Please Note: If you do not have squirrels to observe, pick another mammal in your local area that you can learn about. Squirrels are rodents so you could choose a muskrat, a mouse, a woodchuck, or a chipmunk from the Handbook of Nature Study and still have a great time learning about a mammal that you have locally.
Outdoor Hour Challenge
Autumn Series #6 Squirrels
(See Also Challenge #45)
Inside Preparation Work
- Read pages 233-237 in the Handbook of Nature Study. Use your highlighter to mark the sections with facts you can share with your children. There are plenty of observation suggestions in Lesson 57 on pages 236 and 237. Keep these ideas in mind as you take your nature walk this week.
“The squirrel’s legs are short because he is essentially a climber rather than a runner; the hips are very strong, which insures his power as a jumper, and his leaps are truly remarkable.”
“The squirrel has two pairs of gnawing teeth which are very long and strong, as in all rodents, and he needs to keep busy gnawing hard things with them, or they will grow so long that he cannot use them at all and will starve to death.”
“During the winter, the red squirrel does not remain at home except in the coldest weather, when he lies cozily with his tail wrapped around him like a fur neck-piece to keep him warm.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 234 and 235
- Here is an additional fact sheet on squirrels:
- How about a video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWU0bfo-bSY
Outdoor Hour Time
- Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. As you walk, discuss where you might find a squirrel in your neighborhood. Remind your child where a squirrel lives and what it eats. If you know there is a squirrel in your yard or at your local park, take along some nuts or seeds to put out and observe the squirrel eating. Never feed a squirrel by hand. Don’t worry if you cannot observe a squirrel this week but rather enjoy your outdoor time during this season and observe any mammals that you come into contact with during your walk.
- For your nature journal you can write out your observations from your squirrel watching. Use the observation suggestions for ideas to include in your entry: describe the color of the fur, how the eyes are placed, what do the paws look like, how does the squirrel climb up and down a tree, describe the sound the squirrel makes as he expresses himself, record the tracks that the squirrel makes in the snow.
- You can use my free Mammal Notebook Page with this challenge.
- There is also a free notebook page in my Autumn 2009 Notebook Page download.