these little ones each have race bibs. They have designed their own bib and picked out "the fastest" race number.
All the children have been encouraged to decorate their bib to make it uniquely their own. With the children's names on their bibs they are practicing letter/name recognition. The bib numbers gave them the opportunity to count (to 30) while ironing them on and is also gave them the chance to put them in order (sequencing) . And finally adding the ribbon ties on the sides allowed them to measure and use their fine motor skills to cut! Learning can be so fun when you do it through play.
*Remember to check back to see the results of the Pup Run ;)
I am Meghan Morrow, the founder and lead teacher at Secret Forest Playschool in Duluth, MN. This blog is a way for me to share some of the amazing moments that I witness and the lessons that I learn from some of the wisest people I know... children.