Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skies in Port Orchard

Last Sunday afternoon we visited Port Orchard in Washington. The skies were amazing that day!

For more pictures of the sky, visit Sky Watch Friday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Small Tide Pool

Last Saturday at the beach at Chambers Creek Properties, we saw a very small tide pool in a rock and took some time to look into it.  There were barnacles opening and closing, reaching their modified legs into the water to get food, and snails and limpets moving around.  My younger son said he saw a little crab in there. It was a small world full of tiny creatures in a shallow little pool of water.
 "Tide pools are rocky pools by oceans that are filled with seawater. Many of these pools exist as separate entities only at low tide." ~ wikipedia

I really wanted to get a picture of a barnacle with it's legs sticking out into the water, so I took a bunch of pictures in a row.  Here are two of them.  They look very much alike, except if you look closely (you can click on them to see a bigger picture), you can see that the snails have moved a little and the barnacles are opening and closing.

The next picture is an animation made by putting a cropped section of the above two pictures together.  They aren't exactly the same size and they don't fit exactly together, but they are close enough that you can see the barnacles opening and that the snails have moved!  I'm not sure how far apart in time the pictures were taken, but I'm guessing maybe about 6-10 seconds (with three other pictures taken in between).

10 Fun and Simple Things to Do in Nature with Children

1. Go on a picnic. We love picnics. They don't have to be fancy or big to be fun. There's just something special about eating together with your family outside in nature.

2. Look for shapes and pictures in the clouds. This can be done most anywhere you can see the sky. . . while sitting on the porch, while on a walk, while having a picnic outside. One especially neat way to watch for cloud pictures is to lay on the ground and relax for awhile and look up at the sky and see what you see. Little Cloud and It Looked Like Spilt Milk are a couple books for younger children that tell a story about looking for shapes in clouds.

3. Look for shapes in nature. Don't worry about being exact; just have fun! A lot of leaves are in the shape of a heart or in an oval shape. The moon is a circle, as well as some berries. Here are some books about shapes in nature to check out:  What Shape Is It? (Looking at Nature), A Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature's Shapes, and Shape Me a Rhyme.

4. I mentioned hearts in number three, but I think this one also deserves it's own point on the list--you can look for hearts in nature. There are so many hearts out there! There are heart-shaped clouds, rocks, leaves, shadows. . . so many things. Our family really enjoys looking for hearts.  I'm so thankful to Clytie at Random Hearts for getting us into keeping on the lookout for hearts.  ♥

This is a heart-shaped rock at the beach.

5. Look for the alphabet in nature. As with looking for shapes, you don't have to be exact--it's okay as long as the general idea is there. Many sticks have a "y" or "v" shape in them. The moon, some berries, such as snowberries, look like the letter "o." If you like this concept or want some alphabet in nature inspiration, you might enjoy the books Discovering Nature's Alphabet and ABCs Naturally: A Child's Guide to the Alphabet Through Nature.

The knot in the wood could be an "o"
and the caterpillar could be an "l."

6. Search for things that start with each letter of the alphabet. Here are some examples. Apple starts with "A." Bush and butterfly start with "B." Caterpillar and chrysalis start with "C." Dirt starts with "D."  Egg starts with "E."  Feather starts with "F." (You get the idea, I'm sure. ;)) If you'd like to read books to your little one that include pictures of nature coupled with the alphabet, you may enjoy the following books:  O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book B Is for Beaver : An Oregon Alphabet, E is for Evergreen: A Washington State AlphabetW Is for Washington: Written by Kids for Kids, and S is for Spirit Bear: A British Columbia Alphabet (Alphabet Books).

7. Look for faces in the trees.  There are some pretty amazing tree faces out there.  Do you see the face in this one?   You can see a few more faces here.

8. Look for different colors out in nature.  Search for blue things, red things, yellow things, green things. . . You could even play the game "I spy" outside.
A red leaf on green moss
(picture taken by my older daughter)

9. Take pictures with a camera to record what you see in nature and to record the changing seasons.  Taking pictures encourages children (and adults) to observe nature more closely.  Taking pictures is what helped me fall in love with nature!  Fisher Price has "kid-tough" cameras for younger children (the recommended age listed is 36 months - 6 years).  I am thinking about getting the blue Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera for my son for his next birthday.

10. Carry a basket on a nature walk and collect items such as nuts, leaves, seeds, rocks, sticks, cones.  One thing you can do is create a special space at home where your child can put their favorite collected nature items.  The space could be a table, a shelf, or even a basket on a shelf, that your child can reach so he can look at, touch, and play with them when he wants.   Another thing you could do is make a nature craft with them.  We recently made autumn wreaths and twig and maple seed dragonflies. In the past we've made a seasonal collage by gluing items to cardboard.  The blog Moment to Moment shows that with some creativity and imagination you can make all sorts of fun animals with things collected from nature:  Dragonflies, owls and bats.

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration to get out and enjoy nature with your children! 

~* If you enjoy lists, be sure to
check out Top Ten Tuesday! *~

Autumn Wreaths

Back on September 14th I wrote up a list of autumn nature crafts that I'd like to do with my children in the next month.  One of the things on the list was making an autumn wreath.  Well, I'm happy to say that we can cross that one off the list because it's been done! My children each made an autumn wreath, by putting treasures from nature collected on a nature walk on an undecorated wreath, and the wreaths all turned out beautifully. 

They made their autumn wreaths after our First Day of Autumn Nature Walk 2010 last week.  They used natural treasures such as maple seeds, maple leaves, garry oak leaves, coast redwood cones, douglas fir cones, horse chestnuts, and dried out oceanspray that they found on the nature walk to decorate their wreaths.  With my younger two I gave them a little direction (my youngest child more than his older sister) and asked them to arrange the leaves and such on their wreaths in the way they would like them to look and that I would glue them on with the hot glue gun.  My older two made their wreaths on their own.

Here are the autumn wreaths my older daughter, younger daughter, and younger son made.  My older son made his on a different day, and I haven't gotten a good picture of it yet, but I will soon!  I think they are all  wonderfully decorated wreaths, and I'm so very pleased to have them hung up as autumn decorations.  They did such a good job. ♥

Oh, I want to mention, too, that I purchased all the wreaths for this project at a local thrift store for a really, really good price!  Yayh! So this was a low-cost craft.  I just need to buy more glue sticks now. :-)

My younger daughter's autumn wreath

My younger son's autumn wreath

My older daughter's autumn wreath
And watch for my older son's wreath! I should post a picture of it soon. :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Few Blue Pictures at the Beach at Chambers Creek Properties

Saturday was an amazingly beautiful day. The sky was clear and a gorgeous blue, the sun was bright, the water in Puget Sound was sparkling and blue!! It was a wonderful day to go down and walk on the beach at Chambers Creek Properties in University Place, Washington.  If you live near enough to visit, if you haven't been there yet since the new bridge opened, I really encourage you to do so.  I think you will enjoy it!

These pictures have tons of blue sky and water

And here is my sweet younger son (in a blue shirt!) resting after a walk on the beach.
Such a beautiful day!

~*~ To see more things that are blue, visit Blue Monday ~*~

First Day of Autumn 2010 Nature Walk

We try and go on a nature walk the first day of every new season.  We have been doing it for at least two years now.  We take pictures of things on our walk, and we collect items such as horse chestnuts, leaves, etc., in our baskets to bring home (this year with the treasures they collected they made beautiful wreaths which I'll post about later this week).  Also, I take pictures of my children so I can record not only how the seasons are changing, but how my dear children are growing.

This year since autumn didn't "officially" start until 8:09 at night here on the 22nd, we went for our nature walk on Thursday, September 23rd.  Here are some pictures from our walk. . .

Common snowberries!
I think snowberries are so pretty!
(picture taken by my older son)

Snowberries (picture taken by my older son)
Looking at douglas spirea
(picture taken by my oldest son)
Most of the douglas spirea has turned brown now.
My favorite black cottonwood trees
A horse chestnut (not the kind of chestnut to eat!)
The lake had hardly any birds on it. I wonder where they were!?
(My younger daughter took this picture)
I think these are autumn crocuses
Autumn crocuses are very poisonous and do not have an antidote,
so have your children look at them from a distance.
Though very poisonous, they sure are beautiful!

Maple leaves!