On a beautiful day, enjoy the summer weather; take your child exploring by going on a nature walk! Just a few moments in your backyard, at grandma’s house, or at a local park can unearth a wealth of information and fun.
Have your preschooler record his findings in a simple trail book. Just staple together some white paper with a construction paper cover. She can draw pictures of her favorite sights, glue or tape samples in their book, and make rubbings.
Here is a rubbing on one page:
On the next page, there was leaf residue left behind from the leaf itself.
Collect then glue or tape samples into the book. This is a Gerbera daisy. The seeds remind me of dandelions. They have a wonderful furry texture, but the dried petals are crisp. The colors of the petals are wonderful as well; orange on the top and yellow on the bottom. Beautiful! Spread some glue on the page and sprinkle the seeds onto the glue:
Your child can draw pictures of findings. If your little one can’t write words, they can dictate to you what they want recorded. Talk about the shapes and colors of your discoveries; it’s okay to keep it simple:
You can look for plants. Moss on a fence or rock has wonderful color and texture that is fun to feel and explore:
Keep your eyes open for simple forms of wild life such as worms…
Our part of the Midwest is currently being inundated with Periodical Cicadas. There are millions and “ka-gillions” of these bugs in the trees in our yard. The males “sing” in unison with a rise and falling pattern throughout the day; and they are loud! They also have brilliant color and markings:
They don’t like to have their picture taken and flew into my face, hair, shirt…as the camera closed in on their space. I suggest that if you are taking pictures, use your camera strap so you don’t drop your “investment” as you dance around trying get the bug out of your hair!
Use the cicadas or other local neighborhood critters that pique your child’s interest as a learning opportunity. If your child is older, run an internet search to find more information on the topic of their choice.
We have been reading Bugs, Bugs, Bugs, by Bob Barner. This is one of my favorites about bugs! It has bright, colorful and fun illustrations that pop off of the page.
A nature walk is a fun and rich learning experience, that is simple and inexpensive. Depending on the age of your child, you can cover a number of integrated topics such as science, language, motor, math, pre-academic, and literacy skills. Talk about what you see, feel, smell, and hear. Notice size, shape, color, textures, numbers, and talk with your child about their findings. Wear insect repellent to protect against ticks and chiggers. Watch out for poison ivy!
Make a happy, summer memory together!
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