February is Ice Fishing Season!
What is Ice Fishing? Ice fishing is a traditional activity that is in most Nation’s traditional calendars during the winter months. There are a variety of different traditional methods used for ice fishing – First Nations used spears to catch fish through the ice, Inuvialuit used a special jigging method, and Métis set nets in the ice.
Here are some activities that vary in intensity that help to incorporate Ice Fishing into your February:
Create a sensory table or dramatic play area that includes: ice, children’s fishing poles, plastic fish, and nets.
Invite elders to come in for story time to tell ice fishing stories. (Alternatively, share a video or Facebook Live of an Elder talking about ice fishing that parents can access outside of your center’s working hours.)
Have a popsicle-making activity! This will help teach the kids to learn about the process of water freezing.
Print and send home information on lakes in the area that offer ice fishing opportunities You can find: “the Beginner’s Guide to Fresh Water Fishing”.
Make a parent board featuring a local map of ice fishing locations, traditional information and tips and techniques (this can be changed to feature regular fishing in the late spring).
Have kid-friendly books about ice fishing at the center. A few suggestions for books on ice fishing are:
Create a parent kit to send home that encourages participating in ice fishing, or fishing in general! This kit could include:
Books and poems on ice fishing
Traditional ice fishing teachings
Show pictures of traditional ice fishing practices.
Create and construct something that resembles an ice hole. This can be outside or inside, and you can invite the children to help you build it.
Use tarps, blankets, and logs – whatever helps you make it look realistic
Host a family day at a local lake and provide supplies, safety information, picnic lunch and hot drinks.
Incorporate art projects that use ice as paint.
Incorporate fish into your center’s snack and meal menu. You can even ask children to help clean, prepare, and watch you cook the fish.
Utilizing buckets and toys – freeze water with objects and treasures inside. Invite the children to discover them by chipping the ice away, or having the ice melt over time. This activity is best outside.
For a bigger project – create a backyard ice rink! Drill holes in the ice rink you build, using a manual auger, and have treasures inside the ice for the children to discover.
Other Ideas for February (outside of Ice Fishing):
There are many other cultural activities and events that you can run this month that are not centred on Ice Fishing if you so prefer. Here are a few suggestions, should you choose a different direction:
Have a Bannock-making day – you can invite children and parents to come work together to make traditional Bannock. Here is Elder Winston's favourite Bannock recipe. You can also ask parents to bring their favourite winter weather recipe to share.
On the theme of Bannock, you can invite an elder to teach their favourite Bannock recipe – this could be virtual (like a Facebook Live) or in person.
Have a Bird Watching day – explore your area, and take a field trip for bird-watching. You can incorporate snowshoeing into this field trip as well if you so choose.
Host an “I-Love-You,” Party – a lot of people think of February as the month of love, because of Valentine’s day. An “I-Love-You,” party can explore how to say “I love you,” or “Love” in Indigenous languages. You can invite everyone to bring a translation of the word “love” from their language. A party like this is also a great time to incorporate traditional foods into your menu.
If you incorporate any of these ideas into your center, please consider sending us pictures! We would love to see them and share them with the AHS community. Please email email@example.com