Tag Archive | outdoor activities

Outdoor Science Activities for Kids

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Spring is an amazing season, don’t you agree? I love to get out and see all of the changes that are occurring in nature. This naturally lends itself to science activities, fresh air, and activity (gotta get those kiddos moving).¬† With just a few materials you can use the great outdoors to investigate science topics. Great outdoors + kids + science= Success! Know that’s what I call a great formula.

Plants- Tulips are starting to bloom and will do so over the next several weeks. This flower has large parts inside of it and is one of the best plants to dissect for the reason. It is a perfect flower because it has both male and female parts. (I just learned that!) And, in case you need a reminder of where the parts are located and what are their names, here is a quick reference drawing courtesy of http://www.wikimedia.com

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Here are some ideas for teaching. I have listed in parentheses other subject areas that are included besides science that are being studied as well.

  • Have your budding ūüôā botanist draw the parts of the flower. (art)
  • Label the parts of their flower. (language arts)
  • Point to the various parts and describe them. (language arts)
  • Color a picture and/or label the parts of a flower¬† Superstarworksheets (art)
  • Have your student teach you or other siblings about the flower. (language arts)
  • If you don’t have a flower to study, DK Books has a close-up of a flower and simple explanations of the parts of a plant. Flower Parts for Kids
  • If you have an older student you can go into greater detail by looking at this site: Biology for Kids: Flowering Plants¬†

 

Nature Picture Show Take your phone with you on a walk and let your child take pictures of signs of spring. When you get home you can:

  • Identify the plants and animals you saw. (language arts)
  • Create a photo collage. (art, technology)
  • Send pictures with a short narration to grandparents. (language arts)
  • Create a PowerPoint with captions. (technology, language arts)

 

Shadows¬†The other day I saw my neighbor sitting on her driveway with some plastic dinosaurs and I just had to ask her what she was doing (keeping 6′ away from her of course!). She was waiting for the sun to cast shadows on some paper that she had so she could trace them. What a lot of fun! You can do this with anything, including your own shadow and your son/ daughter’s shadow.¬† Other things you can do with shadows:

  • Measure each shadow. You can come out at different times of the day and see whether your shadow was longer or shorter than before. (math)
  • Graph the measurement of the shadows. (math)
  • Watch a video about shadows. If you have an older student they can take notes about the video. (language arts)¬† Dr. Binocs
  • If you are looking for some good books to read about shadows (both nonfiction and fiction), you can check out this website: Faith and Good Works
  • Create a shadow puppet play. (art, language arts)
  • Not sunny today? No problem! Make a puppet theater. Here are two options to get your creative juices flowing:

 

Blowing Bubbles is always a lot of fun, but did you ever think about making this into a science activity?  Ask the question: If you have different shaped wands (made out of pipe cleaners or wire), will the bubbles come out in those shapes or will they be round? Create a hypothesis and go have some fun by checking to see if it is correct.

  • Bubble formula-¬† I found a formula without glycerin on kidsactivities.com since you can’t run to the store to get any right now. The amazing thing about this formula is that if you wear gloves the bubbles they won’t pop. The sugar makes them very strong and you can catch them and bounce them without breaking.

 Bubble Recipe

    • 4 Tbsp water
    • 1 Tbsp concentrated dish soap
    • 2 Tbsp¬†Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
    • Add the water to a small bowl and pour in the dish soap.
    • Add the sugar and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved.

Have a great week!  ~ Lisa ~

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Scavenger Hunt

For some reason I am partial to nature walks and scavenger hunts. So, I saw this idea on Pinterest from the Creative Homemaker and created my own to share with you. Basically, you do the following to create a  fun, educational activity: download the Nature Scavenger Hunt, glue or tape it to a grocery bag, attach a pencil, and download the  optional checklist.  Next, go find a green space, nature trail or park to explore. Last, but certainly not least, have fun!

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There are two sheets to download: one for your bag as pictured above and the other as a master checklist. I have included some scavenger items for your daughter just to take a picture since you do not want to be tromping through the woods tearing up plants and carting off things that belong in nature.

 

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This can be made into a competition to see who can collect the most items, giving one point for each item found. You can also award extra points for the biggest leaf and/or the smallest leaf. In addition to “competition collecting’, you can also play Nature Bingo and just go after certain items if you are short on time. If your son is inclined to just rush to get something done, then you keep the bag and call out one or two items from the checklist that you are looking for to prolong the game. Here are the documents to download:¬†Nature Scavenger Hunt pictures¬† and¬†Nature Scavenger Hunt Checklist

Summer Activities for All

Yay! Summer is here and it’s time to explore! This week I will feature local parks,¬†but¬†even if you don’t live in Cincinnati, you can still find a park near your home. Better still, come for a visit to our town!

  • Go on a nature walk/hike. Take along a notebook and find a spot to stop and draw something is of interest. It can be a plant or an animal such as a bird. Pack some identification books to help you with unknown plants and animals.
  • Play on a new playground. Tired of the same ol’ playground in your area? How about finding a different one to take the children to play? It will seem like a mini vacation, but you’ll be home in time for dinner. ūüôā
  • Exercise! Pull the plug on the video games and electronics and go for a bike ride or a long walk. Both of the Hamilton County Parks I have listed below also have horse trails if you feel adventurous.

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Local Parks

The Cincinnati Parks Foundation has three amazing parks along the Ohio River that are family friendly and give your children the chance to run and play. Not only is there a playground along the walkway, but there are a few large water fountains that your children can play in, and a carousel you can pay to ride.¬†The Waterfront Parks system consist of three major Cincinnati Parks: Theodore M. Berry International Park,¬†¬†Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove and the ¬†Smale Riverfront Park¬†that is by the Great American Ballpark so you can go and catch a Reds game after you are finished playing.

Hamilton County Parks has done a fantastic job of providing green space in the greater Cincinnati area.  There is a motor vehicle fee to get into the park and you may either purchase a day pass for $3.00 or an annual pass of $10.00 that will give you access to all of the county parks and includes discount coupons to use throughout the park system.

Parky’s Farm¬†has a fully functional farm with horses, goats, chickens,sheep, and bees. There is a garden for children to see and trails to meander along. The barn and outdoor pens allow children to see the animals up close. ¬†If you take some extra money with you, your children can take a horse ride or play in the indoor playground. ¬†Parky’s Farm is a part of Winton Woods that has an outdoor spray park and playground. Bring along a fishing pole to cast your line from either shore or a rental boat. There is also a pontoon boat to take a cruise along the lake. If you’d like to spend the night, there is also a camp site or small cabins to rent.

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Miami Whitewater Forest is  beautiful and is the largest park in county. While it does have an amazing lake with fishing and boating, and a beautiful golf and frisbee golf course, it has something that no other county park has that is quite so nice.  It has a 7.8 mile hike/ bike path that meanders through the countryside (where I grew up) and has spurs off it as well so you can extend your biking experience if you like. If your children are not able to go on the long bike trail, there is a shorter inner trail that is 1.4 miles long.

My friends have a bike shop called West Trail Bikes and it is a quick jaunt off the bike path to their place on New Haven Road. You can rent or purchase a bike if you would like something different than the rentals that are offered at the park. There is a quaint country shop adjoining their shop and a little grocery store (that I worked at when I was in college) where you can get an ice cold drink and a snack. You can hop back on the bike trail at several points from the town of New Haven.

If you have never been to Miami Whitewater Park, make a day of it. Pack a picnic lunch, your swimsuits for the spray/ water park, ¬†and a pair of binoculars for wildlife watching while you are hiking the many wooded trails. I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Metro Parks of Butler County has 10 great parks, but the newest park called Voice of America MetroPark is the one with which I am most familiar. There is a nice playground that is next to the air conditioned Wheelhouse, which has bathroom facilities and a vending machine to get snacks and drinks.

There is a nice sized lake and a walking/biking path along it. Fishing is allowed in certain areas and there are benches along the way to stop and rest or just enjoy the nature you will see. During the winter there is also a sledding hill, so be sure and visit then too!