Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nature Club Winter

Our first Nature Club for 6-9 year olds started this last week. We started by talking about our winter theme of WINTER, looking at close up pictures of snowflakes, talking about how animals survive the winter, and looking at different animal tracks and patterns that we might see out on our walk. We sat near the wildlife viewing area watching the squirrels, observing the ice, and talking about the lack of birds. I noticed the neighbors have lots of birdfeeders--maybe they're over there! Then we headed out for a hike!

Who needs a balance beam when there is huge fallen log nearby?

The girls were investigating tracks they found, even the homosapien variety. We used our winter color hike cards and winter scavenger hunt cards. Though the materials the same, the experience was much different than with younger children. One of the boys was very thorough and did not quit until he found moss!

This was a good animal track specimen we found. What do you think it is?

More logs to climb!

Once we were inside again, we washed hands and made a snack. We had apples, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and graham crackers. We talked about what food birds might need right now and how the extra fat in the suet feeders is helpful during the cold months. Black oil sunflower seeds are a good general feed for winter animals, such as birds and squirrels. Sunflower seeds, however, only appealed to a few of the children. Maybe with time . . .

We filled out on observation sheet from our walk from The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms . This just helps us record and document what is going on as we interact with nature. It's good for me to go back and review these at different seasons. I highly recommend this book. It goes month by month as to what to look for in nature, with examples, teaching moments, workbook pages to use, etc. It's a great tool to help interact more with nature. 

While we recorded the sunset we realized that we were 2 minutes from sunset so we hurried outside to catch the sunset. Beautiful colors even in the middle of the city!

We made 6 sided snowflakes (at least theoretically) . . . some points break off as they fall, right?

Made pinecone bird feeders to bring home . . . I will say that I was a little skeptical with these before--did they really work or just a "fun" thing to make? We hung one my son made out near our bird feeder and have watched how much the birds, especially the downy and red-bellied woodpeckers have eaten off it.

Some of the kids even engaged with books! Looking forward to our next adventure. Look for the nature club on the Woodlawn Nature Center Calendar one Thursday a month. Please be sure to let us know if you'll be joining us. There is a small fee to pay the costs of materials and supplies and the use of the building, but I volunteer my time putting together what we'll do each time. We'd love to have you!