One afternoon this month, the boys just needed some outside time while I was making dinner and working on other things inside. I sent the two older boys out with my iPhone to find moss! This is what they came up with . . .
The kids were just "exploring moss" today. We still have so much to learn! The Outdoor Hour Challenge from Handbook of Nature Study in March focused on mushrooms, mosses and lichen, so this walk was a perfect fit. The boys made these observations:
1. Moss is often on wet, fallen down logs. These are often slippery.
2. Moss is often on dead trees or branches.
3. Moss looks kind of hairy. It's soft.
4. Moss often grows on trees, but can also be on the ground, sticks, rocks, and old tires.
I liked this approach of just looking for one thing while in the forest. It was easier to focus and they saw things they might not have noticed otherwise. It also gives them more opportunities to explore their own backyard in a unique way.
This guy is ALWAYS climbing on things on walks! I've watched him navigate this risk many times and seen how he negotiates the surroundings and compromises with nature to make it safe. He is learning life skills as he "plays" with nature!
We live just on an acre, but over half of it is loaded with tall pine trees. We let the trees fall and stay on the ground for the most part. There is ample opportunity for moss to help recycle the fallen wood.
We decided to learn more about moss. We looked up a few websites and looked in books from the library.
Moss History for Kids -- Moss doesn't have seeds. They reproduce by spores. They also live near water or in wet areas, which confirmed my sons' observations.
Needs of Moss -- Moss needs shade, acidic soil, moisture. They get nutrients they need from the air.
Mosses and Liverworts Green World Series -- This book had good illustrations to help us understand more about moss and nice pictures, too.
Of course, they found other "interesting things" while out and about they needed to capture! Scat is fun on any walk! I also enjoyed them noticing moss and mushrooms on other explorations. They are noticing things I might not otherwise see.