Posted by Cindy on March 24, 2013
This post contains links to my NaturExplorers curriculum.
I’m so excited to be back outdoors on a regular basis with my children! Are you ready to jump back into nature study, too? Fresh air. The world slowing coming back to life. Warm air one day, cool air the next. Sunshine, rain, even snow. I love spring!
What We Study in Early Spring
What’s your favorite early spring nature study topic?
Posted by Cindy on December 30, 2011
Winter is a great time for finding nature treasures that are hidden other seasons of the year. Bird’s nests are one example. Can you see how some sweet little bird found spare bailing twine to add to his cozy home?
Spend some crafty time this winter creating nesting material to attract more birds to your yard this coming spring! Loosely fill a suet container or recycled mesh bag with various scraps of any or all of the following:
- shredded paper
- cotton balls stretched out a bit
- thin fabric scraps
As birds begin nesting this spring, hang your container on a tree branch. Be sure to take some opportunities to observe the busy birds who visit your nesting material. If you’re lucky, next winter you’ll find a bird’s nest that was built using some of your materials!
I’ve pinned a couple of fun nesting material posts over at Pinterest. Go see!
Enjoy an entire study of birds this winter (and beyond) using NaturExplorers Beautiful Birds!
Posted by Cindy on July 19, 2011
My children and I were using an activity suggested in the Delightful Deciduous Trees unit the other day on a spring nature walk. We were searching for saplings and seedlings. A quick trip through a wooded area is a great place to find baby trees of all sorts. What fun we had trying to decide what baby trees were growing by looking around the area to see what parent trees were around us!
Our most interesting find also happens to have stumped us. Maybe you can help us figure out what tree this is?
The pictures below show several different saplings of the same variety in different stages of their leaves unfurling. It was a magnificent site to behold!
We were able to identify locust, walnut, hickory, buckeye, maple and oak trees in the general area. A quick leaf identification hunt led us to this page on About.com. My first inkling is to say the leaves were most similar to an ash tree, but we couldn’t find any other proof of this in the wooded area or online. So, what’s your guess??
Posted by Cindy on
We’ve had A LOT of rain in Central KY lately. It’s not only good for our hay fields, but really good for nature study, too! Some of you will remember the huge variety of mushrooms we found outside our doorstep after a few days of heavy rain.
Lichens are also a fun study after the rain. In fact, one of the Fungus Among Us activities suggests noticing the brilliant colors of lichens after rain as compared to their color when dry. Take a look at just a few of the many, many pictures we took one evening just after a rainfall.
Pretty cool, huh? Can you see the little hairs on the end of the lichen in the bottom picture? God never ceases to amaze me – even lichens are beautiful and varied! I have to admit that the Fungus Among Us study is one of my favorites. I like looking for the obscure and finding God in every single detail around me.
Posted by Cindy on
I think I’ve mentioned before that we’ve been getting A LOT of rain in Kentucky this spring. While it doesn’t make for a clean and tidy nature study, taking a walk in a freshly plowed field after a rainfall can turn up all sorts of treasures!
Here are my boys venturing out into the field. When I say we went out right after the rain, that’s exactly what I meant! LOL You can see the steaminess of the air in the background. My camera lens even kept fogging up! By the end of the walk, my son and daughter were both barefoot in the field because their boots were too heavy with mud to stay on.
We haven’t identified our rock finds yet (and we found a bunch), but here are two pictures to show the variety of colors and textures we were collecting. I wish the brilliance had shown up better in the pictures. The top rock is actually very red.
You don’t just come upon rocks in a wet field! We found at least four toad friends who very graciously allowed us to take pictures.
And take a look at this! It wasn’t found during the same walk, but a day later in our freshly plowed garden. We’ve found arrowheads on the farm before, but rarely are they in such good condition! Caleb (my 9 year old) was trying his hand at a wet field walk on his own – quite a treasure to find, don’t you think?
You can find many, many more nature ideas for rock hunting in the Hard as a Rock NaturExplorer unit! It’s one of our biggest units because it focuses not only on rocks, but life under rocks as well. It’s almost like getting two units in one!