Science, Anyone?

What do you think of when you think of a scientist? Do you picture an “Albert Einstein” type figure with crazy hair, a lab coat, and a fizzing test tube? Do scientists have to wear lab coats and have fancy degrees? The answer is a resounding “No!” Anyone can be a scientist! All that is needed is an inquisitive mind and the ability to search for an answer. Because of this children make excellent scientists. They are constantly asking “why” and looking for answers. If you are a teacher or a parent, take this as an opportunity to help your child learn about the world around them.

If you desire to do science but don’t know where to start, there are some really great citizen science projects that you can be a part of. If you like birds, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology webpage to find some projects to join:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/page.aspx?pid=1664

One of their projects coming up next month (Feb 13-16, 2015) is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Check it out and see how many birds you can find in your own backyard!

If birds aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other opportunities studying a variety of topics including rocks, space, frogs, bugs, plants, and many more. Scientific American has a webpage with a nice collection of many different projects to choose:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/citizen-science/

So go out there! Find a topic you are interested in, and start doing science!

You never know what you might discover!

Creative Hikes

Walking is a great form of exercise, whether it’s up a mountain or around the block. Walking with a group of people promotes safety and bonding. Encourage your class or family to take a walk together and enjoy the numerous benefits.

For the unexperienced hiker, even a short walk may seem daunting. Even regular hikers may long for new activities to spice up their walking routines. Here are a few new activities to try.

  1. Whenever you come to a corner or a fork-in-the-road, flip a coin. Heads means you turn left, and tails means you walk right. Keep flipping coins until you return to your starting point, which could take either a few minutes or several hours!
  2. Create a scavenger hunt list filled with items that are likely along your walking path. No returning home until the entire list is checked off!
  3. Play the alphabet game. Find something that begins with the letter A, then B, and so on until you reach Z. This is a fun way to teach young children letters and spelling, but even older kids can get excited by this challenge!
  4. Purchase an inexpensive guide book or download field guide apps on your smartphone or tablet. Field guides will help you identify birds, plants, insects, or many other things you will see in nature. Make a few stops along your walk, find an interesting specimen, and see if you can figure out what it is.
  5. Make it a mystery! Ahead of time, the adults plan a secret destination, such as an ice cream shop or a park. On the walk there, the kids try to guess where they’re going. For an even more unique twist, leave the adults in the dark. Let the kids work together as they plan a mystery walk!
  6. Walk for a cause. Many charities host walks, hikes, or jogs as fundraisers, and you could be a participant. You could even make your own fundraiser for your favorite charity by planning a walking route and collecting pledges.
  7. If you have a GPS device, visit geocaching.com. There are geocaches all over the world, so there is likely one near your regular walking route. See who can be the first in your group to find the hidden container.
  8. Is there a historical site near you? If so, then there’s probably also an interesting hike waiting for you. Many historical areas and other points of interest offer either guided or self-guided walks. This is a good way to exercise both your brain and your body!

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By |2016-10-13T15:26:56+00:00March 5th, 2014|Family Fun|0 Comments

Archived Nature Crafts

One section we used to have in our Nature Notes newsletter was a nature craft. We would find awesome nature crafts online to share with our readers. For those of you who remember past nature notes, not all of the crafts we wrote about are copied in this post. Some of the links to websites we cited are no longer functional. The following are the crafts that still have working links. Happy crafting!

 

November 2010:

Leafy Door Hanger

Celebrate the return of fall right from your front door. Kids will love putting this craft together by getting their hands dirty with finger painting.

http://spoonful.com/crafts/leafy-door-hanger

 

October 2011

Caramel Apple Monster

This month’s awesome craft idea is Caramel Apple Monsters. These little guys are super fun to make and even more fun to eat. Follow the link below for a fun Fall treat.

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/caramel-apple-monsters-683198/

 

May 2012

Home made playdough

Children have fun making their own playdough with any of the recipes on the following webpage. This craft can be incorporated into science lesson plans or just for fun.

http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes/37040.html

 

September 2012

Grow Your Own Wildflowers!

Wildflower gardens are a wonderful way to invite birds and butterflies into your yard. Here is a website that will help get you started on your new garden.

http://www.kidsgardening.org/node/12111

 

October 2012

Fall Food Favorites

One of the best parts of Autumn is all the delicious food that becomes available. The following website provides many fun fall inspired recipes for you to try at home:

http://familyfun.go.com/autumn/fall-recipes/

 

November 2012

A Soda Bottle Greenhouse

Growing your own plants for food and helping keep plastic out of a landfill; what could be better?  This craft gives your students a chance to try some hands on recycling from start to finish by using a 2 liter soda bottle as a miniature greenhouse.  This craft gives your students a chance to try reusing resources and to grow vegetables.  The plans for the craft are available at:

http://www.education.com/activity/article/Soda_Bottle_Greenhouse/

 

January 2013

Snowball Fights

It’s that time of year again!  Snowball battles, sledding, and snowmen are the chiefs among outdoor activities.  Did you know that there are actually rules for snowball bouts?  Check out this link to Dan Beard’s (one of the founders of American Boys Scouts) snowball fight rules.

http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/winter/activities/snowball/rules.htm

This is an excerpt from an early 20th  book named The American Boys Handibook.  This book and the accompanying girl’s book are a must have edition to anyone’s library.

 

March 2013

Homemade Vase

Spring is almost here. With all the beautiful flowers blooming outside, it’s always nice to bring them indoors. This homemade vase is a neat way to display the new spring flowers.

http://craftswork.blogspot.com/2010/02/nature-craft-twig-vase.html

 

May 2013

Crystal Candy

Our world is filled with natural wonders. Crystal formations are beautiful and mysterious at the same time. Get out and explore Ohio’s caves and crystal formations. While you are thinking about caves and crystals, here is an activity to make your own edible crystal candy!

http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/rockcandy.php

 

By |2018-03-13T17:27:30+00:00October 17th, 2013|Family Fun|0 Comments