Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Like to move it move it!

( Many animals touch the ground daily)

I was watching the Discovery Channel series LIFE last weekend and I was totally enthralled with watching how primates move! I always enjoy watching animals move in their natural habitat regardless if it is in person or in a video, especially primates and large cats! Every species has their own method of moving that suits them best for where they live. So for this posting we are going to explore moving like animals. So put on your comfy clothes and shoes, do some stretching, and head outside!

You can approach this topic in a couple of ways: inside or outside. If you are inside and you have access to videos of animals moving, you can all sit down and try moving like various animals. Now of course you do not need videos. You could simply pick various animals and try to move like them. I would recommend trying to move like walking animals and not animals charging around at full speed indoors!   

Doing this activity outdoors allows you to negotiate uneven ground, and allows you to incorporate aspects of the natural world like trees, water, high grass, sand, etc. Try and explore a wide range of animals: birds, snakes, mammals, and reptiles. By having kids try and imitate animals they can begin to develop a greater understanding and perhaps empathy for the animals they mimic. In later posts we will explore several games that allow you to "become" various animals or explore animal adaptations. 

I would encourage you to visit a local park or zoo to see how a variety of animals move, and see if you can mimic their movements. Here is another link that provides you with a whole bunch of animal tracks you can use to work on animal behavior and movement. I would also encourage you to make the noises of the animals you are mimicking, it adds a little spice, and might make people around you giggle!

That's it for today! Short and sweet. I hope you had a good Earth day today. And remember, that if we can make everyday Earth day, we can ensure that our great grandchildren have a better world then we have! Have fun moving around! 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Let's go Clubbing!

(A redwood that has had a few issues)

So spring is in full approach in many parts of the country with spring rain, snow, pollen, and warmer temps. It is also a great time to get outside and explore! It's really always a good time to get outdoors! And while you are outside try some Clubbing! Yes, it is time to go Clubbing! No not dancing, but Nature Clubbing! Nature Clubbing is about going out with people and seeing how many clubs you can join. The outdoor education program I work with has a whole bunch of clubs the kids can join during the week. 

As the kids go through the week, they can join the clubs they want to, and even create new clubs. The kids love seeing how many clubs they can join and then asking their friends in other groups how many they have joined. Some of the clubs are easier to join than others. For example, to join the "Dirty Butt Club" all you have to do is sit on the ground. Now for some folks that can be a challenge, but overall pretty easy. The "Duff Shower Club", which involves letting someone hold a big handful of forest duff over your head and let it go giving the person a "shower", can be more of a challenge for people. 
As you get outside this spring, and really anytime, see how many clubs you can join. By looking for clubs to join, you will also find yourselves exploring new areas and hopefully having some fun! So here are some Nature Clubs you and your kids can join in your area:

- The Mud Club: Get some mud on your face.
- The Scat Club: Find as many different scat samples as you can.
- The Phenology Club: See if you can find two plants that are the same that are in different stages of  spring growth.
- The FBI Club: Find and keep track of as many Fungi, Bacteria, and Invertebrates as possible.
- Belly Up Club: Find a tree and hug it and look up for a cool view.
- Burnt Out Club: See if you can find charcoal left from a natural fire.
- Tracking Club: See if you can find 6 different animal tracks.
- Bush Head: Carefully stick your head into a bush and see what is in there.
- Wet Head Club: Find a clean body of water and dunk your head. The colder the better.
-  Dirty Feet Club: Find a nice area and spend some time walking barefoot outside.
- What Good Are Bugs Club: Try and find some bugs doing their work.
- The Hard Core Club: If you have an apple snack, eat the whole apple except the stem and seeds. 
- Funky Tree Club: See if you can find trees, like the one above, that have something unique about them.

You get the point. Have fun exploring and racking up your club memberships. I also encourage you to create your own clubs either before you head out, or on the spot. Also share your club list with other folks and see how many clubs you as a group can join! Have fun out there!

Nature Nugget:
Last week I was watching the Discovery show LIFE and they had an incredibly cool animal. Actually the whole show was cool. The animal they showed is a Pipa Pipa. A toad from Surinam. When the Pipa Pipa mate the eggs are brought to the back of the female by the male and then the female grows a layer of skin over the eggs to protect them! The eggs actually develop into full baby toads under the skin then they emerge. Check out some more info on these cool toads.