Connecting Children and Nature
—By Carol Malnor
Teachers and kids are back in the classroom. But that doesn’t mean it’s an end to time in nature. I was inspired by Stacy Torino’s article “50 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Bringing Nature into the Classroom.” One of my favorite ideas was “Stock your bookshelf with nature books,” so I’ve added a Dawn Publications’ book to go along with a sampling of ideas from Stacy’s list.
- Measure rainfall: You can make your own rain gauge and put it out to see how much rain you get. Here’s a good guide on how to make a proper design. (Pitter and Patter. Two water droplets journey through the water cycle meeting all kinds of critters along the way.
- Have a classroom bug box: Bug boxes are a fantastic way to get a closer look at what’s crawling around your schoolyard. Bring them into the classroom, and then be sure to always let them go. (Under One Rock: Bugs, Slugs, and Other Ughs. Lift up a rock and find a whole world of fascinating critters.)
- Have a featured animal of the week: Even if you live in the city, there are dozens of types of wildlife in your neighborhood and city. Assign students different weeks, and have them do a short report on the animals that can be found in your area. (Wild Ones: Observing City Critters. Follow a curious dog as he discovers all the animals in a city/suburban neighborhood.)
- Do a soil test: You can learn a lot about the dirt in your own backyard or schoolyard. Take a look at this soil hunt to gather soil. Here’s a simple soil test to try as well. (Mighty Mole and Super Soil. Mighty Mole leads you in a discovery of her underground world.)
- Make bird feeders: The pinecone feeder smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed never gets old. Though if you’re looking for an update, try making these birdseed cupcakes. (Noisy Bird Sing-Along. Join the bird chorus as you learn about birds while making their sounds.)
- Grow microgreens: You can buy special seeds or just use seeds like sunflower seeds. Once they reach an inch or two, you can pinch them off and eat them. By the way, the nutritional value in these little sprouts is through the roof! (Green Bean! Green Bean! A young gardener grows a bean plant through all the seasons.)
Artist of the Month
Laurie Ellen Angus grew up near the beach and could often be found knee deep in the water searching with delight for sea creatures to play with, such as horseshoe crabs, and also routinely chasing her younger brother around with them. Laurie doesn’t chase her brother anymore, but does continue her fascination with the ocean, […]
Nature Books for Kids
Come along on a safari! In Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna you’ll find elephants that squirt, giraffes that slurp, hornbills that toot, and seven more fascinating animals and their babies. Not to mention a”hidden” animal on each page. Africa’s savanna is home to a delightful diversity of critters! This is the eighth book in Marianne […]