Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 Outdoor Picnic

 

“..by beginning with the child in nature-study we take him to the laboratory of the wood or garden, the roadside or the field, and his materials are the wild flowers or the weeds, or the insects that visit the goldenrod or the bird that sings in the maple tree, or the woodchuck whistling in the pasture.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 21

Our family eats dinner outside every night from June to September….longer if the weather allows. We have arranged our patio table under a canopy and the citronella candles are always kept nearby. We have a tree that the hummingbirds sip nectar from in the dusk hours and after our meal we sit and observe their dinnertime.
deck and table
Picnics don’t need to be fancy. Wrap up a sandwich in a cloth napkin, grab a piece of fruit, and some water and you are set. Venture outside even if it is only to your own yard to sit on a blanket and enjoy your lunch. Afterwards you can make time for a short period of nature study.
 
Outdoor Hour Challenge #10
Picnic

1. The challenge is to have a picnic. No need to go far or to even have a picnic table. Food always tastes better outside and if you don’t want to commit to a whole lunch, why not just a snack?

“…When the weather is warm, why not eat breakfast and lunch outside?…Besides the benefit of an added hour or two of fresh air, meals eaten outside are often delightful, and there’s nothing like happiness to convert food and drink into healthy blood and bodies.“ Charlotte Mason quote Outdoor Life pg 43

After you eat, sit and listen to the sounds of the spring.

“Given the power of nature to calm and soothe us in our hurried lives, it also would be interesting to study how a family’s connection to nature influences the general quality of family relationships. Speaking from personal experience, my own family’s relationships have been nourished over the years through shared experiences in nature-from sharing our toddler’s wonder upon turning over a rock and discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse, to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek during the children’s school years, to hiking the mountains.” Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

2. After your picnic, spend 10-15 minutes observing your surroundings. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in. Make a journal entry if you wish.

This challenge is found in the Getting Started ebook which is included in every level of membership. The ebook provides the challenge as shown above as well as custom notebook pages for your follow up nature journal if desired.

More Reptiles to Identify: Arizona Style

I am still struggling with my disgust of reptiles. Lizards are becoming a bit more palatable but as far as snakes go, I’m still struggling.

Good thing for me that we saw mostly lizards on our trip to Arizona.

On pages 210 to 213 of the Handbook of Nature Study there are many lizards and their descriptions listed. I think on page 213 that number 7 looks surprisingly like the lizards we saw in the photo below.

I did recognize this reptile but only was able to capture his hind end as he scurried under a rock. He was definitely some kind of iguana.

These two photos were taken while we were at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. They had an enclosure where they used to have a bear but the bear has since been retired to a more comfortable place on the grounds. The enclosure did have these interesting, if not rather large, reptiles inhabiting it.

Climbing up the rocks

This guy was also at the museum and was making his way across the riparian habitat.

Now for something pretty to look at. I can only take reptiles for so long and then I need something colorful and beautiful to enjoy.

Close up of the spines

Are you proud of me? We are still working on identifying the reptiles for their nature journals but we are learning a lot along the way.

Our Small Square: Outdoor Hour Challenge #9

We had a chance today to enjoy the spring weather and complete our small square project. My son picked the spot and marked it out for us. Right away he picked the big objects out but I challenged him to list all the small items he found in his square. He used his magnifying glass and we used a small stick to dig around in the dirt a bit and we found a few things to be interested in.

We found quite a few of these clusters from the tree near the square. I suspect they are full of pollen since I noticed when they are on the tree that they send off little “puffs” of something every so often in the breeze.tree bud seed thing

Then we found some of these little plants that are not grass or dandelions.
little plant

A few misc. seeds were underneath the leaves in our square and we have no idea what kind they are.

doing our square
We both enjoyed digging around in the soil and we did see one small ant.

Here is his journal entry for the day.
small square journal
We are both interested to identify the tree that the clusters came from so that is our assignment for the next week. It is hard to identify since it currently has very small leaves and doesn’t look anything like the tree we see in the summer.

That was our Outdoor Hour assignment this week, nothing fancy right in our own yard but still very interesting.