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