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Celebrate National Wildlife Week with 15 Minutes Outside
Notice the nature in your neighborhood with these five activities from 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks).
MONDAY: Focus on the Sounds
Have a challenge with your kids and see how many sounds they can hear outside. Ask them if they can hear more sounds the quieter they are. Listen first for a minute or two, and then start to identify the sounds. What animals do you hear? If you don’t know the names of the animals, what do the children think they might look like?
TUESDAY: Lie Under a Tree and Look Up
I love to do this with my son in our hammock, but you don’t need a hammock to enjoy the shade and the view up into a tree from underneath. The silhouette and pattern of the tree’s leaves against the sky is beautiful. Want to get even comfier? Lie on a blanket and bring a pillow for your heads too.
WEDNESDAY: Make a Nature Container
Kids love to collect things from nature, and my boys are sad when they can’t bring something they’ve collected inside. They are afraid it will get lost outside. A nature container is a perfect solution. Give your child her own plastic container with a lid, where she can keep what she finds. The container can be stored in a closet by the door or in the garage, and she can easily grab it when she wants to play with her nature objects outside. Take a tip from the National Wildlife Federation: Try hanging a clear shoe organizer on the back of a door so your children can put treasures into the convenient pockets and see what they’ve collected (see their website at www.BeOutThere.org for more ideas).
THURSDAY: Look at Moss and Mushrooms
Moist spring conditions create vibrant green moss and interesting fungi. We love noticing what is popping up along forest paths and in the yard. We like touching fuzzy moss too. Backyardnature.net has some interesting general information about moss and mushroom identification.
FRIDAY: Spot a Predator
It’s interesting to look at an insect or an animal and think about why it may be attracted to that spot… Head out the door and talk about the first insect that you notice on the ground. Why do you think it has chosen that location? Then, learn more about their habitat and what they eat. Check out www.Insecta-Inspecta.com and www.A-Z-animals.com.
Want more tips and activities for Saturday and Sunday? Visit BeOutThere.org! Or subscribe for my free at RebeccaPlants.com to receive my monthly newsletter, Learn Outside, created for parents and educators. Ranger Rick Magazine has some good pointers, too!
Read Rebecca’s other posts in this series: