This week our book for Before Five in a Row was Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets. The “discussion” ideas in the curriculum book didn’t really do much for me, as usual. The story is about a little girl that goes to a meadow to try and play with various creatures she comes across, but they keep getting scared of her and fleeing. Exasperated, she sits down very quietly for awhile and all the creatures come back to her.
Yesterday, I took the kids out front and we tried to find bugs and other animals we see from time to time at our apartment. The boys were mostly concerned with beating things with sticks, but I pointed out some butterflies as they flew by. We also made homemade bird feeders: spread nut butter on a toilet paper roll, roll in bird seed, attach a ribbon and hang.
Today we went out to Hart Park, a big county park with a lake and lots of wildlife.
I found this blog website for a group known as the Stewards of Hart Park because I was curious about the peafowl we saw there last time we visited and wanted to know how they wound up there and why they were there. I am a nerd like that. I had no luck on that endeavor, but the site did have a bit of a list, by no means exhaustive, of some of the birds and creatures you can spot at the park. There is also some history on the park that I will have to go back and read at some point when I find the time.
From there I had the idea to make a little chart of pictures of the various creatures for each of the kids so we could use it to help us spot them. I pulled in pictures from the site (or looked up better close-up pictures of the animals on the web) into Adobe Illustrator (Yay! for all the money I spent on my BA in Communications and those graphic design classes, haha) and typed in the name of each under them. I brought along some star stickers (especially for my stickers fanatic) and we put a star on each of the animals that we spotted. I was a little bummed that we didn’t spot any Egrets or Great Blue Herons like we have on past trips. All in all it was a lot of fun though. We also brought along some puffed millet and bird seed to feed birds we saw (for the love of God and all the creatures, please stop feeding them stale white bread people!). The kids loved doing this and I got to reinforce the book’s message about being quiet and still when we want animals to trust us and come close to us.
I am not completely sure this is legal, but here is the PDF I made if you are visiting Hart Park and want to play some wildlife iSpy when you are out there like we did.
Here are some pictures from our afternoon: