The sun shone brightly and the yard called me outdoors.  The ground was wet due to recent rain and all the plants were washed clean and turning a delightful shade of Spring green. Unexpected, delightful discoveries were found as I pulled weeds.

Under one bush, two large eyes peeked out at me.  Only the slightest movement was detected as a clump of grass was removed.  Mr. Toad stuck his head out of the ground just far enough to investigate the weather to determine if he was ready to come out and play.

 The interstate of roots revealed hiding earthworms.  Many more hid under leaves and dense plant growth as they had come to the surface so as to not get wet in their underground tunnels.

I noticed the trees just starting to show a hint of color as the buds shed their coats to release the protected new leaves.

Early Spring flowers had raised their graceful necks and displayed the latest fashion of colors.

Birds sang a glorious concert. 

It was a delightful afternoon!

Spring is the perfect time to go exploring with children! 

They often see so much more than adults. 

Optional equipment for a “yard safari”:

*  An empty plastic peanut butter jar with holes in the lid or a plastic fruit box (like strawberries or
    blueberries come in) make great observation containers. 

Remember to catch, watch and then release back to the place you found your critter.

*  Magnifying glass

*  Binoculars ( smaller children could rubber band together two toilet paper cardboard tubes for
   “binoculars” or use a paper towel tube as a “spy scope”.  This helps children focus on small areas.

*  Journal -for the child that likes to write or one that you are encouraging their written skills.    
              Record observations, findings and reactions of your exploration.
*  Sketch book – for the child that likes to draw

Parent’s role:

Listen closely to what your children say during this time together.  Their comments and conversation  will give you clues to the activities you may want to try once you return indoors and for the coming days. 

For example:  If your child is particularly interested in earthworms:

     * look up information on what they eat, how long they live, how they digest food, why they are
        good for the soil etc.

     *read a book about earthworms

     *make up a story about earthworms

     *draw a picture of an earthworm

     *depending on the age of the child, you may want to start a compost bin and watch earthworms in

     *make a desert with gummy worms

     *make a worm magnet with a Styrofoam packing “peanut”

You get the idea. 

These are only a few things you can do to foster interest and gain knowledge about earthworms.

Whatever your child is particularly interested in, find supporting activities and learning that can take place after you explore.  This correlation will increase learning, promote communication  and develop stronger personal relationships.

Most of all, interact with your children, the environment and have fun!

 Fun source for great animal facts.

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