Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nature Walks & Summer Supplementing

My oldest is starting full day kindergarten in the fall. When he was three, I put him into a great (and well renowned) preschool, but money was tight this last year-with having the baby and taking time off work. That being the case, I have really tried to supplement his learning at home. This summer I wanted to kick it into overdrive, and have some clear goals in mind. My first goal is to work on simple addition and subtraction,  beginning reading by sounding out simple words and recognizing rhyming words , and science-mainly maintaining a nature journal.

Imagine my excitement when I found out about the Summer Challenge three fabulous bloggers started (Teach Mama, Pink and Green Mama, and Naturally Educational) to work on fun, educational activities with your little ones. Then to make my summer goals even easier Go Explore Nature has a link for a free REI Nature Journal. So far, we have done three out of the five nature walks. I put the pages of the journal into a three-ring binder and added some other pages to the journal like Nature Scavenger Hunts, Wildlife Observations, Experiment Observations and more. I put these things under a science tab and then made two other tabs (math and literacy) for my other summer goals. Now all our summer learning is in one binder for easy access.
"A" with his summer learning binder on one of the nature walks

Our first nature walk was around a local lake. My little man had a blast thinking like a nature detective: Why is the moss white? Why is there foam at the bottom of the waterfall? Why does this flower have thorns when it doesn't look like a rose? It was great. The highlight was seeing a mommy duck and her ducklings. Oh, and a line of geese crossing the lake which he dubbed the "Army of Geese!"
Boys on First Nature Walk

Mama and ducklings

The second walk was a 1.5 mile loop in the middle of a Wildlife Preserve. It is one of the only places you can explore, because mostly you can only see the preserve in an auto tour. This has been a favorite place of my family to see wildlife and birds. We saw turtles sunning, Great Blue Herons, Nutria, wild bunnies, and snails. Very exciting for "A" with lots to report in his journal. On the downside the 1.5 mile  loop carrying baby in the Kelty backpack was getting painful towards the end, and it will determine future hikes.

Great Blue Heron
"A" over some wetlands at the preserve

Turtles sunning themselves
First time packing the baby in the Kelty. Boy, was he heavy!

The most recent nature walk was a trail near the Northern Oregon Coast. The trail was mostly grassland, to which "A" said looked like Africa. Very little wildlife was found, but it was fun to see vegetation that was different to where we live (due to the ocean environment) and also Daddy was able to go with us!

Jetty Trail at the Coast- "A's" African Grassland
Daddy gets to explore with us!!!

Each nature walk "A" draws a picture of what he saw that day. We then write the name of trail , date, who he was with, weather, what he saw, and what he heard. Then he collects keepsakes he finds on the trail (he isn't to pick at the plants). I put the nature treasures on a piece of paper and cover it with contact paper. It has been very interesting to see how these items are different depending on the trail we were at. Lastly, I do a photo montage of the day. Look for more posts on our nature walks and's been my most favorite activity of the summer!

Examples of some pages from our journal.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing at Outdoor Play! I also love those blogs you referenced, there are loads of fabulous resources out there in blogland, aren't there? Love it!