FALL OR SPRING
A WALK IN THE WOODS...
Read the entire post; there is variety in the 19 activity ideas!
Also good for Science and Nature!
1. Create a wood eco system by placing soil in the bottom of an aquarium. Then place a layer of dead leaves on top of the soil. Place a dead, rotten log on top of the leaves. Watch what happens. Does anything begin to grow out of the soil or emerge from the long?
2. Visit a forest preserve, nature center or state park and ask the park ranger or manager to meet with the students. Ask the ranger to discuss his/her job, and what the special satisfactions in the job are. You might also ask the ranger to lead the students through a walk in the woods. If you can't go on a field trip—invite the park ranger to your site.
3. Make a Bulletin Board about “Woodland Creatures,” “Changing Seasons in the Woods,” or “Animal Tracks Found in the Woods.”
4. Collect various leaves and bark samples and talk about their differences. Have the students feel the different barks and compare and describe each one.
5. Make a Nature Discovery Corner in your room. Have students bring in “their discoveries”.
Extension: children can write a short description of what they found.
6. Make plaster casts of animal tracks you have seen in the woods. They can be found on trails, near feeding sites, and water sources. Students can identify what the animal is. Then have them research on the animal, where it lives, what it eats, its size, and how many offspring it has. The students can explore what the animal's relationship is to other living things in the woods.
7. Wood Walker Diaries: Ask the students to keep a journal of a wooded area that is close to the school or home. Have them visit the area regularly to note changes. They might include drawings or photographs of what they see.
8. Create a wood glossary. Ask each student to define a “woods word” and decorate the classroom with the terms.
9. During a walk in the woods, ask the students to find as many tree seeds as the can. The best time to do this is in the spring or fall.
- Why do some trees drop their seeds in the spring and some in the fall? It is a dormancy issue.
- Those that drop in the spring do not require cold to germinate.
- Those that drop their seeds later in the summer or fall require a cold dormancy period in order for them to germinate.
- Some seeds to look for are acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts, and some maple seeds, and pine cones.
10. Set up an experiment with several different tree seeds. You will be determining which seeds need a cold treatment to germinate. You will need TWO SEEDS OF EACH TREE. Plant each seed in a different pot. Place half the pots in the windowsill and the other half in a refrigerator for 1-3 months. Then take the pots out of the refrigerator and water well. Compare with the ones that are on the windowsill. This process is called stratification where seeds are subjected to a specified amount of cold to overcome seed dormancy.
11. In the spring, take the students for a walk in the woods and mark off a 3 feet by 3 feet area with string. Go back and visit the area periodically and observe the changes in the area and what you see growing. You could select two or three different places, each having a different habitat such as a dead log, leaf litter, bare ground, area in the sun, an area in the shade, or a spot along a stream.
12. Discover ways living creatures camouflage themselves in the woods. Discuss color, patterns, and shapes that you find in the woods and how they can protect creatures from harm. For instance, a walking stick (an insect) on a branch is hardly noticeable. A frog along a stream edge is hard to see. What others can you come up with? It’s like an 'I SPY' game. What do you think living creatures do in the winter to protect themselves?
14. Talk about how seeds can move from, place to place. Some stick to our clothing or animals' fur, some fly like helicopter blades, and others spread through bird and animal droppings. Have the students find and record as many seeds as they can in their journal.
15. Litter spoils the woods and can hurt the animals and visitors. As a special project have students pick up litter in the woods and then dispose of it properly.
- Weigh how much litter was collected and make a list of the things that were found.
- Contact media to do a story on the children's concern for their environment.
16. On a walk in the woods spot some animal and bird homes. Look for nests, burrows in the ground, hiding places in trees, or drilled holes in a tree which usually means a woodpecker is nearby.
17. Have a Scavenger Hunt for a walk in the woods. The students can look for seeds and acorns, various kinds of leaves, bones from dead animals or birds, gnawed or rubbed off bark, animal paths, nests or flattened grass where an animal might have been laying.
18. Look for animal tracks. Look for tracks by muddy paths and puddles, near water or streams, and in the snow. See if the students can identify them.
19. Look for different color and shapes of mushrooms. Don't touch them – rather have the students draw a picture in their journals. Source: University of Illinois Extension
GARDENING THEME FOR SPRING, SUMMER, FALL...
GREEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
By: Vanessa Greaves
Ten easy tips for an Earth-friendly holiday. You can celebrate the season of giving and do your bit to help out Mother Earth at the same time. Here's how.
1. Make Memories
Give experiences instead of 'stuff'.
- Try tickets to a show, a ball game, or a scenic train ride instead of dust-collecting knickknacks.
- Tailor the gift to the recipient: club or museum memberships, craft or hobby lessons, 'IOU' for a home-cooked meal, an afternoon of gardening help, free babysitting, and so on.
2. Save Your Energy
Shopping downtown? Take public transportation. Bring your own shopping bags while you're at it.
3. Right Light
Using LED Christmas lights instead of power-sucking regular lights will dramatically slash your energy bill. Put all of your lights on a timer so they shine out only when it's dark.
4. Go Natural
String together plain popcorn and fresh cranberries into long, colorful swags to hang on the tree, along the mantelpiece, or in the windows. (This is a great activity for the kids!) After the holidays you can hang the strings outside for the birds to enjoy. Make these as a program activity. You can decorate your rooms before kids take them home!
5. Go Local
Seek out regionally produced, one-of-a-kind gifts. Good sources include church fairs, craft shows, local boutiques, and flea markets.
Here's your official permission to pass along that present you can't use but maybe Uncle Bob can.
Turn old holiday cards into gift tags and colorful paper chains.
Why spend money on commercial gift wrap? Calendar pages, kid's school paintings, the comics section of the newspaper--these make fun and fabulous wrapping paper alternatives. Choose paper or cloth ribbon, or colored twine instead of plastic ribbon.
Instead of adding bulk to the landfill, choose gifts that come with a minimum of product packaging, and try to find packaging that's 100 percent recyclable.
Stop the madness and remember what the holidays are really about. Family. Friends. The simple pleasures of a shared meal. Now make it happen.
SHELTER, OBSERVATORY AND FOOD FOR SMALL ANIMALS AND BIRDS...
• Turn a protected section of your program or school yard into a nature shelter. In the cold weather- birds, squirrels and other small wildlife are in constant search of food, fresh water and safe shelter.
• Set up a bird feeder, bird bath and bird house where you and the children will be able to quietly observe. They’ll enjoy watching different animals seek the food and water… and your bird house will be their when needed.
DECORATE YOUR WINTER TREES OR SMALL SHRUBS!
Wrap tape on one end of a long length of yarn. Tie a knot with a Cheerio on it at the other end. Demonstrate how to string the chain by sliding a Cheerio (or any “O” shaped cereal) over the tape (needle) and dropping it to the bottom. Invite children to help you until the entire chain is strung. Drape these chains around outside tree for birds/animals to enjoy.
Poke a hole with a plastic straw at the top of each orange slice. Thread with raffia or ribbon and tie each slice to a branch.
Take stale bread and have children cut shapes with cookie cutters. Invite them to spread peanut butter on the bread with a plastic knife and then sprinkle on birdseed. Poke a hole at the top with a plastic straw. Thread with raffia or yarn. Together decorate the outdoor bushes and low trees branches with these “yummy” decorations.
RECYCLE AND OLD CHRISTMAS TREE INTO RUSTIC PHOTO ORNAMENTS (No wood slices? Cut the tree trunk after Christmas this year...and pack away for next year!)
Circular wood slices, about 1" thick, 2" wide and 3" tall (from wood trunk)
Color copies of favorite photographs
Chenille tie or ribbon
Decoupage medium or diluted white glue
Pen or rubber stamp
1. Before beginning, cut all circular wooden slices and make color copies of photographs.
2. Then, use scissors to cut photograph in a circular (or oval) shape to fit wooden slice. Cut photo a little smaller than the slice so that a small wooden border surrounds the photo.
3. Apply decoupage medium or glue to the back of the photograph. Adhere to wooden surface.
4. Next, coat the entire top surface -- including photograph -- with decoupage medium . Allow to dry.
5. Apply several more coats of decoupage medium, allowing medium to dry thoroughly between coats.
6. Stamp or write the year of the photography on the back of the wooden ornament.
7. Add tie through eye hook to hang the ornament.
Source: Debbie Stapley diynetwork.com
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