raising little ones in the great outdoors
Currently Browsing: Outdoor Classroom

Outdoor Classroom: Blue Moon

As you celebrate the end of the a decade, and ring in the new year, take a moment to glance your eyes skyward towards the moon. It will be full for the second time this month, making it a blue moon. I grew up thinking blue moons were rare, probably because my mom used the phrase, “Once in a blue moon,” when describing the possibility that she would try downhill skiing. I’ve noticed that they seem to come...

Pinecone Bird Feeder

I love backyard birds.  What these small creatures can endure, how far they can travel, and their nearly constant motion amaze me.  After a rainstorm, I often go outside and listen to their fluttering movements as they frantically forage for food.  And I love the easy projects that you can do to entice them into your backyard. Birds use a lot of energy to maintain a constant body temperature. During the spring...

Where the Other You Lives

Discover the Forest is a new website launched by the Ad Council and USDA Forest Service encouraging kids to get outdoors and enjoy their nearby parks and national forests. The site is designed so tweens (ages 8-12) can navigate it and find the nearest park, activities to do, and discover neat nature facts. The Book of Stuff to Do Outside is a downloadable book with activities like identifying animal tracks,...

Outdoor Classroom: Why exactly do fall leaves change color?

It’s official.  Fall has arrived in the northwest.  Not that we didn’t already have signs~ the sun setting earlier, cooler evenings. But today, the cloudless blue sky was quickly covered by a cloudy blanket. The wind whisked the mounting mass of leaves around the backyard in mini tornados. I even contemplated turning the heat on. The arrival of fall means the frenetic pace of the summer and readying the...

Mother Nature’s Fireworks

Shooting stars – nothing quite captures the imagination and puts the universe in perspective like a meteor.  It makes us dream of space travel, wonder about the mutable nature of space and time, and stare in awe at Mother Nature’s fireworks.  Hopefully, tonight the sky is clear in your part of the country. Starting this evening, the Perseids, the most famous and regular meteor shower, will be at their...

Outdoor Classroom: Navigating by Stars

“What if I were lost in the dark?” It’s a thought that has haunted humans – young and old alike – forever.  There are lots of markers in the natural world for orienting yourself – the sun, lichen growing on the shady sides of boulders, Spanish Moss hanging in tree branches.  At night though, none is more important than the North Star, also known as Polaris. Sailors exploring the blank sections...

Outdoor Classroom: Songbirds

The days are getting longer and the temperatures a bit warmer. With summer around the corner, daybreak is alive with bird songs. As the summer progresses the forest and bird feeders come alive with songbirds. Your kids will notice, and this natural phenomena provides a perfect opportunity to make the natural world into a classroom without walls. What about spring makes the birds start singing? All animals have...

Easy Ways Kids Can Save the World: Lemonade Stand

SAVING THE WORLD. Notice I capitalized it to make it seem big. It actually might seem a bit less daunting to a child, than a been-around-the-block adult. Pull it together Dad. Mom, super heroes do it all the time. There are the simple ways – turning off the water while brushing your teeth. A slightly more creative way – next time your kids visit with their grandparents get them to give your parents a recycling...

Outdoor Classroom: Hummingbird Feeder

There’s a simple way to make the backyard a little wilder even if you call the city home. by Becca Cahall We’ve all seen children’s eyes widen at the sight of a butterfly weaving across a backyard breeze or deer grazing at the fence line. Kids dig animals. Helicopters are also pretty cool. In the animal kingdom, the rapidly beating, invisible wings of a darting hummingbird are as close as it gets to whirling...
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