The weather is really lovely and uniformly so, such that you can plan a little farther ahead to enjoy some outside time. Make it more memorable and fitting with your activities, by making your at-home preparation and outdoor field trip part of a larger educational experience. We visited Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo this weekend, and enjoyed the museum’s current take on the physics and biology around us (photo of Holly, investigating preserved insects, above), but museums are not a requirement for science learning, and the beautiful weather compels us to get outside to hike and explore! Stroller Hikes has pre-school to grade school-age curriculum to help (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum-2-2/) link some at-home learning with an outdoor excursion. Here are five ideas:
1) Make a home fit for an insect (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/insect-cages/), a worm or snail (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/snail-or-worm-terrarium/), or even a fairy, then visit a local park to see if you can find something to put inside. Return your critter back into the wild before you head home; they shouldn’t be taken too far from their homes, too! Find snails at parks along the bay (http://strollerhikes.com/location/bay-trail/) and insects at all parks.
2) Use household recyclables or art supplies to make homemade instruments (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/sound-makes-vibrations/) that make sound and show sound in sand, then head outside for a musical hike. If you really want to explore how moving waves can create sound, visit Seal Point’s kinetic and audal sculptures (http://strollerhikes.com/location/ryder-seal-point-harborview-and-coyote-point-parks/) and experiment with vibrations and sound (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/vibrations-make-music/). Get sneaky, let your child move just out of sight from you, and teach more about sound waves with homemade walkie talkies (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/walkie-talkie/).
3) Go on a spider hunt, looking for fresh cobwebs to make a pretty, delicate spider web print (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/build-to-experience-science/spider-web/), and do the finger play/action rhyme about the fun to be had on the web if you were the spider (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/finger-plays-action-rhymes/insects-a-summer-ride/). Areas with sunny fields are a great option for finding cobwebs, as are farms. Try Hidden Villa (http://strollerhikes.com/location/hidden-villa/), McClellan Ranch (http://strollerhikes.com/location/mcclellan-ranch-blackberry-farm/), or Calero (http://strollerhikes.com/location/calero-canada-del-oro-sierra-azul/).
4) Celebrate the beauty of blooming plants this time of year, with a finger play/action rhyme (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/finger-plays-action-rhymes/plants-seasons-spring-flowers/), make a popcorn tree (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/art-projects/popcorn-trees/), then eat some fruity treats from a common blooming plant around here: oranges (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/good-eats-recipe/eskimo-oranges/). Find flowering trees at historic ranches like Wilder Ranch (http://strollerhikes.com/location/wilder-ranch/) and Ardenwood(http://strollerhikes.com/location/ardenwood-farm/).
5) Make a natural keepsake, by melting a found feather or dead leaf amongst crayons to make a “stained glass” picture (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/art-projects/crayon-warm-art/) or pressing found nonliving bits into plaster (http://strollerhikes.com/curriculum/play-goo-recipes/plaster-art/) or on a duct tape bracelet. Your created mosaic may look a lot like the mosaic of life, rocks, and wood in a tide pool like at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (http://strollerhikes.com/location/fitzgerald-marine-reserve/).
-Debbie (Founder and President), Max (6), Holly (2), and Andrew