As Thanksgiving approaches, connect the holiday to science by helping your kids learn about turkeys. Here are some activities that will give your children knowledge to wow the guests at Thanksgiving dinner!
Education standard: Recognize that some books and other media portray animals and plants with characteristics and behaviors they do not have in real life.
Explore a variety of media about turkeys (fiction and nonfiction books, cartoons, documentaries). If possible, observe wild and/or domesticated turkeys. Talk about what turkeys look like and how they act in each source where you find information. Identify the turkeys and their behavior … Read more
Anatomy refers to the structure of organisms, while physiology refers to the function of organisms. One hands-on way of studying anatomy and physiology is through dissections, and virtual dissections on the computer will work as well.
When your child learns the structure and function of organisms, making tables is a useful way to organize this information. Scientists often make tables so the data they collected can be easily seen and understood. Knowing how to make tables is a skill that will benefit your child in many subject areas.
Below you can find examples of tables that your child can make … Read more
Going out in nature and teaching children about autumn is possible as long as you have a slight seasonal change in your area. Even where I live in the South, small changes can be observed as the seasons change. Here are some ideas for activities your child can do.
Kindergarten Education standard*: Observe plants and animals; describe how they are alike and how they are different in the way they look and in the things they do.
Activity: Spend time outside observing plants and animals as they get ready for winter. If possible, view birds migrating south, squirrels gathering and … Read more
If you’re looking for nature activities to do with your kids, I highly recommend The Kids’ Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities & Experiences by Susan Milord. I found this book at the library, and after looking through it, I had to get the book for myself.
The activities begin on January 1st. Each week has a theme, and every day has an activity to go along with that theme. This week’s theme is rocks, and the activities include two field trips, two science labs, two art projects, and a rock collection. Other themes list poems and stories to … Read more
A few days ago, I found pictures I had taken when I worked as an environmental educator in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. In this collection, I saw one of my favorite photos from that year. I had taken my class to one of the ponds, and the students were sitting along the bank. They had their notebooks open, and they were writing about what they had observed during our recent activity.
Out of the three boys in the picture, two heads were bent down in concentration, and the third boy looked out … Read more
A 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
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,
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.)
Then print out the map, get some paper and … Read more
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 … Read more