Let’s be honest. The high is going to be 20° this weekend. We are NOT going out in that. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to share some ideas on how to continue appreciating and learning about nature from the comfort (and warmth) of your home. There are SO many things you can do, so I am going to split this in to two posts.
1) Get a bird feeder. My kids (and pets) love watching the birds flock to our feeders. We talk about the various sizes, colors and behavior of our feathered friends. During the colder months, food becomes scarce and backyard feeders are a great way to help the birds out! Warning… birding is addicting. We started out with one feeder that was left behind by the previous homeowners. We now have 5 feeders. Each type of bird prefers a different kind of food so you can serve certain types of food if you know there’s a bird you want to see. In our yard this is what I’ve observed:
Also important for birds in winter is water, which becomes unavailable to them when it freezes. Don’t forget to put out some water for them too!
You can even make your own bird feeders out of peanut butter, pine cones and birdseed.
2) Sing songs and dance. We have a favorite local children’s band that has the most adorable educational songs that help kids appreciate nature. You’ll never guess what they’re called… NATURE JAMS!! We’ve been to several of their performances and the songs are so catchy, they’ll be stuck in your head for days! Check out their music on Youtube and on their Facebook page too.
3) Animal matching game. My friend and local blogger Dani at Live, Love, Learn Gracefully recently shared a great game for classifying animals. You can check it out here. I decided to take it a step further and create my own matching game with photos of creatures native to our area. Photos were taken by myself and local photographer (and grandfather) Gene Alderson. Make sure you check out the rest of his beautiful photos!
I tested the game out on D who is one month shy of 4. I wasn’t expecting him to know the difference between mammals, birds and reptiles but I wanted to see how he would do with the least amount of intervention possible. At the beginning of the game I just gave him the hint that mammals have fur, birds have feathers and reptiles have scales. Of course this doesn’t always apply, but for the sake of the game it helped him put the creatures in the correct categories. When he was done he asked to play another matching game, so I guess I will be creating more of them! For the sake of getting it started quickly, I just cut the pieces apart and used painter’s tape for him to stick them on so that we may be able to take them off and play again a different day.
Stay tuned for more indoor nature play ideas!