Friday, January 29, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Once the leaves are gone I find all sorts of interesting things in and around the forsythia. This time, a tiny nest that could easily fit in the palm of my hand. I love the mix of textures: twigs, melting-refreezing snow, bumpy bark. When I look up into the taller trees, I find squirrel nests.
What treasures do you find in the trees and shrubs in your neighborhood? Look up. Look in. Explore the colors and textures.
Friday, January 22, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
The last leaves hang on by the merest of threads. It's a tenuous hold, as they whisper and rattle in the breeze. One by one they let go and twirl their way from branch to earth - or, as the case with some of these oak leaves last week - glide into a bramble of stems.
Beech leaves hang on for months, other leaves only a few weeks. What leaves are still clinging to the trees in your neighborhood?
When they finally let go and fly, what sort of dance do they do across the sky?
Friday, January 15, 2021
Animals use their homes for shelter and for raising their young.
Some animal homes are easy to see, and others are hidden for protection. Some animals build their own homes, while others move into abandoned burrows or take advantage of natural caves and crevices. Some homes are one-room affairs; others branch into separate rooms. Some animals use natural materials for building, and some make their own materials – ever seen a bubble-house?
What I like about this book: Each spread features an animal and information about its home. Featured animals include squirrels, woodpeckers, beavers, wasps, caterpillars, spittlebugs, bears, woodchucks, and foxes. I may have missed a couple! Mary Holland’s photos are crisp and engaging. And the back matter includes extra facts and a matching game.
What's This Tail Saying?
by Carolyn Combs; illus. by Cathy Morrison
32 pages; ages 4-8
Dawn Publications, 2020
Animal tails are talking. Can you guess what they are saying?
From skinks to skunks, rattlesnakes to raccoons, Carolyn Coombs shows how a dozen animals use their tails to communicate. Sometimes it’s a warning, sometimes it’s an invitation to play.
What I like about this book: On one page there’s a clue: an illustration of a tail with descriptive words. Switch Twitch ~ what’s that tail saying? Take a guess, then turn the page to find out if you’re right. Back matter includes more information for each animal featured and a list of STEAM activities.
Beyond the Books:
Build an animal home! If you’re outside, use natural features and/or natural materials to construct a home for an animal – or for yourself. How does your home hold up to the elements?
If you’re stuck inside on a cold or rainy day, build a home out of things you find around the house. What sort of purpose does your home serve? (my blanket fort is a great place to read!)
Design an animal tail for yourself. What would it look like? How would it work? Would it use noise or color or movement to send messages? And what sort of messages could you send using your tail?
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
The thing about the Winter Solstice is this: from here on out the days will be lengthening. And yet, it is such a slow process! On our hill, the sun falls to the horizon around 4:30 in the afternoon. Down in the valley they lose it an hour sooner. The arc is shorter - rising in the southeast, setting in the southwest.
If you have a window facing the east, you can tape bits of paper to show where the sun rises each week. You can do this on a west window to trace where it sets. Other things you might want to keep track of:
- time sun rises and sets over your horizon line
- color of the sky at different times of the day
- cloudy or clear?
- the noises you hear during the day
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
This Saturday, January 9 the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is hosting a Science & Nature program for families. The 45-minute long program begins at 11 am Eastern time.
Join museum educators as they share science skill-building activities and ways to explore the natural world as well as collections.
Author-illustrator Susan Stockdale joins the program to read her book, Stripes of All Types. She will talk about how studying natural history informs her books and share the process she uses to develop her books. Then kids of all ages will have a chance to create their own artwork to share what they know about their favorite animal.
Find out more and sign up at the Smithsonian website
Check out my interview with Susan Stockdale over at Sally's Bookshelf. And if you get a chance, grab a copy of the book to read because it's really, really fun.
Find out more about Susan Stockdale at her website
See you Saturday at the museum!