Be a Junior Naturalist at Home
The fun of being a naturalist is learning all you can about the natural world. Here are some ideas for outdoor learning adventures you can try at home.
Make a Water Viewer – Study underwater life with a home-made waterscope. All you need is an empty 1/2 gallon cardboard milk carton, plastic wrap, scissors and a large rubber band. Cut the top and bottom off the milk carton. Place the plastic wrap over the open bottom and secure with a rubber band. Slowly lower your viewer into the water a few inches and look through the plastic wrap for a view into the underwater world.
Feed the Birds – Recycle a plastic milk jug by making a simple birdfeeder. Cut large windows in the sides of the plastic jug. Attach a string to the handle. Fill the jug with sunflower seeds and hang the feeder outside for the birds to feast. Keep a bird identification book nearby and figure out what birds are visiting your feeder.
Keep a Nature Journal – Take a few minutes each day to record the natural happenings you observe. Note signs of the changing season, what animals are doing, or what they are eating. Sketch plants in bloom or a spider making a web. Write about any unusual events you see, for instance a meteor shower. This is your journal so be creative and include anything that is interesting to you.
Create a Nature Trail – Get to know a nearby trail or stream in all seasons and all directions. Use a field guide to help you identify all of the trees, wildflowers and animals you find along the way. Take your family and friends on guided nature walks and share your knowledge with others.
Take a Walk in the Rain – What do insects do when it is raining? What does rain taste like? Where does the rain go? Why do worms come out in the heavy rain? Take a walk on a rainy day and try to figure it all out. Don’t forget your raincoat.
Be a Weather Watcher – Thin wispy cirrus clouds are often the first sign of approaching rain, while fluffy white cumulus clouds indicate fair weather. Learn the different cloud formations and what they can tell us about weather heading our way.