Day 1 – Getting Outside for some Nature & Science!

My whole career has been about the benefits of going outside, especially for children, and the importance of connecting people to nature and science. However, I often find that I fail at this with my own daughter. By the time we get home in the evening, do homework, etc. there isn’t usually time to spend outside. So I’ve decided that since I have a minimum of two weeks of homeschooling I need to make sure that nature and science are a part of each day. And since I know that I’m not the only parent out there going, “OMG….what am I going to do with them at home!”, I thought I would share some of my ideas with you.

So for the next two weeks, I’m going to post what I’m up to with my daughter to get her outside and learning about science and nature! Please give it a try, and post pictures of what you are doing with your kids! Added benefit, time outside is good for you as well and a great way to reduce stress for the whole family!

Day #1: After going into work for a few hours and then braving not one but two grocery stores, I decided to keep today simple. A nature photo hike of the neighborhood! My daughter is 11 and loves to use my phone (since I won’t give her one yet). So we set out for a walk in your neighborhood (you could use your backyard, a local park, or come out to Bucks Audubon and use the trails), I gave my daughter my phone and told her to take a picture of what she thought was cool. Personally, I didn’t realize just how many flowers where already blooming, both in the lawns and on the trees! My daughter had a particular love of the purple (see the periwinkles as the blog header) and yellow ones.

cat- stacy day 1
She also loves cats, so she had to take a picture of the cute cat taking a nap in the sun spot.

While the walk only took about a half an hour, we covered a bunch of different science topics and worked on some great observation skills.

  • Did you know that you can eat the woodland violets that are growing in your yard? We tried one each (only from our yard where I know nothing is sprayed!!!) and they taste great. They are in the pea family and you can tell.
  • Flowers are a great opportunity to compare and contrast, we looked not only at color, but also number and shape of petals, the leaves on the plant, and how they smell. Great way to get the senses involved in learning.
  • Pollination is a great topic to cover when looking at flowers! Not all flowers have easy to identify parts, but tulips, daffodils, and lilies are all great to dissect and see the parts. See the diagram to remind yourself on the names, I never remember! You can even “help out” some of the flowers by helping to spread the pollen from one flower to another, just use your fingertips or a cotton swab to move the pollen. Remember to be gentle, flowers can be delicate.
Flower Pollination
Labeled here are the parts of the flower. Have you ever dissected a flower? Bring one inside and carefully peel back the petals! How many of these structures can you identify?

 

– Written by Stacy Carr-Poole, Executive Director at Bucks Audubon

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