Mason Jar Collections

mason jar collections natural feathers stones seashells plants kidsA couple of weeks ago, I was walking through an asphalt parking lot and saw a young boy about five years old following his parents. He crouched down, scooped up a handful of asphalt gravel in his little hand and shoved it into his pocket. I’m sure that decision required some explaining later, and hopefully the conversation took place before the shorts went through the wash.

Natural Treasures on Display

Besides the occasional handful of gravel, kids can enjoy collecting natural objects. When I was a kid, I kept containers filled with all sorts of treasures in the garage, and … Read more

How to Write Haiku Poems

write haiku poem about nature elementary studentWriting Japanese haiku poems is an effective strategy for combining science with language arts. Traditionally, nature was the subject of these poems.

Language Arts Connection

A haiku is made up of three lines. As you write them, you can teach or review how to count syllables. Each line has a certain number of syllables in it.

How to Write Haiku Poems

One version uses a pattern of 5-7-5 for the syllables. Here’s an example.

Rolling waves tickle
Soft sand slides under my feet
Pulled back to the sea

A simpler version uses a pattern of 3-5-3 for the syllables.

Red … Read more

Explore With Technology: iNaturalist App

The next time you get outside to explore nature, take your smart phone along and download the iNaturalist app. This app gives your child the opportunity to be a citizen scientist, which means professional scientists could use the information your child collects as part of their research.

Features of the iNaturalist App

  • Satellite map that shows your location and plants/animals that have been discovered nearby. You can change the location to find out what’s been found in other places.
  • Camera connection to take pictures of plants/animals and upload them. If you can’t identify them, other users can help.
  • News updates,
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Where Does the Water in Your Yard Go?

Finding out where water goes can be a fun adventure. For this activity, help your child find your house on a map, such as the satellite map in Google Maps. Locate the nearest waterway, and then follow its path on the map to see where it goes.

For example, the canal behind my house leads to a creek, which flows into an estuary, which is connected to the ocean. (You may need to research ahead of time to find out which direction the water flows.)

Road Trip

Then print out the map, get some paper and crayons or colored pencils, … Read more

How Kids Can Learn Through Asking Questions

Kids are full of questions. They point at something and want to know what it is or where it comes from or how it happens. This natural curiosity can lead them on a path of environmental exploration and knowledge-building.

Go Out and Explore

By taking your children on outdoor explorations, you can provide opportunities for them to ask questions about the world around them.¬†Go to the beach or a forest or a park. If you live in the city, you can walk and observe anything living, such as ants or birds, or nonliving objects, like rocks. Take a notepad … Read more