Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter Scavenger Hunt!

It's so great to see the tower at Ox Bow Park done! It looks like it's closed in this slippery weather, but will be fun to explore once all this snow and ice melt. We recently went on a Winter Scavenger hunt through Elkhart County Parks. We had a Bingo sheet we marked off as we hiked. It was fun to keep our eyes open for specific things!

We also stopped at various places along the trail and were given a few pictures that we needed to match up with the terrain. Some were a little difficult as things look different from 2-D to 3-D. We worked in teams to investigate and find the right spots! We also found these curious little tracks. It looks like it is from a small mammal with a tail. There is a hole through the snow nearby, so it may very well have gone under the snow where it is warmer. Krista, the naturalist, guided us to observe, but didn't tell us exactly what it is. It's most likely some type of mouse?

There were many people on the hike, tromping through the snow. We had just come from inner tubing, so had on boots, snow pants, etc. I actually was getting a little hot! It was sunny and there was no wind--perfect for winter explorations. I always say to get outside on these days--drop everything else! I thought this jumble of trees had interesting textures and lines.

We matched things ups a few different places along the way, finding tracks, playing in the snow, and observing how animals interact with their environment. To the right, you can see a line of small holes drilled, where the yellow bellied sapsucker had been drilling.

Snowballs were fun! Actually, just playing in the snow was wonderful! I sat down on some of the banks of snow--comfy and easy to fall right back into the snow. At the end there was another scavenger hunt, with clues tied to various places nearby. This really motivated the children to dash to the next spot! We had a three for--three scavengers for one price of free! Thanks, Krista! The children deciphered the clues to find the next clue. At the end, there were books related to nature as prizes, with most groups getting a book to take home. An added bonus!

I was on a date with my 5-year-old. We stopped by for an ice cream on the way home and read our book while we had a little one-on-one time together. The books i just a lovely little compilation of trees. 

My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America (Sharing Nature With Children Book) (affiliate link)

We looked at various trees. He really has gotten to know many through his interaction outside and observing as we go. In the picture below, we found the heart shaped Redbud leaves and he made a heart too. Cute! Thanks for another great program, Krista and Elkhart County Parks! See some of our other adventures there at the link above.