I can't believe I haven't written about our nature study since early November! There are a variety of reasons: field trips, other outings, holidays, illness, blogging break, etc. We did manage to get in some nature hikes, but you could tell we definitely got out of the routine. When we went out for the Backyard Bird Count, none of our kids really seemed that engaged. So this time I decided to go back to one of our favorite nature activities from last year: One Small Square. We even added a bit of competition.
Boys vs. Girls:
Who can find the most things in their 18" x 18" square?
The girls picked a nice flat spot next to a log.
The boys would never dream of making my life that easy. They picked a muddy spot right next to the creek. I have to admit though, at first glance it looked pretty interesting.
Next, the kids made a list of what they found on the surface of their squares and drew a few pictures.
Then it was time to start digging.
The girls had fun playing with the worms they found. In case you're wondering, the girls found half of a spaghetti squash I threw in the woods months ago, so it became a worm house. I do normally put my food scraps in compost buckets, but sometimes if they are full I just throw stuff in the woods. It usually gets eaten up pretty quick, but I guess the squash wasn't popular.
Here is the list of what the boys found in their square:
I was amazed how many more things the kids found this year than we did last year. And I was impressed with the variety of objects the two teams found, even though their squares were only about 10 feet apart. I'm sending a cyber hug to fellow mom, Casey, for discovering the grossest item on the girls' list. I'm not going to argue with Cameron about whether water and water table should be counted as separate items (or mud and dirt, for that matter). He was so excited to tell me all about the water table!
When we declared the boys winners, I had a brief moment of panic -- I didn't have a prize for the winners! However, the beauty of it all is that the contest helped motivate them to get excited about nature study again, but the actual experience proved to be the reward. The boys didn't ask about prizes and the girls didn't seem upset that they lost.
They just went off to play with their worms.
Go here to see what others found in their small squares.